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Fiat 500

hpmctorquehpmctorque Posts: 4,209
edited May 12 in FIAT
The announcements that Sergio Marchionne and his executive team made on November 5th suggest that Fiat will introduce its 500 model in the U.S. market in the latter part of 2010, as a 2011 model. It will not be rebadged as a Chrysler, as was previously speculated. However, it will be be sold in Chrysler showrooms, by specially trained sales people, perhaps in a similar manner as Toyota sells the Scion brand.

The Fiat 500 will be a MINI fighter, but it will probably be priced lower than the MINI. I imagine that Fiat's ambitions go well beyond winning over MINI buyers, to expanding the market for this niche of car in the U.S. The 500 will also compete with the Scion iQ, Chevy Spark, Smart Car, and others.

Much has been written in the press about the 500. For example, there will be a performance oriented Abarth version, to battle the MINI Cooper S, and versions for those looking for high fuel economy. Based on the limited information you now have, and assuming you'd even consider a car this small, would you consider buying a Fiat 500? What if one engine option were a diesel version? Which car appeals to you more, the 500 or the MINI?
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Comments

  • nippononlynippononly SF Bay AreaPosts: 12,693
    but the Abarth model also interests me. Kinda opposite ends of the spectrum. Looks like I need two! :-)

    Elsewhere folks are saying they expect this model to have a Chrysler badge, so the word hasn't gotten out that it will be a Fiat in the States. I'm glad it won't be a Chrysler.

    As for the competition, the new Fiesta will be pretty small and should have a sport trim too, so there is additional competition you didn't mention. And what about the oft-promised arrival of the VW Polo?

    It's hard to choose between the Mini and the 500. As much as I love the look of the 500, the Mini is even better-looking IMO.

    2013 Civic SI, 2009 Outback Sport 5-spd (stick)

  • hpmctorquehpmctorque Posts: 4,209
    I think the Fiesta and the Polo are one class larger than the 500. Their back seats are more useable.
  • nippononlynippononly SF Bay AreaPosts: 12,693
    Yes, but I think most Americans tend to lump everything subcompact and smaller into one big group when they think of them. The Smart car is said to be in a class of one, for instance, but it really competes with other "premium" small cars like the Mini.

    The 500, given its shape, may find its strongest competition in the VW Beetle, although that model hasn't been selling well lately.

    The problem is "Fix It Again Tony" has such a memorable ring to it, people may stay away from the 500 because of fears of unreliability, unfair given that the rep of unreliable was earned by Fiats from 30 years ago.

    2013 Civic SI, 2009 Outback Sport 5-spd (stick)

  • hpmctorquehpmctorque Posts: 4,209
    Yeah, I agree with all the points you made.

    I was trying to think of the Ford model that is the most direct competitor to the Fiat 500, when earlier today I read that Ford has decided not to sell the Ka and the Ranger in the U.S. Ding, ding, that's it, the Ka. In fact, the 500 and the Ka share the same platform, but they look very different.

    Actually, the 500 may compete with the Beetle, but it won't be the current generation Beetle. I read that the next generation Beetle will be downsized, and possibly be offered with a 2 and/ or 3 cylinder engine, in addition to a 4. I don't recall where I read that. Therefore, I have no idea of how reliable the source was, but I read about the down-sizing in more than one place.

    I think the Fiat 500 is offered in a 2 cylinder version in some markets.
  • jpfjpf Posts: 496
    The Fiat 500 will more likely compete with the BMW Mini. The plant that builds the Mini in the U.K. is running at full production which suggests that there is a potential market available for an upscale subcompact. I think in the U.S.-Canadian market Fiat/Chrysler wants to move upscale anyway. Outside of the U.S.-Canadian market I can see this car being sold much further downscale. Since the car is going to be built in Mexico, this car will likely be sold in both North and South America.
  • hpmctorquehpmctorque Posts: 4,209
    Fiat will introduce a new 2 cylinder "MultiAir" engine for its smallest cars that'll produce up to 120 hp. It'll be displayed at the Geneva Auto Show. I wonder whether a version of this new engine will be available for the 500 model that's coming here.
  • ClairesClaires Chicago areaPosts: 979
    edited April 2011
    "The all-new 2012 Fiat 500 ushers in the return of the Fiat brand to North America." Edmunds says it promises character and personalization in a decent price category, but offers this caveat: "Italian cars are not known for their reliability, and neither are Chryslers."

