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Fiat in fine form with the 500X compact SUV (pictures)

Fiat's latest model, the 500X, enters the compact SUV segment, giving drivers a comfortable and roomy cabin in a capable little car.

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Wayne Cunningham
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Fiat follows up its 500L model, a family-size version of the 500, with the 500X compact SUV.

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Fiat in the US runs as a single model marque, similar to Mini, calling its range of cars '500.'

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The 500X features similar styling as the 500 model in front.

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A higher riding position and about two feet more in body length distinguish the 500X from its diminutive sibling.

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Fiat offers two engines for the 500X. The base model comes with a 1.4-liter turbocharged engine, but every other trim uses this 2.4-liter four cylinder.

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The 500X uses a front-wheel-drive platform, but all-wheel-drive is optional.

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Independent suspension front and rear is well-tuned for comfort and handling.

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HID headlights show off the 500 model name. As this is a pre-production car, Fiat may change this to read 500X when it hits dealer lots.

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The available all-wheel-drive system can completely disconnect from the rear axle to improve fuel economy.

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A swooping side graphic helps visibility, but thick A pillars still block some of the corner view.

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As a comfortable compact SUV, the Fiat 500X makes a good vacation car, commuter and general errand runner.

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The front-wheel-drive version showed tight, responsive handling.

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The 500X shares a platform with the recently released Jeep Renegade.

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The interior looks good for an economy car.

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The high roof helps rear seating space.

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A cargo area of 18.5 cubic feet is not overly spacious, but fits with the segment.

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The electric power steering features a sport and comfort program.

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The instrument cluster includes analog gauges for speed and tach to the left and right, and a monochrome display in the middle.

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Fiat fits the 500X with a nine speed automatic transmission.

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The Fiat Dynamic Selector changes drive modes between Automatic, Sport and Traction.

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This 5-inch display comes standard in all but the base trim 500X.

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Audio sources include AM, FM and satellite radio, along with two USB ports and Bluetooth streaming.

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The center display shows detailed trip information.

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The rear-view camera includes trajectory lines.

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