It's just 18 seconds of video, but a clip from Italy appears to show the first clear details of yet another upcoming Fiat model to help the brand return to volume sales in the U.S. market.
Posted on Tuesday, the video shows what is almost surely a Fiat 500X crossover.
This new model is the all-wheel drive version that will be derived from the larger Fiat 500L five-door hatchback that's already been shown in Europe.
To differentiate the two models--they're the fourth and fifth members of the growing Fiat 500 lineup--the basic 500L will likely be offered only with front-wheel drive.
Today, three Fiats are offered in the U.S.: the base Fiat 500 three-door hatchback; the Fiat 500c Cabrio, which adds a roll-back cloth roof; and the hot-rod Fiat 500 Abarth model.
The all-wheel drive 500X rides slightly higher, and is visually differentiated by its black sill extensions, wheelwell surrounds, and lower bumper sections--similar to the Subaru Outback and many other AWD crossovers.
According to a rough translation of the text on the YouTube page, the 500X itself won't be on the road for another two years (we take that to mean at dealers), which would put it on sale a few months after the 500L, perhaps in the spring or summer of 2014.
In Europe, the Fiat 500X will likely come with three engine options, including Fiat’s 900cc TwinAir two cylinder, a 1.4-liter four cylinder gasoline engine and a 1.3-liter MultiJet II diesel.
2013 Fiat 500L live photosEnlarge Photo
In the states, we're only likely to see it with the 1.4-liter four, perhaps in the turbocharged form used in the 2013 Dodge Dart (and also in the 500 Abarth).
The Fiat 500X will compete here most directly with the MINI Cooper Countryman, another larger five-door crossover that also has few parts in common with its namesake minicar, as well as the upcoming Buick Encore and a smaller Ford called the EcoSport.
The platform underneath the 500L and 500X is a crucial one for the combined Fiat-Chrysler company, as it will also be used to develop a subcompact Jeep model that's smaller than today's Patriot crossover.
The sheetmetal of the small Jeep will be entirely different. Unlike the Fiat 500X, at least one model will be trail-rated, with additional ground clearance, conservative approach angles, and skid plates and other protective gear underneath.
The Fiat 500L will go on sale in Europe later this year, with the 500X to follow early next year. Expect to see it in the States as a 2014 model.