This morning, the FIAT brand is pulling the wraps off its new 2020 Fiat 500X Sport for North America. The Fiat 500X Sport made its debut in the European market place back in September and a month later MoparInsiders.com, broke the news that the new 500X Sport was indeed coming to North America with a specific version for the market. With their halo vehicle (the 500 city car) being discontinued for 2020, does the Fiat 500X Sport have what it takes to be the halo car for the Italian brand that has struggled to gain traction in North America? Let’s take a deeper look.
In the European market place, the Fiat 500X Sport is not just an appearance package for the brand’s compact crossover. Instead, FCA engineers went to work to create an all-out package that offered more of a driver’s car than just a normal crossover. Despite its sporty looks, the European 500X Sport featured a new sport suspension that enhanced the responsiveness of entry into the curves, which reduced understeer by 26% as well as oversteer in extreme condition 17%. This opens up a whole new driving dynamic to the compact crossover giving buyers a new reason to take their 500X on twisty roads.
For North America, the package we will get is much different. The 2020 Fiat 500X Sport will now offer between the mid-range Trekking and the top of the line Trekking Plus models.
Starting with the exterior, the North American version of the Fiat 500X Sport gets a lot of the European versions looks with its new bold front and rear fascias, body-colored side moldings, and a new Sport badge placed on the front fender. While mirror caps, door handles, and the rear license plate brow are finished in a dark accent finish to further define the vehicle’s appearance. A set of new 18-inch aluminum wheels come standard, for the first time on any 500X model, while an all-new optional 19-inch premium aluminum wheel with Michelin CrossClimate all-season tires. While a set of chrome dual-exhaust tips complete the 500X Sport’s bold road presence.
Inside, the 500X Sport doesn’t shy away from its sporty and adventurous theme. Staring with a dark-finished headliner and pillars along with new interior door and console bezel surface finishes, the interior has been designed to give more of the feel when stepping into a new Alfa Romeo, rather than a FIAT. A new techno-leather steering wheel features handcrafted red stitching and Alcantara inserts with paddle shifters, allow the driver to choose the optimal gear selection.
A new Alcantara-covered cluster brow and new cluster graphics and instrument-panel bezel finish create a functional, clean appearance for drivers and passengers alike. In addition, aluminum pedal covers and new Sport floor mats come standard. While the interior is finished off with a set of new exclusive Sport seats in black fabric and vinyl inserts that feature a stitched grey “500” logo.
Unlike the European model, the North American 500X Sport gets own unique powertrain. In Europe, the Fiat 500X Sport is offered with a wide variety of engine choices ranging from a 95 horsepower 1.3-liter Multijet turbo diesel with 5-speed manual transmission to a 150 horsepower 1.3-liter “Firefly” turbocharged four-cylinder. However, North America will only get one engine choice, the 1.3-liter turbocharged four-cylinder with engine stop-start (ESS) technology that makes 177 horsepower and an impressive 210 lb.-ft. of torque. A ZF-sourced 9-speed automatic transmission is also standard for the North American models.
Now, while the Fiat 500X Sport offers front-wheel-drive as its standard configuration in Europe as well, the North American version will offer a standard all-wheel-drive system with an automatic disconnecting rear axle that helps improve fuel economy. So while it may look like the Sport model is more of a street model, it will be able to tackle anything Mother Nature throws at it while still getting 30 mpg highway.
“Our Italian-designed, fun-to-drive Fiat 500X is the only vehicle in its class to feature standard all-wheel drive and achieve 30 miles per gallon,” said Tim Kuniskis, Head of Passenger Car Brands – Dodge, SRT, Chrysler and FIAT – North America. “With standard turbo power, the Fiat 500X Sport is a fresh, new alternative in one of the fastest-growing segments in the industry.”
FIAT did boast about the European version registering an 8% increase in lateral acceleration over the Cross (European version of the Trekking). So we can’t wait to see how the all-wheel-drive and 27 more horsepower does.
Of course, the Fiat 500X Sport offers more than 70 available safety and security features, including available Adaptive Cruise Control and Front Park Assist for added passenger convenience and protection. The Fiat 500X Sport is supplemented with both active and passive safety and security features, including Blind-spot Monitoring, Rear Cross Path detection, ParkView rear backup camera with dynamic gridlines, ESC with electronic roll mitigation and seven standard airbags. Standard rear parking sensors and available front parking sensors, plus an electric parking brake system, round out the well-equipped small crossover.
And to make any journey more pleasing, the 500X Sport features the latest generation Uconnect 4 with 7-inch touchscreen display infotainment system, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto connectivity, which come standard along with available satellite navigation, SiriusXM Radio, Beats premium audio system and automatic climate control.
Fiat 500X Sport models will be offered six colors which include an exclusive all-new “Rovente Red” paint, White, Black, Moda Grey, and Italia Blue. A new black roof option is also available to add an even sportier appearance to the vehicle.
According to FIAT, the 2020 500X Sport model will have a Manufacturer Suggested Retail Price (MSRP) of $26,895 in the U.S. and $33,495 in Canada, both prices exclude destination charges. The Fiat 500X Sport will be available in the first quarter of 2020 in FIAT studios and select Chrysler, Dodge, Jeep®, Ram, and FIAT dealers as well.
The 2020 Fiat 500X Sport will be making its official first appearance in North America at the 2019 AutoMobility LA (LA Auto Show), later this month.
North American 2020 Fiat 500X Sport Image Gallery: