Italian car-makers have a great history of high-performance sports cars and tiny little city cars, so a cross between the two is always going to be interesting. Fiat’s 500 brand currently makes up the bulk of its line-up and is now available in a variety of formats, including the 500X compact crossover. This neat little soft roader is set to be given the Abarth treatment for 2017 to make one of the hottest and funkiest crossovers on the market.
How It Will Look
A prototype version of the Abarth 500X has been seen in action, showing the classic twin exhaust and some chunky wheels. A production version will no doubt be liberally sprinkled with Abarth’s distinctive scorpion logo, along with some modern paint options with plenty of scope for customisation. The interior could be just as racy as the exterior, with complementing colour schemes and sports seats.
How It Will Perform
Under the bonnet you will probably find Fiat’s 1.4 litre turbocharged petrol MultiAir unit, which is also to be used in the new 124 Spider model and which can be tuned to produce up to 200bhp. That should make for some very entertaining driving and put the Abarth 500X into the ring with the likes of the Mini Countryman JCW and the Nissan Juke Nismo RS. Fiat has yet to announced a price structure, but it will probably make the Abarth 500X competitive with the Juke Nismo, starting at about £25,000.
The crossover’s elevated ride height will be lowered for a sportier driving dynamic, while an athletic body-kit gives away its racy character. Certainly, the Abarth is likely to look quite different from the original Fiat 500X, with a prominent rear wing and an under-bumper diffuser on the outside, plus a range of sporty gauges and dials accompanying deep bucket seats on the inside.
The 500X has been a very successful model for Fiat, and the fast-growing crossover or SUV sector is key for manufacturers. Performance versions are likely to excite a lot of customer interest, with Nissan planning to liven up its Qashqai model next and Renaultsport preparing to do the same for the Renault Kadjar.