Fiat is looking to looking to take a leaf out of Mini’s book by expanding its 500 range into a complete family of models, including a light-duty crossover.
The Italian carmaker used the recent Geneva motor show to reveal the 500L four-door hatchback pictured alongside, and this model will form the basis for the proposed 500X baby SUV.
The crossover will join the existing three-door hatchback, convertible and upcoming 500L – taking the number of 500 variants to four.
According to overseas reports, Jeep will use the same platform and hardware for a sister car that will be pitched at the European and American markets – an arrangement made possible by the fact that Fiat now owns a controlling stake in the Chrysler Group.
Respected industry journal Automotive News quoted a Fiat source as saying the 500L would embody a blend of SUV and hatchback proportions.
Sharing its architecture with the 500L and Punto, the Fiat 500X measures around 4200mm in length, making it the longest model in the 500 family.
It’s believed the 500X will be built in Turin, Italy, and Fiat reportedly plans to build 280,000 examples annually, with production starting in December 2013.
However, its Jeep counterpart (known internally as B-SUV) will allegedly be built in Poland for European markets and in Mexico for America and China.
As is the norm with many contemporary soft-roaders, both the Jeep and Fiat will be offered in front-drive and all-wheel-drive variants to maximise their target market. The all-paw version is expected to borrow its hardware from the Panda 4x4.
And, although hard to imagine, Jeep may offer a Trail Rated version, which certifies its off-road ability in five areas – traction, ground clearance, manoeuvrability, articulation, and water fording.
Both Fiat and Jeep will be offered with a range of petrol and diesel engines.