We always get pretty excited when a new long-term car shows up. This Fiat 500X was a very welcome addition, as it was immediately put into the summer road-trip rotation. Since it arrived a few weeks back, it has already been to "Up North" Michigan (what we call the northern part of the lower peninsula – don't ask) three times. There's an unboxing video above with the highlights, and below we'll explain in a little more detail which options we chose and why.

What we got

The collective brain trust here chose the top trim level, Trekking Plus. While we tend to try and avoid the fanciest model, it was cheaper to go with a Trekking Plus rather than option up a Lounge model to get everything we were really interested in. (It's confusing – check out the "Compare Packages" link on the 500X configurator to see what we mean.) The color is called Verde Toscana – that's Tuscan Green for us Americans, and we chose the brown leather instead of black.

The Trekking Plus has the 2.4-liter Tigershark four-cylinder and a nine-speed automatic transmission. (More on that soon.) It also has nearly everything you can put in one of these small crossovers, including Uconnect infotainment with navigation, a separate color screen between the gauges, blind-spot monitoring, rear parking sensors with cross-traffic detection, a rearview camera, selectable driving modes, remote start, and 18-inch wheels. We also happen to think the Trekking Plus has the most attractive exterior package among the 500X lineup. The trim names (Pop, Easy, Trekking, Lounge, Trekking Plus) could use some work, though – but hey, it's Italian.

What we skipped

We bucked the Michigan trend and went with front-wheel drive instead of all-wheel, saving us a theoretical $1,900. We'll put winter tires on it when the snow comes, which should be all we need to get through that six-month season of bleakness. There are some extra-cost paint options, all of which add $1,000, but we decided green looked best and had a price of $0. There are two packages available on the Trekking Plus – the imaginatively named Collection 1 and Collection 2 – but neither really appealed to us, so we skipped them. So you know what we're missing out on, Collection 1 is a big dual-pane sunroof and Beats audio, while Collection 2 is the same dual-pane sunroof packaged with auto high-beams, automatic wipers, lane departure with lane-keeping, and forward-collision braking. For whatever reason, you can't be extra-safe and listen to Beats audio in the same 500X Trekking Plus, but those options are available together on the Lounge. See? Confusing.

Why we got it

People love crossovers. Fiats are cute. And this is the first Fiat that we could see a lot of people going for, since it's not oddly proportioned like the 500 and 500L and it seems right-sized for most people. Also, we like the Jeep Renegade that shares this platform, but the Jeep is borderline too cute. This seemed like the grown-up choice.

We'll be spending a year with this 500X and reporting periodically on what we like, what we don't like, and what we end up using it for. If you have specific questions, leave them below and we'll try to answer them.

Related Video:

2016 Fiat 500X | On Location

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