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Fiat 500X: First drive at first SA launch

2015-07-13 13:57

IT'S HERE: Fiat has launched the 500X in South Africa, offering the city car with a choice of two petrol engines and two transmission choices. It is available in dealerships now. Image: Wheels24/ Sergio Davids

  Gallery

Jeep calls it the Small SUV - the Jeep Renegade that's the first of the brand's products since the first war machines of 1941 to be assembled outside the US of A - indeed, in Italy, courtesy of Fiat, on the running gear of the Fiat 500X. It was launched in SA over May 18/19 2015. Images: Jeep

CAPE TOWN, Western Province - The Fiat 500X is being launched in South Africa here today (July 13), branching from the normal 500 family by sharing its DNA with Jeep's Renegade.

The 500X will be available in three versions: 500X Pop Star, 500X Cross and 500X Cross Plus. Two petrol engines are available - a 1.4 MultiAir (103 kW) or 1.6 E-TorQ (81kW) and three transmission choices: five-speed manual, six-speed manual or six-speed auto. 

Read Wheels24's international drive of the 500X here.

TWO VERSIONS

Buyers who opt for the Cross can go off-tar but the 500X will spend most of their life in the city and its dimensions illustrate that, being 4.25m long (200mm longer for the Cross version), 1.8m wide and 1.61m tall.

Fiat, in an attempt to spread its appeal, offers two versions...

  • Front-wheel drive with smoother front and rear bumpers for a chic urban design.
  • The Cross, only available in 4x4 (or front-wheel drive fitted with ‘Traction Plus’ system), is tailored towards off-tar with tougher belly protection, thick cladding and  better approach and departure angles.

IMAGE GALLERY: 2015 Fiat 500X

The 500X has a drive the "Drive Mood Selector", which alters the engine, brakes, steering and transmission, permitting three different car behaviours:

  • Auto ( best for comfort, fuel economy and CO2 emissions)
  • Sport (favours performance over economy)
  • All Weather (maximises traction on a wet road - available on Pop Star
  • Traction (improves grip on rough and slippery terrain) - Cross and Cross Plus.

The 500X is comprehensively fitted in the infotainment department: expect a "Uconnect" 12.7cm or 16.5cm touchscreen. Both versions have Bluetooth, auxiliary connector, USB port and voice commands.

The lesser Uconnect system has TomTom 2.5D GPS, the 16.5cm Uconnect GPS with 3D maps and voice commands.

WHAT'S COMING TO SA?

The 500X is now at Fiat Chrysler dealers nationwide with the range initially only consisting of the 1.4 Cross six-speed manual and limited numbers of the 1.4 Cross six-speed auto. 

The 500X 1.4 Cross Plus will be launched at the end of August and 1.6 Pop Star at the end of September. The final model in the range, the Cross Plus DDCT, will be available in the fourth quarter of 2015 - price then.

Wheels24 correspondent Dave Fall has been driving the new cars in Cape Town…

Simple and edgy buzzwords seem to be all the rage right now – especially in the motoring game – how else can you explain car model names of late that roll off the tongue in such a playful way as ‘Go!’, and ‘Up!’ and, of course not forgetting the word ‘Crossover’.

Well, Fiat Group Automobiles South Africa is the latest international car company to roll out a ‘crossover’ model, the 500X – heir apparent to the iconic Fiat 500 from 1957.

Yes. You’ve guessed correctly, the 500X is based on the latest and celebrated 500 – a well-deserved iconic model in its own right that’s proving to be a real timeless classic if there ever was one.

HERITAGE EVIDENT

Modern Fiats are reliable, stylish and value-for money wheels – the all-new 500X driven this week in and around Cape Town, once again proving that dynamite does come in small packages!

Maximum space inside – minimal space outside

From the outside its heritage is quite evident and it remains distinctly Fiat 500. From the big round headlights to the signature grille and the boxy rear, there are no doubts about its parents are.

Offering big personality and distinctively Italian design, this newcomer is characterised by flexibility, rationality and quality firmly embedded in its compact dimensions. It has ample interior space and comes with a choice of premium materials and fabrics.

On the open road the 500X is a cinch to drive. The controls are easy to reach and the instruments are functional and attractive, and although there’s plenty of plastic to be seen, it does seem to be of a good quality.

AUTO OR MANUAL?

At launch, the 103kW/230Nm 1.4 MultiAir seemed to be the motor of choice, mated to either a six-speed manual transmission that’s fluid, enabling smooth gear changes that equate to relaxed, uncomplicated driving, or if you prefer an automatic (perfect for large cities such as Cape Town) a twin-clutch six-speed automatic will neatly fit the bill.

To sum it all up, the Fiat 500X could well steal the hearts of affluent young buyers with young families who have a passion for individuality and originality. It will be interesting to observe the car's progress in the increasingly competitive compact SUV segment in the South African marketplace.

PRICES

Fiat 500X 1.4-litre Cross - R344 900
Fiat 500X 1.4-litre Cross a/t - R359 900
Fiat 500X 1.4-litre Cross Plus - R379 900
Fiat 500X 1.6-litre Pop Star - R310 900
Fiat 500X Cross Plus a/t - R394 900

The 500X is delivered with a standard three-year or 100 000km warranty and maintenance plan.


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