Andre Potgieter, the Dealer Principal at New Vaal South, was kind enough to assign me to be the journalist representing the awesome brands on offer in at this dynamic dealership; I began my adventure by driving the brand-new Fiat 500X Cross from the showroom floor, and – after dropping off the stunning Haval H6 a short while before – I was hoping for another memorable and grand experience.
I mentioned this to New Car Sales Executive Tony Pinho, who eagerly urged me to give the Fiat 500X a try, noting that despite the compact look of the car, it presents space, comfort and luxury as well. I must be honest, I immediately loved the famous Italian-styling of the Fiat 500X, with it’s wide-eyed, European look and flowing lines. The touch of Retro-styling made the vehicle stand out, and gave me the impression that not only was the Fiat designed to be noticed, but the underlying athletic touches hinted at its crossover nature.
Inside the Fiat 500X, I was impressed with the driver-centric layout, with an elegant and chic dashboard that seems to fit around your needs, and an adjustable driving position that makes the cabin itself feel like an extension of the driver. I particularly liked the high-quality finishes that seemed to envelope me in Italian luxury and the feeling of sitting quite high, almost as though siting in a full-on SUV. New Car Sales Executive Shane Hartnick took me through the vehicle’s capabilities, and impressed me with his knowledge (even though he is new to the New Vaal South family) – presenting Fiat, Alpha and Jeep, New Vaal South seems to have the big brands in the industry under one roof.
The drive was pure delight – the Fiat 500X is nippy, yet powerful, and with a 6-speed manual gearbox gave me full control as I headed out onto the highway. Despite feeling like a big SUV, the vehicle itself is sleek and responsive, light under my touch, and performs without hesitation. Lightweight independent front suspension proves to be the reason for it’s great handling around corners, whilst the MacPherson independent rear suspension delivers a soft ride that is almost velvety. Together with the convenience of the Uconnect infotainment system, I was able to give my full attention to the effortless drive, yet still explore the technology and features available on board.
Classified as a Crossover, the Fiat 500X also boasts a Traction Plus system, that – combined with the 4×2 engine – is an electronic control system designed to provide optimal torque distribution on the front axles, boosting the vehicles ability to take on low-grip surfaces in a more effective way. The Fiat 500X has definite character, and I loved the unique, yet reliable, feel of the vehicle that gave good power, and excellent handling, ultimately exceeding my expectations.
Back at the dealership, I was reminded that the slogan “Making a strong statement” by Fiat was what the brand is all about: and indeed, the Fiat 500X Cross did just that – making a strong statement about its capabilities, high-quality design and excellent follow up services left me excited for the future of the relationship with New Vaal South.
By Desh Pillay Bechan