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Stories from the Sales Frontlines

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  • tyguytyguy ColoradoPosts: 804
    edited December 2012
    Part 1:

    Got it, graphicguy. You’re looking at the more basic versions, similar to the ones I rented through Enterprise. Aside from the manual tranny, the version I drove should be pretty close to what you’d be looking at purchasing/leasing.

    On my first FIAT 500 rental experience, Enterprise gave me a number of options to choose from, including a Charger, a pickup truck, an SUV, and some other large cars. They had a red 500 on the lot, and simply put, I wanted a unique experience. I knew all my driving would be around town and I’m a small-car fan for such driving, the 500 was new to the market, and I just couldn’t resist. The Enterprise associate couldn’t believe I picked the 500 and thought it was too small for America.

    Yes, it’s small. But it doesn’t feel nearly so small while sitting inside. It’s when comparing the 500 against other cars that you realize what a diminutive little car the thing really is. Sitting in it, though, by yourself or with another person, you’ll find plenty of legroom upfront, and the cargo has enough room for typical grocery runs and such. With the rear seats folded down the cargo space is quite large. For test purposes I took my wife and daughter to hockey practice, and the three of us fit in just fine with a full hockey gear bag in the cargo. Sure, the sticks had to run lengthwise up the center, but that’s the case for most vehicles. We also went on a double-date with some friends, and while it was cramped, no one required emergency extraction to get out. That said, the car isn’t built for McDonald’s fed 300 pounders sitting side-by-side. My wife and I are tall and trim. The headroom and legroom are what surprised people most in a positive way.

    The materials are cheap. No nice way to put it. The car may say FIAT on the badge, but the labels in various location show Chrysler Mexico, so don’t expect luxury level materials. The plastics are hard and panels tend squeak and rattle, especially on rough surfaces. The seats are very, very basic with little support. Between the three rentals, I drove a couple thousand miles and found them acceptable.

    The instruments controls take a little adjusting. With the limited dash space available, the instruments are cleverly packaged, which at first threw me off, but in time they became second nature. The radio is economy class at best. Don’t try fitting your 10,000 oz soda in the cup holders.

    Road and wind noise are prominent but not overwhelming. I’m sure strong cross winds would make the drive more interesting given the low weight, narrow wheel base, and tall profile, but I never tested that theory in reality.

    (to be continued)
  • tyguytyguy ColoradoPosts: 804
    Part 2 (of 2)

    The 500 suspension can be fun in a small-car sense, but becomes rattled over uneven pavement. With such a short wheel base and limited wheel travel, it’ll skip and hop a bit over really rough patches, and in hard cornering the relatively tall structure will lean. It actually adds to the character. It’s a small, lightweight car, and you’re going to feel the road.

    The engine gets worked, but it loves to rev. While no speed demon, you’ll have no problem keeping up with traffic and maneuvering on the highway provided you’re not afraid to push the revs. Gas mileage averaged in the low thirties with mixed driving, about the same as my larger Impreza with AWD. The FIAT engine works hard, especially on the freeway, so amazing cruising MPG is not going to happen.

    The 500 requires the right attitude. Driver100 would hate it as self-proclaimed bigger car guy. I liked it enough to request two more times when I saw them on the rental lots. Co-workers scoffed when they first saw me in it, but after a ride they came away impressed with the space available and fun nature of the car. From my perspective the 500 embodies the philosophy that given the right situation, slow cars are more fun to drive fast than fast cars slow.

    Where the 500 really shines is driving around town, fitting into tight parking spaces, wearing a smile while you drive something different than mainstream America, practicality in driving something that meets your needs without going overboard like in an SUV, and feeling like a kid again. That just hit me. I really did feel more youthful in the thing. Like when I started driving in my teenage years, actually looking forward to errands so I could be out on the road.

    Again, attitude is everything. It’s not the right car for the vast majority of Americans who think a Camry is the ultimate transportation vehicle, or feel they need a Chevy Tahoe in case one day they buy a boat and until then they’ll polish their 20” chromed wheels. While there’s plenty to criticize about the 500, I found the criticisms drowned out by all the fun I was having.
  • nyccarguynyccarguy Stamford, CTPosts: 7,460
    Just a few quickies of why big, national chains STINK (from the guy who operates a small business that competes with Home Depot):

