Fiat India bets on new, X3U code-named compact SUV based on 326 (Palio) platform

Italian automaker Fiat will launch the 500X crossover internationally next year. The 500X crossover will use the US Small Wide platform, which it shares with the Jeep Renegade compact SUV. However, both the Jeep Renegade and the 500X are doubtful starters as far as the Indian car market is concerned due to cost concerns. The AutoCarIndia print magazine dated September ’14 suggests that Fiat India is working on a Palio (326 platform) based compact SUV code-named the X3U,  as a rival to the likes of the Renault Duster, and the upcoming Maruti Suzuki S-Cross and the Hyundai iX25 crossovers.

2015 Fiat 500X Crossover Photo
2015 Fiat 500X Crossover used as an illustration

 

The Italian automaker is also working on downsizing the 1.6 liter-4 cylinder Multijet turbo diesel engine, to make for a 1.5 liter capacity. The 1.5 liter iteration of the Multijet turbo diesel engine will find use in the new compact SUV. The 1.5 liter Multijet turbo diesel engine will give Fiat India spades of flexibility, by allowing the automaker to outfit a plethora of sub-4 meter cars with this powerful diesel motor. The likes of sub-4 meter cars such as the Fiat Punto EVO and the Avventura are also expected to use the 1.5 liter Multijet motor in their future iterations. So, expect future editions of Fiat sub-4 meter Diesel cars sold in India to be much more powerful than they’ve ever been. 

Coming back to the compact SUV based on the 326 platform, not much is known about the product in terms of specifications apart from the assertions that the SUV will sit in the sub-4 meter category and that it will see a 2016 launch. The SUV is expected to be built at Fiat’s Ranjangaon factory, off Pune. Expect a heavy amount of localization to keep costs low. Fiat India is going through a revival of sorts. A full product refresh happened earlier this year, which will be followed up with the launches of the Avventura and the 500 Abarth cars in the next 4 months. With the likes of the compact SUV and a Abarth kit for the Punto in the pipeline, and a range of Jeep branded SUVs, Fiat India will move into top gear 2015 onwards.