When I wandered onto the Fiat stand for the unveiling of the new 500X compact SUV, I didn’t expect anything ground breaking to happen. 

The 500X is the sister car to the new Jeep Renegade. It’s the right kind of car entering a market segment that’s booming. I simply figured that it had a good chance of doing pretty well.

But, as the press conference rolled on, it became apparent that, for Fiat, there is rather more to the 500X than might be obvious. Firstly, the presentation about the car’s claimed attributes was more extensive and more aggressively pitched than is usually normal for a motor show.

The 500X had “undergone five million kilometers of real-world testing” and would have “world class quality”. The car is all about “attention to detail” and will offer the kind of sophisticated 4x4 drivetrain rivals can’t match. The presentation went on in this vein for a while, before we were told that the 500X was also a “mature 500”.

At this point a very slick and well-filmed ad appeared on the big screen. It was the unlikely story of a stray Viagra tablet, which ricochets across an Italian village and ends up falling into the open fuel filler of a 500 hatch.