Ever since crossovers became a hot thing in the early-2000s, seemingly every car manufacturer has taken the leap into the nearly full crossover pool. The newest market is the compact crossover market, which is just getting started. Fiat has decided that it’s going to get into this side of the pool early on with a 500-based crossover.
This new crossover, which is set to debut in Europe next year, will add to the growing 500 lineup, which currently includes the 500, 500C, 500L and the 500 Abarth. This new vehicle, which the consensus says will be dubbed the 500X, will feature three different engines, Fiat’s two-cylinder turbocharged TwinAir engine, a 1.4-liter and a 1.3-liter turbo-diesel, and will be based on the 500L’s chassis.
If this model makes it to the U.S. – nothing is concrete on a U.S. release yet – it will have stiff competition from the MINI Countryman and a slew of new arrivals. No renditions or teaser images have been released yet, so we are all stuck using our imaginations. I seem to picture something similar to the Suzuki X-90 – one of my top-10 cool, yet ugly, cars – but with a hatch.
We honestly do understand Fiat’s slow-moving tactics here, but buyers are soon going to grow tired of the 500 model. Making subtle changes to an existing model to build buyer interest is a safe bet at first, but eventually buyers will start wondering what’s next and lose interest altogether. It has only been a year since Fiat’s return to the U.S., but it might be time to start considering moving more models to the U.S.
Then again, Fiat is on a slippery slope, as it is also trying to keep Chrysler’s head above water while trying to reintroduce its brand to the U.S. So let’s cut them some slack, for now…
Updated 07/04/2012: During the official debut of the new 500L, Fiat has also dropped some teaser images and a video on the upcoming 500X that will go on sale sometime in 2014. Hit he jump for the video. (Omniauto)