The Fiat 500X, currently the only bright spot in the brand’s production range, now receives the Firefly engine range to bring it in line with its platform sister, Jeep’s Renegade, which was updated two months ago. The refreshed 500X also receives new LED headlights, some cosmetic updates to the bumpers and new body colours while inside there is a revised instrument console and new steering wheel.
The new Firefly engine family of three- and four-cylinder engines offer up to 20% better fuel efficiency than previous petrol engines, while also being 20% quieter than their turbo diesel counterparts which remain unchanged apart from adjustments to bring them into line with Euro requirements. The 1.0-litre Firefly replaces the existing 1.6-litre E-Torq engine (although this will remain in production) while the 1.3-litre Firefly will cover the outgoing 1.4-litre turbo.
New driving assist systems are being offered as standard equipment on all versions. The automatic traffic sign recognition system in connection with the Speed Advisor allows drivers to avoid breaking the speed limit by adapting, with a simple click, the car's speed using information it read from road signs along the way, while Lane Assist standard is a departure warning system for use on motorways.
New LED headlights
On the outside the refreshed 500X gets new LED headlight clusters, bringing it into line with the facelifted Jeep Renegade, which was launched in June, and also received updated lights. The new daylight running lights and LED rear light clusters come as standard and aim to convey a more modern look.
The new lights, with full LED technology, were made in partnership with Magneti Marelli and ensure more powerful lighting as they are 20% brighter than the “Xenon” technology offered on the previous model.
Visibility is considerably improved and they consume five times less energy than traditional halogen lights. They include a total of 12 LEDs that are split between the low and high beam functions.
Last but not least, they reduce eye fatigue thanks to daylight-like illumination, as well as covering a wider vision area: at a speed of 90 km/h, for example, obstacles are spotted up to four seconds sooner – which is 100 metres – than with the standard halogen units.
Finally, one of the key design features of the car is the high-tech LED signature around the module, giving the front of the facelifted 500X a clearer, distinctive visual identity. The rear light clusters also get LEDs to make them more individual and recognisable, as well as increasing its visibility and thus safety on the road.
The new Urban version features a revised front and rear bumper design, while the Cross and City Cross have new-look protective skid plates.
The new exterior design detailing reaffirms the two trim levels of the model, which remain unchanged – the urban one for tackling city traffic at ease, courtesy of its compact dimensions and raised driving position, and the Cross one for taking on out-of-town adventures, also with 4WD.
Inside there is an updated instrument cluster that features revised graphics which Fiat reckons are now easier to read but lose some of their stylish elements, together with a new steering wheel which is contoured to ensure better positioning of the driver's hands and grip.
New petrol engines
The main change though for the 500X facelift is the arrival of the Firefly engine family on a Fiat model in Europe for the first time, coming two months after the Brazilian developed engine was launched on Jeep's Renegade model which is assembled alongside the 500X in Italy.
Euro 6/D-TEMP compliant and fitted with Gasoline Particle Filter (GPF), the new Firefly turbo engines are the result of over 75,000 hours of virtual tests, 60,000 hours of real-life off-vehicle tests and 5 million kilometres clocked up on roads worldwide to confirm their robustness and reliability.
Developed on a modular structure with 0.33 litre cylinder unit, the new turbo petrol engine line-up includes a three-cylinder 1-litre powerplant that delivers 120 HP and 190 Nm of peak torque paired with a six-speed manual transmission and front-wheel drive and a four-cylinder 1.3-litre engine with 150 HP and 270 Nm of torque, in this case combined with six-speed DCT dual clutch automatic transmission and front-wheel drive.
Their specific architecture guarantees efficiency, modularity, a high degree of component and production process standardisation, flexibility and openness to future evolutions.
The new engines are made entirely from aluminium alloy, ensuring unbeatable lightness (the three-cylinder version weighs just 93 kg), while the cylinder block, developed in partnership with Teksid, is in high-pressure die-cast aluminium alloy, with a bedplate architecture for the best combination of ride, weight and structural performance.