    Cheesecake Factory: As far as chains go, I really do like their food. Their big salads (while not all that healthy) fill me up & their burgers are delicious. What I can't stand is how everything there is a procedure and how they are so fake nice (like when they screw up, there is no need to send 3 different managers over to apologize). My Dad LOVES their salads. He goes there at least once a week and gets dinner for himself, lunch for him & I the next day, & lunch for himself the day after. My Dad is also impossible to shop for. So after talking to my Mom, we decided that the best Hanukah gift to get him (from "the kids") was a gift certificate to the Cheesecake Factory. So Saturday after work, I call up & order lunch for my wife and I. I go to pick up & buy the gift certificate. Since he LOVES the salads, I thought it would be an excellent idea to put the gift card in one of their "to go" salad containers. I asked the cashier for an extra, empty container for the gift card & pointed to the one in the bag that my salad was in. She brings me one of the black "leftover" containers.

    Now having just spent $30 on food, plus another $75 gift card, she tells me they can't give out those salad containers unless there is food in them. I think to myself: "Really? Are you F'ING kidding me?" I tell her that my Dad LOVES the salad and he would really appreciate getting the gift card in the salad container. She tells me she has to check with the manager and she'll be right back. In the end, I got what I wanted, but PUUUULEASE!

    2001 Honda Prelude Type SH/ 2011 BMW 328xi / 2011 Honda Pilot EX-L w/ Navigation

  • abacomikeabacomike South FloridaPosts: 3,499
    Mike....I saw some pics of the 2015 E350 (out in 2014). Wish I could remember where, as I'd post them here for you to see.

    I liked the styling direction, both in and out. But, until you see it in the flesh......


    This posting, graphicguy, did nothing for me except cringe in anticipation. Wish you could remember where you saw the pictures.

    I know the front end lighting style is being refreshed and updated for 2014 and will probably be carried through to the makeover in 2015. If there is going to be a change in the technology in 2015, Mercedes usually introduces it the year before like they did in 2009.

    If it's as good as I hear it will be, I'll probably order one to my specifications in June or July of 2014 and the dealership will order the options in three different exterior colors like they did last year for me. I expect some new colors.

    2014 Mercedes Benz CLS 550 - best car ever! 2nd best car ever, my 1967 Corvette Stingray Coupe with 435 hp.

  • driver100driver100 Burlington, ON 7 mo/Tampa FL 5 moPosts: 11,760
    Driver100 would hate it as self-proclaimed bigger car guy.

    I really liked reading your review....it was done just like a professional and it was easy to follow with all the important points made.

    I don't know if I am a big car fan. I think an A4 BMW 3 Series, C-Class is fine for me. I do like the larger car for a big trip.

    My friend who owns the Maserati, but has to park it for the winter, loves his Fiat 500. I sat in it, and it has large windows and lots of room. I think the Fiat has taught him something....he loves driving it and he doesn't have to worry about it all the time.

    I just read a great article that says, no matter what you obtain in life, you will take it for granted after awhile. Marriage too, the limit is 2 years for the roamance and passion feeling. It will come back once the kids are gone, to some degree. Other things become more important, companionship, family, activities you do together. But, the red hot romance, won't stay at the level it was at in the beginning.

    To keep interest you have to do surprises, do something different sometimes. I think this is one reasdon people are compulsive car buyers. They need a change to maintain the thrill of owning a car.

    I am really wondering what my friend is going to do with the Maserati when the Spring comes.

    2012 535ix 2013 Audi A4 2013 Passat

  • driver100driver100 Burlington, ON 7 mo/Tampa FL 5 moPosts: 11,760
    . She tells me she has to check with the manager

    I am with you. The cashier should be able to make a simple decision to give you a container. That is business paralysis. The manager has to spend time making a stupid decision like that, it cost more in his time than the container is worth.

    Reminds me, I got a reply from the airline about our dog. Briefly, they said we could be removed from the plane because our dog's carry case did not have a zipper that went all around...has a button snap instead. It meets all qualifications. The captain let us go this time but we were warned to get a proper carry case next time.

    The reply says they apologize, and they will train their staff to know the rules in the future. I thought they would give poor Gigi a free ride on the next flight. We were upset at how we were treated, and Gigi was embarassed at the scene they made on the plane.........jerks!

    2012 535ix 2013 Audi A4 2013 Passat

  • oldfarmer50oldfarmer50 Posts: 6,273
    edited December 2012
    "...unless there is food in them..."

    I think it might be an inventory control thing.

    Back in college I worked at a sub shop where we had to count everything in the store nightly. All the soda cups, cans if meat and even the number of submarine rolls. I think the theory is that if someone is stealing/giving away food it's easier to hide than the container you put it in.

