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Discussion Starter #1
The wife is considering buying a FIAT 500 to drive to work instead of the big Acura.

My part is to do the research and come up with a car at a good price with low mileage. We have narrowed the search down to either a 500 Cattiva or a 500 Sport (possibly a turbo) We don't necessarily want a Pop. A Abarth is out of the price range. A 5 speed is my choice.

We rented one in Italy for a week and were impressed with the performance and mileage. It was very comfortable too.

I am wanting to know what your thoughts are on buying one of these models, reliability and over all impression to help us decide which way to go.
 

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I don't know much, except this. Do not confuse the US sold vehicles with the European market ones.

The Western Hemisphere built Fiats share only the basic shape and outline of the EU market cars. It may be a great car, but it is a different car.
 

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I can mainly comment on UK market cars...we test drove a 1.2 manual, as a possible replacement for my wife's 1.3 manual Ford KA. I really wanted to like this car, as the styling is very sharp, and full of detail. However, the driving experience was awful. Totally and utterly gutless. I also found that the over-your-shoulder view (for merging on highways, etc) was compromised by a significant blind spot.
Previously I had rented one in Dallas during a business trip. It was saddled with an auto box, and coupled with the aforementioned blindspots, made merging from the Dallas frontage roads onto the interstates a real challenge.
Definitely urge you to test drive (preferably one of those extended over-the-weekend type arrangements) before you consider buying.
Does US market get the TwinAir engine ?
 

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Discussion Starter #4
A different car? In what respects? I would only consider a Sport or Turbo to give me some performance in the hills or getting on the freeway's to merge in. As to the blind spots I didn't really have that much of an issue, as the worst vehicle I ever drove for blind spots was the Chevy HHr. It has to be a 5 speed that way I can run it out through the gears even though the wife wants an auto.
Yes, I think a test drive is in order. Thank you for the tips. I was more curious about the mechanics and quality issues.
 

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I rented one a few years ago and my observation was generally positive. I concur with the blind spot issue and the lack of power. It too was an automatic. However there were some redeeming characteristics. It felt well planted at 80 mph on the freeway, and you can practically back the thing into a bicycle spot because of the short dimensions. The trunk ends just behind the back seat. There are several owners within my local Italian car club and they enjoy the basic model. Overall, good city car, maybe the turbo version would be more helpful for highway merging. Is there a dealer near you? The closest one to me was in McKinney, about 30+ miles away and that was too far for me.

I think my next Fiat purchase will be the new 500X when it comes out at the end of this year. It looks large enough to hold my family of four, plus has a good design, from what I have seen.

Good luck and let us know what you decide.

Regards,

Jeff, Dallas, Texas
1994 Alfa Romeo 164 LS
1977 Fiat 124 spider
 

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I bought a Prima Edizione in 2011 and now have 25,000 trouble-free miles. I love it, my wife only likes it (spoiled by her Audi A4 Quattro). I rent a lot of econoboxes when traveling for business - Toyota, Nissan, Honda, Chevy, Mazda - and none of them compares to the FIAT. If you want a small car that drives like an old Chevy Biscayne buy a Toyota. Nissans and Mazdas are worse. Hondas are gutless buzz boxes. The FIAT has true character; quick reflexes, surprising refinement, and a huge fun factor. It is very quick when you learn how to drive with it rather than against it. It is a finesse car that really responds when driven smoothly. It sounds great and loves to rev, but is also very torquey. I usually shift at 3k but if you drop a gear to 4k it becomes hyper responsive. I have the Sport package (not turbo) and 5 speed. I drove an automatic and found it buzzy. Get the 5 speed. It is impossible to get less than 35 mpg while having a ball squirting around town. 85 mph highway cruise is no problem, the cruise holds the speed exactly even up hills where you start passing all the Japanese cars geared for the EPA test not the road.
 

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Like the Fiat 500

My wife and I bought a 2013 Pop almost two years ago for her 72mi. daily commute. Just turned 30,000 mi. Has been a great little car. She gets about 38mpg.Includes 50mi of canyon driving in 3rd over 3k rev for daily drive Fun factor is way up there The blind spot was an issue that resulted in my wife having a, thankfully, minor collision during first month of ownership. The convex mirror on outer edge of rearview takes some getting used to. The only change from standard was installation of cold air intake. Gives it nice little growl. Not a rocket but with standard shift is plenty spunky if your not afraid to rev. and the 1.4 loves it Certainly any small economy car has its limitations . There was and is nothing else in that class that interested us Really pleased so far Did I mention FUN
 

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You might want to wait on the 500X to test drive it. I have driven 500S, 500C A/T (had it for a week), Abarth (both stock and modifed), and 500L 5-speed and A/T.

We had a Euro 500 5-sp in IT for 15 days and drove it hard and fast on autostrada up to and beyond 130 km 80+ mph with no problems.

Drive them all and make your decison.
 

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We just bought a Abarth with automatic trans. Needed something to commute in as the GTV6 was getting too many miles and things were beginning to break on the interior. I have only been driving it for a couple of weeks, but it is a blast to drive. The build quality is quite good, no squeaks or rattles and gas mileage is improving with each tank fill up. If the Abarth is out of your budget target, definitely look at the Turbo next.
 
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