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Automotive Section


Italian car company makes entering 'cute ute' market a Fiat accompli

The crowded small utility vehicle market seems to get more crowded nearly every week, with just about every carmaker involved in the competition. Into this market drives Fiat, with a ute version of its little 500 people's car.

It's the Fiat 500X Trekker, and it's actually kind of neat - at least mostly. The regular 500 reminds me of a Smart car wannabe, which isn't a good thing, but the 500X Trekker ups the ante quite a bit, adding all-wheel drive to the mix - and it's actually a pretty decent system, too: I took a 500X onto the off-road course at the Canadian Car of the Year TestFest and it surprised me by performing better under those hilly, rutty and muddy conditions than some taller vehicles - such as the Mazda CX-3 and Honda HR-V, though to be honest I'd rather have either of those vehicles than the little Fiat. And it was the Mazda that won the category (SUV/ CUV under $35K), not the Fiat, and I think the Mazda was the best choice among the competitors. more...

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Jim Bray is a member of the Automobile Journalists Association of Canada. His columns are available through the TechnoFile Syndicate.

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