    We even had to account for stuff that fell on the floor and was thrown away.

    2009 PT Cruiser, 2008 Eclipse, 1995 Mark VIII, 1988 GMC Van

  • tyguytyguy ColoradoPosts: 804
    Sorry Driver, I must have confused a comment made as one of yours. I thought I remembered you critiquing the Fiesta for being too small, and the 500 is even smaller than that model. It's all relative I suppose. An Avalon is large compared to your A4, but the same A4 is a monster compared to the 500. I tried a larger sedan on for size for a number of years, but in my heart I just like smaller cars.

    Good points about routine and familiarity leading to compulsive buying. The need for the thrill of newness impacts many facets of people's lives.
  • driver100driver100 Burlington, ON 7 mo/Tampa FL 5 moPosts: 11,760
    . I thought I remembered you critiquing the Fiesta for being too small,

    No need to apologize, you were right in a way. I did say a small car (I forget which one, I think Focus) was an entry level car. Then, I was corrected that a Fiesta was an entry level car. I said I thought they were a roller skate with some metal on them. Then I got hissed and booed by some, support from others.

    I was just being funny, but I do feel safer with some metal around me. I don't think the difference between a full size car, like the 535 will make that much difference than a 335 in an accident. But, I do like a layer of metal around me, and the more the better, so you probably remembered correctly.

    I am not putting down small cars....my friends Fiat is fine for driving in, just for me, my preference is I feel better about having a little more metal around me. And, I know, some small cars could be engineered to hold up better in an accident than some larger cars. But, when it comes to weight and size, larger cars do fare better in accidents overall.

    2012 535ix 2013 Audi A4 2013 Passat

  • abacomikeabacomike South FloridaPosts: 3,499
    Mike....found it. Here you go.....

    Thanks - that's the 2014, not the 2015. I knew about the front lights, but notice they removed the Mercedes Star hood ornament and but the star in the front grille, just like the C, M, CL, CLS, S, SC. I was hoping they would keep the ornament - it just doesn't look like a Mercedes without that Mercedes Star ornament.

    I knew they were going to LED's next year, but the major overhaul of the E Class takes place in 2015. Next year is just a minor refresh of the front end.

    I'm going to wait until I see the 2015 before making a decision about getting a new one at that time.

    Thanks again!

    2014 Mercedes Benz CLS 550 - best car ever! 2nd best car ever, my 1967 Corvette Stingray Coupe with 435 hp.

  • graphicguygraphicguy SW OhioPosts: 7,137
    edited December 2012
    tjc.....a bit convoluted in shifting around cars, but my son now has the Fiesta. He likes it. Good MPG. It's a little slow (so he says), and the auto trans is a little "hinky" (Ford is readying a software patch to work that out). But, overall it's a very good small car.

    Farmer....the Accord to GF's relative did go south. Actually, I pulled the plug on it, in no small measure because of the pitfalls my good friends at Edmunds brought to the forefront regarding doing deals with relatives (or, in this case, relatives of a significant other). I've been driving it. It's a good car.....once you consider it's mileage.

    Mike.....you're welcome.....wasn't sure if the '14 E was the redesign or not. It looks substantially changed, however.

    ty....thanks for the mini-review. Frankly, the 500 is sounding like something I probably wouldn't be interested in, given your thoughts.

    Supposedly, the Accord is sold (again). Haven't seen any money yet ($2,200 offer accepted, though). And, the person buying is one of those "friend of a friend of a friend" deals. But, he's supposed to bring a money order this weekend for the car. We'll see.

    May just stick to the cars we already have. Figuring mileage, the '13 S4 has 4K miles (bought in June). The '11 335i has 19K miles. So, it's not like we're racking up the miles on either car, making a 3rd car more of a want than a need.
  • abacomikeabacomike South FloridaPosts: 3,499
    edited December 2012
    Mike.....you're welcome.....wasn't sure if the '14 E was the redesign or not. It looks substantially changed, however.

    Not from what my dealer told me. The 2015 is a total redesign whereby the 2014 is a quick make-over for front lights and Star placement in the grille and rear lower panels. My guess is that the make-over front end (minus the Mercedes Benz Star Ornament on the hood) with a large star in the front grille is a sneak-peak at what the total redesign will be in 2015. The sides and roof reveal will be identical to the 2010-2013, but will change in 2015. I also believe they are adding the Stop/Go feature to the E Class Sedans and Coupes for next year.