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  • burdawgburdawg Posts: 1,524
    I thought my wife would be interested in a Fiat 500. She saw the tv commercial the other day and wanted to know if she would have to go to clown college before being allowed to drive one..............
  • I test drove a Fiat 500 Lounge a few days ago and these are my thoughts/comments:

    * It's just as cute in person as it is in photos [for those of you turned off by "cute" how about "unique looking"?]
    * Fit and finish looked really good, except that on one of the model cars in the showroom, the front right seat wouldn't go back.
    * I'm 5'10" and with the sunroof I had only about an inch or two headroom. The seat has an up/down adjustment, though, that I neglected to try out.
    * Back seat is best for children, but would be okay for 1 adult if they sat sideways. The dealer rep was squeezed in the back with the passenger seat moved forward (which, by the way, still had enough leg room for the front seat passenger)
    * Controls are all clear and in easy to reach.
    * Front viability is excellent, except that the A pillars (the front end corners) are rather thick and block some of your view when turning. Rear viability was okay.
    * Seating is rather high for a small car so that helps with the viability.
    * Feels very stable and handles very well, not at all how you'd expect for a car this size and price point. Drove on straight roads as well as long, curvy ones and the car felt solid and composed throughout.
    * Power was adequate. On flat roads and small hills acceleration was decent, but couldn't really call it sporty. I drove an automatic. Probably would feel more peppy with a standard transmission.
  • The Fiat and mini have some close similarities however, the Mini may have more pick up and horsepower as well as a wider stance, the Fiat 500 has more storage/cargo space and is rated higher on safety as well as on gas milage. It also is cheaper than the Mini and provides a quiet ride that is also fun to drive just about anywhere. If I had to choose it would definitely be the Fiat because of the overall ratings and set up of the cars themselves as well as the cost and technology it has over it's competitiors. Standard with options such as bluetooth, mp3/USB inputs, ESC, 5 cupholders, bose sound system and reactive head restraints and 7 airbags it is unsurpassed by any of its competition. most of these options are available in other models and brands but cost more to get.
  • websmackwebsmack Posts: 11
    edited October 2012
    Hello, I've had my 500 for about three weeks now. I've had a chance to use Ecodrive, the software that compiles and analyzes data from my driving. Categories are: Acceleration, Deceleration, Gear Shift, Speed. And it takes about one full week of driving then makes recommendations on how to get better performance in those four categories.

    Having driven manual transmissions, including 18-wheelers, I enjoy seeing the ratings Ecodrive provides. I'm doing well in all but one category, Acceleration, and wanted to share what I found about that.

    I consistently do poorly in this category and set about finding what the cause might be. Thru test drives that I consider to have driven 'perfectly' as I can in an area with no hills or embankments I still have an abyssmal one-star rating. That means I output more CO2 than a small country, lol. Whatever.

    I came across one tiny document that was stuck to the window of my new FIAT (yes all caps because there is no 'Mr. Fiat', FIAT is an acyronym) which shows a CO2 rating of two-stars, from the federal government. That explains a lot. It tells me, no matter how I drive that my FIAT is not capable of better than two-stars.

    So fellow Cinquecento (that's Italian for "500") owners two-stars means our lovable little car is not 'green'. No matter, my 500 is sweet, cute, cuddly..... and gets 39.8 mpg on I95 and 36.9 during my urban commute.
  • steverstever Viva Las CrucesPosts: 41,013
    A reporter is looking to talk with new owners of micro or subcompact cars (i.e. Chevy Spark, Scion iQ, Honda Fit, Mazda 2, Fiat 500, etc.) to learn how the experience has changed how they think about what they need in a car, and how they use their cars. If you fit this description, please respond to pr@edmunds.com with your preferred contact information by Friday, October 19, 2012.

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  • If you are planning on buying a Fiat for travelling across North America economically you had better think again!
    There are very few places you can take it to if anything needs to be repaired. I purchased mine in Burlington ,Ontario ( southern Ontario) and was told my wife and I could travel across the continent, but; when it needed to be repaired I was not able to get anyone that could fix it because I was not able to bring it into Johnston motors in Burlington. So if you do buy one of these cars ,do not go far from home with it!!!
    If you would like more info on the Fiat 500 you may contact me at "LikeASeagull@hotmail.com" and I will call you and tell you all about my experience with more indepth information.
    John Paul C. Jackson
  • robr2robr2 BostonPosts: 7,878
    What??

    I think the dealer was blowing smoke up your [non-permissible content removed]. You can take it to any Fiat dealer in North America. Heck, even a Chrysler/Dodge/Jeep/SRT/RAM dealer could probably work on it.

    I'd like to know more here on the forum. Doing it via e-mail doesn't do any good.

    Or you're trolling for e-mail addresses to spam.
  • ClairesClaires Chicago areaPosts: 979
    johnconan, that sounds strange -- can you post the whole story? You'll get a lot more feedback by posting the details here instead of taking it to email (by the way, not a good idea to post your contact info in a public forum).

    ClaireS, Host
    Automotive News & Views | Coupes & Convertibles

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  • websmackwebsmack Posts: 11
    edited October 2012
    johnconnan, repairs on a brand new car? Your comment is vague, please provide details. Thanks.
  • 2012 is their first year model and the 2013's are out too.

    I'd really like to start a tradition, have a rally to share our spirit for the Cinquecento.

