2013 Fiat 500L live photosEnlarge Photo
Talk of the 500 crossover, which will likely be called the 500X, dates back several years but now reports out of Europe are claiming the vehicle will be with us very soon.
Automotive News Europe (subscription required), citing an inside source, reports that the 500X will be on sale as early as next year.
It will be based on the platform underpinning the larger 500L unveiled earlier this month at the 2012 Geneva Motor Show, which is also due on sale, in the U.S. at least, sometime next year.
The 500X will be the fifth addition to the Fiat 500 family, joining the regular 500 three-door hatch, 500C convertible, 500L MPV and sporty 500 Abarth.
Production is expected to take place at Fiat’s plant in Mirafiori, Turin, the same site where the 500L is built. It will be around 13.7 feet in length, making it the biggest of the 500 family. Both front and all-wheel drive versions are expected.
As for engines, the European lineup will initially comprise two gasoline units (TwinAir and 1.4-liter) and a turbodiesel unit (1.3 MultiJet II). American versions will likely come exclusively with the 1.4-liter MultiAir unit, possibly with more power than the 101 horsepower and 98 pound-feet of torque found in the 500, though.
The 500X will be a crucial model for the entire Fiat-Chrysler empire as it will also be used as the basis for a similar compact crossover from Jeep due in late 2013 or early 2014. Importantly, the Jeep version will be trail-rated.
While the primary market for the mini-Jeep will be Europe, a U.S. launch is almost certain. Where Jeep hopes to stand apart from the competition is with a long list of standard appointments and the brand’s reputation for ruggedness.