Melfi, Italy - Fiat has facelifted its quirky 500X crossover with new bumpers and lighting (always the easiest and most cost-effective upgrade items), completely redesigned the flight deck with new instrumentation and controls, loaded it with fresh driving aids and additional safety kit, and added two new turbopetrol engines, while carrying over the previous, naturally-aspirated 1.6-litre E-Torq petrol four, tweaked to meet Euro 6d emissions standards.

New LED daytime running lights and tail-light clusters are standard across the range, with Magneti Marelli LED headlights standard on the range-topping Cross Plus variant and optional on the rest of the line-up, increasing sight range by up to 100 metres in full-dark conditions - that’s four seconds at 90km/h.

The flight deck is built around a new three-ring instrument cluster, featuring analogue dials with new easier-to-read graphics,for speed and revs, left and right, and a nine centimetre trip computer display in the middle. Also new is a recontoured, leather-trimmed steering wheel with satellite audio controls.

The 2019 500X also introduces the new Global Small Engine family of modular turbopetrol engines based on a common bore and stroke of 70x86.8mm, for a cylinder capacity of 330cc. Thus there’s a one-litre three, rated for 88kW and 190Nm, driving the front wheels via a six-speed manual cogset, while the 1.33-litre four is quoted at 110kW and 270Nm, and is mated to a six-speed dual-clutch transmission.

The new engines are all-alloy (the one-litre weighs only 93kg) with variable inlet valve timing and direct fuel-injection to make the best use of forced induction.

The new 500X will be released in South Africa during the first half of 2019; Fiat Chrysler Auto SA has confirmed that we will be getting the new 1.4-litre turbo and the carry-over 1.6 engine; the one-litre three, it says, is still under consideration.

An 18cm colour touchscreen infotainment display, compatible with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, is standard across the European range, as are traffic sign recognition and lane assist; blind spot alert, adaptive cruise control and auto braking are options.

IOL Motoring