Fiat vs. Mini - Alfa Romeo Bulletin Board & Forums

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Old 07-28-2011, 08:04 PM
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Fiat vs. Mini

Winding Road Magazine | Issue 72

They say how the 500 is superior in most of the catagories and is $3100 less expensive, and then pick the Mini. But, of course, you didn't have to read the article to know they were going to do that.

I've had people ask me why I bought the 500 instead of a Mini. I always say it's less expensive and it's new. They say they make new Minis. And I say, How can you tell?

E-zine also has a story on the 500C.
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Old 07-29-2011, 05:33 AM
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I think new Mini is the best small car design of the last 10 years (and even more), and the proof is that the first new Mini was delivered 10 years ago but seems a car designed just now. Moreover, they made it on a platform wich allow many variation.
While, new 500 has nothing new in its design, even if it's pleasant.
They just took old fiat 500 sketches, and adapted them to the current business and marketing needs.
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Last edited by fgsavoia; 07-29-2011 at 05:36 AM.
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Old 07-29-2011, 08:55 AM
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I haven't driven a 500, and I can't seem to read the article, but.. new Mini knocked my socks off with its impression of full-size sedan quality. This has been gone into before - the door "thunk" and feel/feedback of controls. Put simply, there was not a single indication that this car's design suffered from a sacrifice to any economic considerations. The fact that it drove like a comfortable go-kart didn't hurt either. I believe I read that BMW "lost $", however that's defined, on the earliest cars. Plus they've had time to refine out some of the bugs in series one, while cheapening, no doubt, some of the other features. I thought the only real new tech. that Mini had was the now discontinued/discredited CVT.

The Fiat I sat in at a car show felt... more economically produced - not that there is anything wrong with that, but.. full-size sedan quality? No. OTOH, multi-air seems pretty advanced and very clever. Time will tell if it holds together. In terms of cuteness - very important, in these hipster times - I think the 500 is Mini's match or even better.

I'd probably get a 500, whereas I probably wouldn't get a Mini.

I actually prefer a small car to be simple (and, yes, as economically produced) as possible. When I saw how tightly packed the Mini's essentials were under the hood, I balked. Everything seemed stationed a sheet-of-paper thickness away from an exterior panel or another component - almost like the engineers were trying to impress each other with just how densely everything could be packed in. It looked like a nightmare to work on. And.. enough first series Mini owners have complained about the windshield cracks, trans. issues and "software" glitches (all repaired, if I recall correctly) that I think Mini may have reached just a tad too far in its design spec. That may just be my retro-grouch heart talking, of course, but I usually listen.

The above is the impression I had from the Mini - great car, not practical enough in ownership for me. We will wait to hear how the 500 ends up impressing people - or not.
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Old 07-29-2011, 03:30 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by spokeless View Post
I haven't driven a 500, and I can't seem to read the article, but.. new Mini knocked my socks off with its impression of full-size sedan quality. This has been gone into before - the door "thunk" and feel/feedback of controls. Put simply, there was not a single indication that this car's design suffered from a sacrifice to any economic considerations. The fact that it drove like a comfortable go-kart didn't hurt either. I believe I read that BMW "lost $", however that's defined, on the earliest cars. Plus they've had time to refine out some of the bugs in series one, while cheapening, no doubt, some of the other features. I thought the only real new tech. that Mini had was the now discontinued/discredited CVT.

The Fiat I sat in at a car show felt... more economically produced - not that there is anything wrong with that, but.. full-size sedan quality? No. OTOH, multi-air seems pretty advanced and very clever. Time will tell if it holds together. In terms of cuteness - very important, in these hipster times - I think the 500 is Mini's match or even better.

I'd probably get a 500, whereas I probably wouldn't get a Mini.

I actually prefer a small car to be simple (and, yes, as economically produced) as possible. When I saw how tightly packed the Mini's essentials were under the hood, I balked. Everything seemed stationed a sheet-of-paper thickness away from an exterior panel or another component - almost like the engineers were trying to impress each other with just how densely everything could be packed in. It looked like a nightmare to work on. And.. enough first series Mini owners have complained about the windshield cracks, trans. issues and "software" glitches (all repaired, if I recall correctly) that I think Mini may have reached just a tad too far in its design spec. That may just be my retro-grouch heart talking, of course, but I usually listen.

The above is the impression I had from the Mini - great car, not practical enough in ownership for me. We will wait to hear how the 500 ends up impressing people - or not.
really nice thoughtful review. well done
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Old 07-29-2011, 07:03 PM
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I admit I have never driven a Mini, not a recent one anyway. And by now there is no point, since I bought the 500.
8400 miles on it now, and zero problems. It's fun to drive and solidly built. It's not a race car but can get out of it's own way just fine. No problems on the interstate, either. It has an alarm that beeps at 85 mph and I have heard it few times. The car feels much bigger than it is when you drive it on the highway. At highway speed it is well mannered, smooth, and not a bit darty, which you might expect in a short wheel base car. In town, though, it's like go kart. It turns on a dime and stops right freakin' now. You have to learn to be light on the brakes. It's very easy to park but I will say, it could use better visibility off the drivers outside shoulder.
The AC is bitter cold, arctic.
I would not have believed this even when I bought it but the back seat is pretty good. I would not want to ride in it for hours on end but around town, it's fine. It's not any more difficult to get in and out of than any other 2 door car.

Wants:
If I had my choice, 20 or 30 more HP would be super! (hello tuners, where is my chip?) The Abarth model at 170HP or so will cure that and more, but at a much higher price.
6 speeds in the manual trans.
Sunvisors that still work if you swing them to the side windows.
I want it to come up in the Sport mode and not have to switch to it after start up. That may be a menu selection but I only went through them once quickly and I didn't see it.
This... is America. More cupholders. Get over it, world. It's just how we roll.

There's probably more things I'd change and I know there are a lot more things I like that I did not mention. The short of it is: This is a fun car while being real transportation for the world we live in today. I get better than the EPA mileage rating at 40.5 mpg and I get that without 118 lbs of Nickel Metal Hydride batteries that will have to be replaced in 5 or 6 years at an eye watering price, I am sure.

The is my car, it was built for me, it has my name on the window sticker, and I like it... a lot.

Next up, a new Alfa... in only two more years. oh yeah.
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Last edited by AlfaVeloce; 07-29-2011 at 07:05 PM.
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Old 08-23-2011, 06:23 PM
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For me it'd be a simple decision. I see quite a few Minis driving about, but I almost never see a 500. In fact I've only seen one, and being bright yellow, it certainly was a head turner. So I'd get a 500 just to stand out.

Being cheaper doesn't hurt either, tbh.
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Last edited by Makoyouidiot; 08-24-2011 at 05:50 PM.
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Old 08-24-2011, 05:23 AM
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Is the Pope Catholic?

Granted the current Pope is German but is a BMW Mini an Italian Car? No it is not end of discussion.

My last word I promise: "Life is meant to be Driven" [Fiat 500 ad line] and the way to do it is in an Italian car no other way IMHO.

That has been my story since 1980 starting in a Fiat 131 coupe and I am sticking with it.

Oh sure I will ride in wife's 09 Bu and drive it once in awhile with her but it ain't Italian either.
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Last edited by Alfisto Steve; 08-24-2011 at 05:26 AM.
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