    Now this is according to my dealer. Mercedes usually has total redesigns to its E Class Sedans every 5 to 6 years. The 2014 will be the 5th year of the body style.

    It is quite possible that they will stay with the 2014 refresh for 2015 and introduce a redesign in 2016. In that case, I would keep my car until the redesign. You lose too much value in your car if you own it if you purchase a car toward the end of its current body style since the redesign lowers the value of previous designs.

    I am in no hurry to purchase a new car at this point. If your assumption is correct and my dealer is wrong, and the 2014 is a major redesign (which is improbably), I might consider it - but highly unlikely that the 2014 is a major redesign.

    the closer we get to April or May, the better look we will get at the 2014 and then decide.

    Thanks again for the link!

    2014 Mercedes Benz CLS 550 - best car ever! 2nd best car ever, my 1967 Corvette Stingray Coupe with 435 hp.

  • verdugoverdugo Posts: 1,991
    edited December 2012
    You are saying the 2013 is a refresh to which I agree but it's a refresh of the ALL NEW 2012 Civic. Refreshes are typically 2-3 years down the line for Honda - not 1.

    Agree 100%. Also agree with the use of the word "refresh".
    Seems it can mean different things depending on how it is used.


    Welcome to Arguing logic 101 by driver. My advice is to just move on. You're not going to win. He'll disagree with you, while agreeing with you, just to say that you're both right, but that he's more right.

    :P
  • verdugoverdugo Posts: 1,991
    RB...if you test drive a 500, I'd love to hear your impressions.

    I had one for 3 weeks as a loaner. It was REALLY fun to drive. My wife loved it and wants one. It was a rental, so it was the very, very base model. Even with that little engine, it had plenty of power.

    Front seat room was fine, couldn't tell it was a tiny car.

    Back seat room? Only babies. Trunk space? You know how some cars use the number of set of clubs as a proxy for trunk size? For the 500, it'd be golf balls. ;)
  • verdugoverdugo Posts: 1,991
    First - pull out that book in the glove box and read it.

    Best answer we've had in the forum for a while.

    As rob said, they are pretty cheap. I just got a 8GB one from amazon.com for $8 or so.
  • verdugoverdugo Posts: 1,991
    The materials are cheap. No nice way to put it. The car may say FIAT on the badge, but the labels in various location show Chrysler Mexico, so don’t expect luxury level materials

    I disagree with that. The materials are what corporate decides to put. Rent a 500 in Europe and it'll be the same. It has nothing to do with it being built in Mexico.

    Are you going to say the same thing when Audi starts buidling cars in Mexico?
  • driver100driver100 Burlington, ON 7 mo/Tampa FL 5 moPosts: 11,760
    edited December 2012
    Welcome to Arguing logic 101 by driver. My advice is to just move on. You're not going to win. He'll disagree with you, while agreeing with you, just to say that you're both right, but that he's more right.

    You might have a point there verdigo, but then again if you look at it from a different angle you could come up with a completely different viewpoint. It is hard to say. Who really knows? Sometimes you could be right, but, at other times maybe not. It depends on the current temperature and possibly the phases of the moon.

    I notice one thing....I may not make much sense but you seem to read all of my posts........at least I am not "boring". :P

    2012 535ix 2013 Audi A4 2013 Passat

  • driver100driver100 Burlington, ON 7 mo/Tampa FL 5 moPosts: 11,760
    As rob said, they are pretty cheap. I just got a 8GB one from amazon.com for $8 or so.

    Ha ha....I got one at Best Buy that has 16GB for $10.

    First - pull out that book in the glove box and read it.
    Best answer we've had in the forum for a while.


    And you probably pull over and ask people for directions too!

    2012 535ix 2013 Audi A4 2013 Passat

  • driver100driver100 Burlington, ON 7 mo/Tampa FL 5 moPosts: 11,760
    The materials are what corporate decides to put. Rent a 500 in Europe and it'll be the same. It has nothing to do with it being built in Mexico.

    Are you going to say the same thing when Audi starts buidling cars in Mexico?


    Maybe he will and then again, possibly he will not. He may find a Mexican built Fiat could be quite different from an Italian Fiat if you consider a German made Jetta/Golf compared to a Mexican built Jetta. Then again, Audi may decide to keep the content the same, in which case there wouldn't be a difference. We won't really know until we see what Audi opts for and is looking for. You could be right, but, then again, you could be wrong.

    2012 535ix 2013 Audi A4 2013 Passat

  • robr2robr2 BostonPosts: 7,761
    if you consider a German made Jetta/Golf compared to a Mexican built Jetta.