The use of many innovative technical characteristics contribute to improving performance and maximising driving comfort, such as direct fuel injection to maximise volumetric efficiency and the low inertia turbocharger controlled by an electrically operated wastegate actuator which, combined with a supercharger module water-cooled directly in the intake manifold, ensures a faster transient response and very swift acceleration.
Another feature in the new turbo engines is the introduction of the third generation of the exclusive MultiAir technology (called MultiAir III), which further optimises combustion efficiency through continual control of intake valve opening and timing: thanks to the specific intake and exhaust cam profiles, this improves low load efficiency by recycling exhaust gas through advance opening of the intake valves.
When higher power is required, the MultiAir III technology reduces the real compression ratio by delaying valve closure, controlling knock and substantially improving fuel efficiency even at the highest loads.
Lastly, the refreshed 500X range of petrol engines is completed by the 110 HP 1.6 E-Torq which will remain in production, combined with manual transmission and front-wheel drive, but now upgraded to meet the Euro 6/D-TEMP pollution reduction standard.
Upgraded diesel engines
The three turbo diesel engines remain unchanged and come with MultiJet II – a technology developed and patented by FCA – but are now upgraded with SCR (Selective Catalytic Reduction) to comply with the Euro 6/D-TEMP standard.
There are the same three displacements available: 1.3, 1.6 and 2.0 litres. Specifically, the 95 HP 1.3 MultiJet II engine is combined with manual transmission and front-wheel drive, the 120 HP 1.6 MultiJet II turbo diesel can be teamed with six-speed manual or automatic dual clutch DCT transmission, with front wheel drive, while the 150 HP 2.0 MultiJet II powerplant has a nine-speed automatic transmission and four-wheel drive.
To maximise efficiency, all diesel engines feature a new system which combines, in a single unit, SCR with AdBlue (a solution of 32.5% high-purity urea and 67.5% demineralised water) injection to cut nitrogen (NOx) emission and DPF (Diesel Particulate Filter) to trap and reduce PM (particulate matter). This means that the engine achieves the highest eco-compatibility level offered on the market today for diesel systems without compromising performance. The power and torque curves confirm the excellence of the MultiJet II family, which ensures its trademark optimal torque at low rpm also in this latest configuration.
The 1.3-litre MultiJet II delivers 95 HP and a peak torque of no less than 200 Nm at 1500 rpm, while the 1.6-litre MultiJet II provides 120 HP and a peak torque of 320 Nm at just 1.750 rpm and the 2.0 MultiJet II provides 150 HP and a peak torque of an impressive 350 at 1500 rpm.
Driving Assist Systems
Two new driving assist systems are being offered as standard equipment on all facelifted versions of the 500X. They are Traffic Sign Recognition which reads road signs and Speed Advisor, allowing drivers to adapt the running speed to the signs read along the way to prevent breaking the speed limit.
Lane Assist, which is the automatic lane departure warning system, is also standard, while optional equipment includes Blind Spot Alert, Safety Distance Manager (ACC), which adapts the speed of the car to that of the traffic and the distance from the vehicle ahead, in addition to Autonomous Emergency Brake.
The new Traffic Sign Recognition system comprises a camera mounted on the inside of the windscreen which reads the speed limits on road signs along the way. The data acquired are sent, in real time, to the instrument cluster display, alerting the driver to the limits to be complied with.
Speed Advisor: this is a new function of the Speed Limiter which, which when activated, adapts the speed of the car to the speed limit with a simple click. More in detail, Traffic Sign Recognition identifies the current speed limit and the innovative Speed Advisor reduces the speed simply and promptly to the advantage of safety. In short, it is an invaluable travelling companion.
