Soon you’ll be able to enjoy that drop-top experience in a Fiat from a higher vantage point.
The high-riding drop-top was reportedly shown to suppliers late last month by Fiat Chrysler Automobiles’ European head, Pietro Gorlier.
Our Thanos Pappas has created this rendering to give us an idea of what the 500X Cabrio will look like.
As with the 500C, the 500X Cabrio will have its roof and rear window replaced with a folding soft top with a glass rear window.
The body sides, including the doors, will be unchanged which makes the Fiat somewhat of a hybrid between a conventional convertible and a landaulet.
Its only direct rival will be the Volkswagen T-Roc Cabriolet, launched last year.
In contrast with the Fiat, the Volkswagen was changed considerably in its transformation into a convertible, with a longer wheelbase, two fewer doors, and a vast amount of new sheetmetal.
500X sales have held relatively steady in Europe since its introduction, though it unsurprisingly experienced a double-digit sales decline during the torturous 2020.
Sales in Australia, in contrast, have declined markedly.
Last year, Fiat sold just 85 examples, or less than every other model in the Small SUV Under $40k segment except the SsangYong Tivoli XLV, the discontinued Jeep Renegade, and the Peugeot 2008 that was transitioning to a new model.
The 500X’s best year was 2017, where Fiat sold 760 examples, but it had winnowed away to just 154 sales by 2019.
FCA is expanding its SUV range and, though the 500X Cabrio is undoubtedly a niche product, it should expect to find more meaningful volume with the upcoming Alfa Romeo Tonale.
Based on a modified version of the Jeep Compass platform and drivetrain, it begins production in Italy in the second half of this year and will offer a plug-in hybrid model.
It’ll be joined by a smaller SUV on Groupe PSA’s Common Modular Platform, which FCA will have access to as it merges with PSA to become Stellantis.
Possibly called Brennero, another Italian mountain pass like Stelvio, it’ll enter production in Poland in late 2022 and offer an all-electric variant.
Badged Grecale, it’ll be built alongside the Stelvio at FCA’s Cassino plant in Italy.
Should the 500X Cabrio come here, it would have no rivals as Volkswagen doesn’t sell the T-Roc Cabrio here.
The history of convertible SUVs is a spotty one.
Removable roofs have been found on rugged four-wheel drives over the years, including the stalwart Jeep Wrangler and the old Suzuki Sierra.
Looking purely at crossover SUVs, however, the pool is much shallower.
Nissan sold a two-door CrossCabriolet version of its large Murano crossover in the North American market to little success.
The Toyota RAV4 was offered as a two-door convertible from 1998 to 2000, though with the second-generation redesign it lost that body style and then lost its three-door hardtop version with the third-generation redesign.
Four-door convertibles are even rarer.
Lincoln famously offered a four-door convertible version of its Continental from 1961 to 1967 but since then the concept has never found traction beyond, well, concept cars.