(By Tom Lohnes) – With the outright failure that was the Nissan Murano CrossCabriolet and the more recent Range Rover Evoque convertible, it is safe to say convertible SUV’s aren’t exactly a hot segment. Well Fiat, who is sucking the soul out of their brand by discontinuing the tiny 500, the 124 Spider, or Fiata as I like to call it, and the quirky yet odd 500L hatchback. In an effort to pump some liveliness back into themselves, they’re making a convertible SUV.
With the 500X being the only model still sold in America, that will be our starting point. Its roots are shared with the Jeep Renegade along a spritely 1.3-liter turbocharged four cylinder, it would be a decent competitor if it had the interior to match its good-looking sheetmetal. Now, what will happen when you cut the roof off? Well, chances are you will have a less dynamically focused SUV even if it does have the obvious lack of a roof, which could be considered sporty. Although the 1.3 turbo is enough for the 500X right now, adding a few hundred pounds of roof mechanism won’t help. Also, the 500X cabrio is going to have 4 doors, which will help practicality, but lose some of the cool factor.
This is already a recipe for disaster. Whenever I see a Murano CrossCabriolet or Evoque Convertible cruising around, I think to myself “well, that’s cool, but what led that person to buy one of those?” That question will never be answered, along with another one, the reason why marketing departments think that we need convertible SUVs.