Instead of the three gasoline engines on offer across the pond or the two stateside, U.S. consumers will get a standard 1.3-liter, direct-injection turbocharged engine that produces 177 horsepower and a best-in-class 210 pound-feet of torque. Those are higher output figures than either the comparable European 1.3-liter or the 1.4-liter, and they compare with the 180 hp and 175 lb-ft offered by the outgoing 2.4-liter Tigershark engine. The new four-cylinder is fitted with stop-start technology and the third generation of FCA’s MultiAir valve-actuation technology, which controls intake-valve timing and opening to recycle exhaust gas to offer improved power and fuel efficiency.
Also reflecting American trends — and don’t let the gear shifter knob fool you — there’s no manual transmission on offer, with power instead mated to a nine-speed fully electronic automatic transmission. Three driving modes are on offer: a baseline Auto, performance-oriented Sport, and Traction +, which maximizes low-speed traction.
Looks-wise, the basics are the same, with sharper creases, new LED head- and taillights, and redesigned front and rear fascias. The U.S. version continues the plastic body cladding defining the grille surround, a shape echoed at the rear. There are three wheel options — 17-inch silver aluminum for the Trekking model, 17-inch matte black machined wheels for the Treeking Plus, and 18-inch matte anthracite machined aluminum for Trekking and Trekking Plus (Pop is the entry-level trim). There are also three new exterior colors: Italia blue, green and ivory.
Fiat designers refreshed the cockpit with new seat fabrics, a new instrument cluster and a new steering wheel with mounted radio controls. It comes with standard Connect 4 with a 7-inch touchscreen radio with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto and Bluetooth features.
Safety features include blind-spot monitoring, rear cross path detection and a rear backup camera with dynamic grid lines. Adaptive cruise control is offered as an option.
The 500X will start at $25,785 including destination when it goes on sale next spring.