Lane Assist is the lane departure warning system that uses the optical sensor of the camera to identify the position of the car in relation to the lane markings on the road surface. If the car strays out of lane, identified by the system as a change in trajectory without activation of the direction indicators, the system triggers a visual alarm and applies additional torque to the steering wheel to counteract the unintended lane change. Lane Assist operates at speeds between 60 and 180 km/h and can be activated by the driver.
Safety Distance Manager can be activated for automatic reduction of the set speed when the vehicle is approaching the vehicle ahead in the same lane, or when another vehicle moves into the same lane. The Safety Distance Manager returns to the set speed when the vehicle in front accelerates or moves to another lane. It also keeps the car at the distance from the vehicle ahead set by the driver. It operates from a speed of 30 km/h.
Autonomous Emergency Brake function available on the New 500X can recognise obstacles in the path of the car and brake automatically if the driver doesn’t act to prevent a collision.
The range remains mostly unchanged and will comprise the same three versions on major EMEA Region markets, namely the New 500X Urban, 500X City and 500X Cross.
The range comprises of six engines, two drive options (front or four-wheel) and four transmissions (five-speed manual, six-speed manual, six-speed DTC automatic and nine-speed automatic).
Customers also have a choice of 14 different colours: as well as the new tricoat Pearl White and the new metallic Italia Blue and Techno Green, the assortment also includes the metallic Jeans Blue, Venezia Blue, Argento Grey and Moda Grey, the pastel Gelato White, Cinema Black, Cappuccino Beige and Passione Red, the matt shades Matt Jeans Blue and Matt Alpi Green, and the exclusive Amore Red. The offer is completed by seven different wheel designs (16-, 17- and 18-inch) and seven internal configurations.
In detail, the New 500X range starts from the Urban trim level, which is an excellent alternative to C-segment cars offering the best value for money in terms of equipment. Standard equipment on the most metropolitan version includes LED DRL and rear lights, new Techno-leather steering wheel, new instrument panel with monochrome 3.5'' TFT and double USB port, manual climate control, Cruise Control, electric parking brake and 60/40 split rear seat. The outfit is completed by the new Traffic Sign Recognition and Speed Advisor driving assist systems, as well as Lane Assist system, 6 airbags (front, window and side) and ESC (Electronic Stability Control).
The second trim level of the New 500X is the City Cross, which stands out for its redesigned front skid plate and specific bumper. Furthermore, the off-road look is enhanced by 16-inch alloy wheels, satin chrome trims and body-coloured mirror caps. Also standard are the front fog lights, body-coloured dashboard and Apple Car Play ready and Android Auto compatible 7" Uconnect system with DAB digital radio.
The final level is the New 500X Cross, the top-of-the-range version including 17-inch alloy wheels, roof bars and tinted windows in addition to the specific off-road equipment of the previous version. Inside, this trim level features the 7-inch Uconnect with Sat Nav, the Apple CarPlay integration and Android Auto compatibility. Also standard are the automatic climate control, rear parking sensors, rear camera and twilight sensor.
For the launch of the facelifted 500X Fiat has made a two-and-a-half-minute short movie, inspired by the cult film "Back to the Future", which consolidates the bond between the brand and the world of cinema. This relationship culminated last year with the tribute video "See you in the future", created to celebrate the 60th birthday of Fiat 500 and starring Oscar-winner actor Adrien Brody.
The new film is based on the concept of an exciting journey through time, in which a young couple start out in the '60s on board a Fiat 600 of the period and are catapulted into the present at the wheel of the New 500X. The short movie ends with a special appearance by American actor Christopher Lloyd, in the cameo role of a policeman, who signals the end of the journey through time with a knowing wink.
Photos: New Fiat 500X [Facelift]
Videos: New Fiat 500X on the road footage (57 seconds) / New Fiat 500X Magneti Marelli LED Headlights / New Fiat 500X Apple CarPlay Connectivity / New Fiat 500X Android Auto Connectivity / New Fiat 500X Driver Assist Safety System
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