By George Polgar
PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – A Beverly Hills test drive of the new 2016 FIAT 500X small crossover SUV is literally the ideal backdrop for this car.READ MORE: Confounding Error Costs Phillies In 8-4 Loss To Braves
Californians are fervent early adopters, so the cheeky little FIAT 500 does better there than elsewhere in the US.
Though a worldwide top-seller with a rich tradition in now trendy mid-century popular culture, the FIAT 500 has struggled in America since its 2011 debut.READ MORE: Philadelphia Weather: Severe Storm, Flooding Threat Kicks Off Memorial Day Weekend
FIAT boss Sergio Marchionne’s vision of 50,000 units per year in the US is now largely dismissed as an off-hand remark rather than an official projection. And though more than 55,000 were sold in 2012, the final 2014 US tally of 46,000 units is considered a major comeback.
The 500X offers more space and small SUV capabilities – riding on the new Italian built Jeep Renegade platform – in the classic FIAT 500 profile.
Last year’s extended length 500L 4-door helped bump up US sales. The $20,000 to $29,000 X model is likely to do even better as the car evolves from an icon into a product suited to American and global markets.MORE NEWS: South Jersey Elementary School Provides Walkthrough Of Security Measures In Wake Of Texas School Shooting
The 500X is to be sold in 100 countries.