The Fiat 500X counts as a crossover, somehow. Yes, it shares a platform with the Jeep Renegade, but then again, it also shares that platform with the Fiat 500L.
At least it looks better than that rolling blob of anonymity.
New for 2020 is a Sport model, although how much sport is gained is debatable.
The jury’s out on how long we can expect the Fiat brand to linger — on life support — in the North American market, but the coming model year will see an improvement to one Fiat model. A model that hasn’t performed nearly as well as many would have thought.
For 2020, a crossover sharing its underpinnings and drivetrain with the far more popular Jeep Renegade amps up its looks in a bid to get noticed.
Having already revealed the updated European version, Fiat is unveiling North America’s take on the facelifted 500X. While the subcompact crossover’s official LA Auto Show debut isn’t for another day or so, FCA decided not to sit on it. Likely a wise move, as the model will assuredly be overshadowed by higher profile vehicles appearing later this week.
As with its European counterpart, the North American changes are barely noticeable. While Fiat says the exterior has been updated, with new fascias incorporating LED running lights, the tweaks aren’t immediately apparent to onlookers. In fact, most are unlikely to notice any significant changes to the model before climbing into the driver’s seat or spending some time with a corporate dossier outlining all the alterations.
Fortunately, we can give you the abridged version — a list that includes standard all-wheel drive and a new engine.
Calling the Fiat 500X rugged is like calling Star Wars actor Adam Driver sexy. While both have happened, neither of those ideas were conveyed via particularly reputable outlets. Likewise, the general public probably doesn’t agree with those statements — and the few that do are assuredly women.
Unlike the Star Wars franchise, Fiat owes the majority of its modern-day “success” to the fairer sex — a phrase I’m absolutely positive no one uses anymore. Still, both are trying to broaden their appeal by tweaking their product. Let’s stick to discussing automobiles.
While the breakdown fluctuates from year to year, roughly 60 percent of all Fiat drivers are women. But the brand does market to men, sometimes in ways we can’t quite comprehend. It also builds vehicles that seem specifically targeted at gentlemen, like the 500 Abarth and new 500X Adventure Edition.
The Downward Spiral wasn’t just a groundbreaking Nine Inch Nails album — it also aptly describes Fiat’s current sales trajectory in North America. (Sorry for the headline, Corey.)
With January 2018 figures out of the bag, the state of Fiat Chrysler Automobiles’ Fiat brand becomes ever clearer, though we’ve known it was in trouble for some time. Reintroduced in this market in early 2011, the four-model brand continued its downhill sales slide last month, with corporate cousin Alfa Romeo outselling it for the second consecutive month.
How bad is it?
Over the last year, the PR departments of 12 automobile manufacturers delivered 38 new vehicles to my driveway. Scheduling quirks and limited autumn availability saw that number slide from 2015, but week-long exposure to new vehicles was nevertheless extensive in 2016.
It’s a good gig. Sure, we work hard to maintain GoodCarBadCar.net — Mrs. Cain has even put in a fair number of hours since the October birth of our second baby boy — while I also contribute a couple of times per week to Autofocus.ca and work daily for The Truth About Cars. But in addition to our favored steed — the 2015 Honda Odyssey EX that we pay for with our own money — I get to drive (and fuel, and clean, and write two reviews about) a new automobile every week.
Those automobiles were collectively valued at $1.8 million in 2016, down from $2.2 million in 2015. The average price of the vehicles sent to GCBC Towers rose 4 percent to $46,671.
Every now and then, though less often than you’d think, I’d prefer a vehicle to hang around for an extra week. At least as often, I’d be content for vehicles to leave before their week was up. With the year now coming to a close, here are the best, the worst, the most surprising, the most disappointing, the most efficient, and the least economical vehicles I tested over the last year.
It just keeps getting uglier.
In ten consecutive months, U.S. sales at the Fiat brand have declined on a year-over-year basis. The run of declines began six months after Fiat launched an all-new model, the 500X, in America’s burgeoning subcompact crossover segment. The downward trend continued in the third quarter of 2016, through the launch of the Mazda-based 124 Spider. The losses accrued in Fiat’s U.S. showrooms were certainly worsened by 21 consecutive months of decreased volume reported by the aging Fiat 500.
But it’s the 500X that ought to shoulder much of the blame. Wasn’t the answer to the brand’s lack of mainstream appeal surely to be found in a segment that doubled in size in 2015?
Nearly one-third of the workforce at Fiat Chrysler Automobiles’ plant in Kragujevac, Serbia, was laid off last week because of poor Fiat 500L demand.
In the United States, the 500L is by no means the only Fiat that isn’t selling.
Besides the 500L’s sharp U.S. sales decline — year-over-year volume has tumbled each month in the last nine months — the core 500 model which brought Fiat back to life in the U.S. has lost nearly half its volume this year, a 6,288-unit loss through only five months.
Meanwhile, the expectation that a crossover could make up for the poorly received 500L and rapidly aging 500 turned out to be false. A crossover, yes, that will be the ticket. Surely a crossover could work wonders. A relative of the Jeep Renegade, only prettier, could definitely restore Fiat to the peak glory days of 2014.
Glory days, when with two models in its lineup, Fiat USA failed to match its stated goal of 50,000 annual sales for the 500 alone? Of course, that Sergio Marchionne sales forecast was way off target.
Just as the 500L and 500X have missed the mark, as well.
Dear Fiat (FIAT?),
I didn’t want to love your little 500X crossover. I frankly find the very notion of it ridiculous. In fact, the only reason why I selected it as my rental car last week was because the keys were strangely missing from the cabin of the Ford Edge SEL that I really wanted to borrow. If I hadn’t picked your bug-eyed cute monster, I would have had my choice of three different colors of four-cylinder Altimas. Not cool, Emerald Aisle. Not cool.
So, as fate had it, I picked the 500X. And like all the best romance stories, our inauspicious beginning led to a quirky, odd pairing that neither one of us wanted to end. Well, at least I didn’t. You probably didn’t give a fuck.
But this is our story.
The Russian car market is looking grimmer than the last days of the Romanov family, but that’s proving to be a big opportunity for Kia.
That, a delay for Volkswagen’s overseas diesel fix, Porsche employees are rolling in dough, electric rallycross could be on the way, and FCA soars in Europe … after the break!
New product is not fueling renewed American interest in Fiat Chrysler Automobiles’ namesake Fiat brand.
The 500X, the latest product added to Fiat’s U.S. lineup, was clearly the brand’s best-selling model in November 2015, but sales at the brand slipped three percent, a modest drop of 82 units. Rewind one year and Fiat’s lineup featured only two nameplates: the 500 with which the brand relaunched in 2011, and the 30-month-old 500L. Adding the 500X, a true subcompact crossover, brought in 1,833 buyers in November 2015.
But the 500 and 500L combined to generate 1,915 fewer sales in November 2015 than in November 2014, astounding losses for a brand which in November of last year suffered a twelve-month sales low.
The Fiat brand’s figures in November 2015 were worse.
Our friends at Jalopnik published the first decent photo of the new Jeep Renegade – which shares a platform with the Fiat 500X and replaces the Jeep Patroit/Compass – but kudos to Autoblog for publishing tiny thumbnails of the Trailhawk’s rear end (above is the Trailhawk) and the standard model’s front end. Both are in the gallery below. UPDATE: Two more photos added.
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