By Don Armstrong
The hottest new vehicles in the already hot SUV market are subcompacts. In this issue of Bay Area Houston Magazine, we take a look at two of them, one you may be familiar with and the other, an all-new model.
The 500X is Fiat’s first venture into the crossover SUV market and this may be the one vehicle that will get you into the dealership’s finance office.
The 500X is built on the same platform as the Renegade, a runaway hit for the Jeep brand. And, yes, it really is built in Italy; Melfi, Italy to be exact. This 5-passenger runabout is more fun than a barrel of monkeys. Coupled with cool features, available options and toting a 2015 Top Safety Pick+, by The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, this baby is set to win your heart.
Looking like a grownup 500C, the “X” boasts similar exterior styling cues. Same for the interior, including a body-colored dash accent that gets a lot of positive comments and smiles.
The optional 2.4-liter engine delivers 24-MPG combined. Choose from a manual or 9-speed automatic transmission.
The 2016 Fiat 500X is available in five trim levels: Pop, Easy, Lounge, and for a more athletic look, Trekking and Trekking Plus. The Trekking and Trekking Plus models feature unique front and rear fascia designs and Satin Silver accents for a distinct, aggressive appearance.
MSRP starts at $20,000.
Funky has a name: Nissan Juke. Even with a mild refresh last year, its odd exterior features – namely the headlights and front fascia – really haven’t changed, and that’s a good thing. That is, if you like weird. But isn’t that part of the attraction?
The Juke, however, is much more than looks. Here is another tiny crossover that handles like a sports car, yet can be driven comfortably every day, whether as a commuter car, kid hauler or grocery getter.
The interior is more mild mannered than its exterior; the center stack contains neatly arranged controls for HVAC, entertainment and a touchscreen; the dual gauge instrument cluster hides under a floating sunshade. Seats are comfortable and, amazingly, there is room for passengers in the second row.
The Juke’s handling is probably the sportiest of all mini-utes. Add the Nismo RS package with 215 horsepower, the little CUV that could, becomes a screaming meme. Even the entry level boasts 188 ponies.
Pricing starts at $20,250.