The Ford EcoSport was an instant hit among the masses when launched last year and made Ford laugh all the way to the bank. The only sub 4-metre compact SUV, EcoSport offers space and size of an SUV coupled with the driving credentials of a sedan. Add to that Ford priced the compact SUV aggressively enough to witness waiting periods extend over 8-9 months. A stellar achievement for the American auto giant, the EcoSport started the trend of sub 4-metre compact SUVs and now it is Fiat that is taking a page or two from Ford’s success book to create their own compact SUV.
Recent reports suggest that Fiat is developing an EcoSport rivalling compact SUV that has been codenamed ‘X3U’. The upcoming compact SUV is said to be based on Fiat’s modular 326 platform that also underpins the Palio hatchback and is receiving the final design touches from the automaker. The sources further add that the upcoming Italian automaker’s X3U compact SUV will be aggressively styled and will also offer class-leading handling as well as powertrain options.
The compact SUV will come with an all-new 1.5-litre diesel engine from Fiat. The engine is said to be a smaller version of the 1.6-litre 4-cylinder MultiJet turbo diesel engine that is available on several Fiat and Alfa Romeo cars internationally. With the reduced capacity and sub 4-metre size, the X3U SUV will save Rs. 15,000 of additional taxes and will help the company price the product more aggressively. The power output is not clear yet, but is stated to be north of the 100 BHP mark. The compact SUV could also get manual and Automated Manual Transmission (AMT) options on offer.
While details are still scarce about the launch date, it is being speculated that the Fiat X3U compact SUV will be showcased at the 2016 Auto Expo, with the launch scheduled in the first half of the year. Fiat has been observant about the Indian market and is finally choosing to go aggressive on its Indian operations. The company is currently on the brink of launching the Punto based Avventura crossover in the country that will form the basis for the upcoming SUV in the future, while the American brand ‘Jeep’ is scheduled to come to the country next year.
Source – Autocar