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Los Angeles 2018: A New Engine - and Hope - for the 2019 Fiat 500X

Fiat’s remodeled 500X small crossover is crossing the ocean to try one more time to find its place on the North American market. Already launched in Europe earlier this year, the new 500X gets a new 1.3L 4-cylinder turbo engine as its biggest change.

The powertrain will deliver 177 hp and 210 lb-ft of torque, which represents a gain of 17 and 26, respectively, in comparison with the 1.4L turbo engine that served the model previously (the 2.4L 4-cylinder that was also in the catalogue for the outgoing model delivered only 3 more horses for 180 in all, and only 175 lb-ft of torque).

The new unit powering the 500X actually represents a compromise, as it allows the car to benefit from the third-generation MultiAir III technology for improved fuel economy via variable controlled management of the valve system. The engine also gets stop/start technology and all-wheel drive, both standard.

Photo: Fiat

Visually, there are some noticeable differences, mainly to do with the height of the headlights and the whole of the front end that has been reworked. The same applies in back, which gets a more contemporary look. Overall, this still looks very recognizably like a Fiat. Three unique wheel designs are also part of the product offering; two are for 17-inch wheels, one for 18.

Three new colours are offered: variants of blue, green and ivory, bringing the total to 12 in all. Inside, the materials covering the seats and the steering wheel have been changed out, and the dials on the instrument panel have been redesigned. Buyers of the 500X also get the fourth-generation Uconnect system, which of course includes Apple CarPlay et Android Auto integration.

Photo: Fiat

The power-assisted steering has had its parameters modified, as has the 9-speed automatic transmission. For the latter component, we can say that Fiat had little choice but to try to upgrade it: this transmission’s track record has been far from stellar.

This new 500X might well represent Fiat’s last attempt to make a go of it with this model, whose sales have been slow verging on non-existent and whose survival is far from guaranteed.

In 2017, all of 856 units of the 500X sold in Canada.

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