    FYI - no such thing as a German made Jetta - Mexico, China or India only.
  • tyguytyguy ColoradoPosts: 804
    Well, it just happens that I've driven both European and US 500s. There is a difference. The Euro version is pretty tight, but the three US versions had rattles and squeeks galore. Did I ever mention the dirty hand prints all over my Mexican built tan Dodge Journey interior? At 80,000 miles I was still finding them lurking in recesses I typically didn't access.

    Fundamentally I agree with the logic, though, but it doesn't change the fact that a Mexican built Chrysler FIAT features cheap materials.
  • tyguytyguy ColoradoPosts: 804
    My Jetta wagon was made in Germany, but that was a MKIV.
  • jipsterjipster Posts: 5,345
    First - pull out that book in the glove box and read it.
    Best answer we've had in the forum for a while.

    And you probably pull over and ask people for directions too!


    While I look forward to, and enjoy, reading the owners manual to new vehicles I've bought... reading manuals for computers, cameras, partical accelerators, is something I try to avoid. :sick:

    Cold weather hampering mpg a bit in Civic. Combined mpg has been around 39-41mpg. But, I have been driving a bit faster as well.

    If I decide to buy car at end of lease, is that something Honda will finance at a special rate?

    Also, what ever happened to snake, jmonroe, and richard?

    Saw this sign on expressway today, "Keep driving safe. 42 days since last fatal accident." Uhh, where's the nearest exit... cause I'm wanting off this thing.
  • driver100driver100 Burlington, ON 7 mo/Tampa FL 5 moPosts: 11,760
    FYI - no such thing as a German made Jetta - Mexico, China or India only.

    Using driver logic, yes there is....only it is called a Bora or a Sagitar

    2012 VW Bora;
    image

    May not be exactly the same car, but it is a German made Jetta depending on how you define Jetta????????

    2012 535ix 2013 Audi A4 2013 Passat

  • driver100driver100 Burlington, ON 7 mo/Tampa FL 5 moPosts: 11,760
    Also, what ever happened to snake, jmonroe, and richard?

    I was wondering the same............

    Snake is probably busy getting ready for income tax season
    Monroe probably has an engineering project to work on, or is waxing his car
    Richard - he probably accidentally pulled a few wires out of his computer and can't get it running again...........

    2012 535ix 2013 Audi A4 2013 Passat

  • robr2robr2 BostonPosts: 7,761
    edited December 2012
    May not be exactly the same car, but it is a German made Jetta depending on how you define Jetta????????

    AFAIK, the Jetta you show - the MK V - was never made in Germany. Mexico, China, India, South Africa, India, Russia and Algeria were/are the assembly locations.

    Further you are comparing the new Jetta (A6) and the old Jetta (MK V). In reality, they are two different cars - they aren't the same chassis.

    If name is the important thing to you, let's compare the:

    US Fusion:

    image

    and the Euro Fusion:

    image
  • stickguystickguy Posts: 14,287
    Richard is probably swamped getting the mansion ready for the holiday home tour show.

    2013 Acura RDX (wife's), 2007 Volvo S40 (when daughter lets me see it), 2000 Acura TL (formerly son's, now mine again), and new Jetta SE (son's first new car on his own dime!)

  • driver100driver100 Burlington, ON 7 mo/Tampa FL 5 moPosts: 11,760
    Further you are comparing the new Jetta (A6) and the old Jetta (MK V). In reality, they are two different cars - they aren't the same chassis.

    If name is the important thing to you, let's compare the:


    I say, a rose is a rose is a rose.......a rose by any other name.

    if you consider a German made Jetta/Golf compared to a Mexican built Jetta.

    FYI - no such thing as a German made Jetta - Mexico, China or India only.

    It is my understanding, and correct me if I am wrong, (and I am sure you will), but before being produced in Mexico, the Jetta was made in Germany for the North American market.

    I don't know about A6s and MK Vs, there's a lot more going on in my life than keeping track of what names VW puts on their cars.
    btw, they choose names that pertain to winds, Jetta, Bora, Passat are all winds.....seems to be some of that going on around here these days.

    2012 535ix 2013 Audi A4 2013 Passat

  • driver100driver100 Burlington, ON 7 mo/Tampa FL 5 moPosts: 11,760
    Richard is probably swamped getting the mansion ready for the holiday home tour show

    lol...............but, for 6 weeks though!

    2012 535ix 2013 Audi A4 2013 Passat

This discussion has been closed.