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2019 Fiat 500X Gets New Engine, Standard All-Wheel Drive

2019 Fiat 500X; Manufacturer images

Fiat's funky 500X subcompact SUV gets some mild updates for the 2019 model year in the form of updated exterior styling and new cabin materials. The big news, however, comes in a new turbocharged 1.3-liter four-cylinder engine and standard all-wheel drive.

Related: What's the Best Subcompact SUV for 2018?

Fiat claims the new engine puts out 177 horsepower and 210 pounds-feet of torque, which should give the little 'ute some relative pep off the line, although no performance numbers otherwise are public yet. The 2018 500X offered either a turbo 1.4-liter or non-turbo 2.4-liter four-cylinder, with outputs maxing at 180 hp (2.4-liter) and 184 pounds-feet (1.4-liter turbo). The new engine works exclusively with a nine-speed automatic transmission; the manual from 2018 is gone. Fiat also claims improved fuel efficiency, but published EPA numbers aren't out yet to confirm this. Engine and transmission response can be adjusted with either Auto, Sport or Traction Plus settings, the latter designed to improve traction in low-speed, low-grip situations. The engine and transmission combination is the only one offered across the 500X's three trim levels (Pop, Trekking and Trekking Plus).

Formerly optional, all-wheel drive is now standard for the 2019 500X, joining Subaru's Crosstrek as the only cars in the class with standard all-wheel drive. Some alternatives, like the Nissan Kicks and Toyota C-HR, come only with front-wheel drive.

Other changes to the 500X include very minor revisions to the exterior lines as well as new optional LED headlights. Seventeen-inch aluminum wheels or 18-inch matte-gray aluminum wheels are optional on Trekking models; 17-inch matte black wheels or the same 18-inchers are optional on the Trekking Plus.

Related: Amid Sinking Sales, Fiat Launches 2018 500X Blue Sky Edition

Tech includes a standard 7-inch multimedia screen with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, as well as newly available safety features like adaptive cruise control and forward collision warning.

Including the destination fee, the new 500X will have a starting price of $25,785. That's up a hefty $4,495 versus the outgoing 500X, but the old model's base variant had a manual transmission and front-wheel drive. Versus the cheapest 500X with AWD and the automatic, pricing is up just $600. Fiat says the 2019 500X goes on sale in the spring of 2019.

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