    If you're interested please post a message. There is a fiat forum too, will try to post information there as it comes available.
  • Kirstie_HKirstie_H Posts: 10,896
    A reporter would like to speak to a new Fiat 500 owner. If you have purchased a Fiat 500 in the last 6 months and would like to share your story, please send your daytime contact info to pr@edmunds.com no later than Friday, Feb 8, 2013 at noon PT/3 p.m. ET.

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    Share your vehicle reviews

  • bwaabwaa Posts: 13
    I've seen them on the road, and they look about the same size. Are they?
  • kreuzerkreuzer Posts: 122
    I was wanting feedback for anyone who owns the 500 to see how you feel about carrying passengers in the back. What do you think about the safety that your car gives you and your passengers? I really like them, but just not sure about their size and safety, especially for the backseat passengers. Would like to hear from anyone who owns these cars.
    Thanks.
  • websmackwebsmack Posts: 11
    Only small children can fit in the back and pets. Adults can not sit back there, not even small adults. And if you do have children or pets they will tear up the interior of this car because it's cheaply made, scratches so easily that you have to be careful with umbrella's and key marks and shoe scuffs. It's 100% cheap plastic that's cute and stylish but not durable. I've owned mine since Sept 2012 and I have to work very hard to keep it looking good, inside and out, that's just one person - I can't imagine trying to keep it new looking with passengers, human or otherwise. And if you put enough weight in it that will challenge the underpowered 101 hp engine even more.
  • websmackwebsmack Posts: 11
    edited May 2013
    There are lots of differences good and bad, check out the comparison at Car & Driver http://www.caranddriver.com/comparisons/2012-fiat-500-sport-vs-2011-mini-cooper-- comparison-test I didn't even have to test drive the Mini Cooper because I fell in love with the FIAT 500 Sport the second I got in the driver seat. The honeymoon is over and I can see the faults of my FIAT, still I love love love it.
  • kreuzerkreuzer Posts: 122
    Thanks websmack for your reply.
  • andyinatlandyinatl Posts: 2
    I have had my 2012 Fiat 500 Pop since May of 2012. I have 11 year old and 6 year old and when the road trip comes up, they both want to ride in 500 rather than my wife's Volvo wagon. So far i've taken my family of 4 in the Fiat 500 on road trips from Atlanta to Myrtle Beach (6 hour drive) and Jupiter, FL (9 hour drive). Both times after we got to the destination, all of us were no more tired than after riding in Volvo wagon; the seats in Fiat 500 are super comfortable. Yes Volvo has more space inside, and is more comfortable due to having smoother ride, but Fiat is plenty comfortable. And it gets easy 39-40mpg going 75 mph. Not ONCE have my kids complained from back seat about lack of space, and looking over there, i could see plenty of legroom left for them.

    As disclosure, i'm 6 feet, 185 pounds, my wife is 5'5" 135 pounds, and 2 kids average for their age.

    Powerwise, the engine is not very powerful, but if you get manual transmission, it's really not too bad. It's 0-60 acceleration (whaterver that proves) is better than Toyota Prius, yet you don't hear many people complaining that Prius can't get out of its own way.
  • kreuzerkreuzer Posts: 122
    Thanks for your opinion andyinatl, appreciate your feedback!
  • ks55ks55 Posts: 8
    The problem is "Fix It Again Tony" has such a memorable ring to it, people may stay away from the 500 because of fears of unreliability, unfair given that the rep of unreliable was earned by Fiats from 30 years ago.

    Anyone who bases there opinion on something from 30 yrs. ago is an idiot. Have not read or heard of any reliability problems ....and believe me I have been looking as I am considering one of these. ( an :shades: ABARTH)
  • hpmctorquehpmctorque Posts: 4,209
    edited August 2013
    I've driven my 2013 500 4,000 miles, and I'm very pleased with the way it drives and rides. It's fun, well equipped, very maneuverable, gets excellent fuel economy and has a 1/3 longer warranty than most competing models in its class. It also cruises surprisingly well on the highway, and it feels solid.

    No problems to date.

    Minor quibble: The sun visors are too small, but that can probably be addressed with extenders
  • sandman_6472sandman_6472 Coral Springs, FLPosts: 2,684
    The only issue I had when driving across Alligator Alley was when the rains came, the thing started to hydroplane at 70 so I immediately let off the gas and things calmed down a bit. Still, there was that brief moment there where it skidded a tiny bit which left me somewhat scared...have never had the same thing happen with my Civic, which is just a more planted vehicle to drive hands down. For this reason alone, I would never buy or drive a Fiat but at work, I usually have some choice on what I get to drive except when the boss hands us keys...most times the vehicles are lined up and we just walk over and pick one. I usually glance real quick at the selection and go towards one but there are a couple of others who tend to move a bit faster than I so I have to change my preference pretty quick sometimes after they've chosen their rides. I've only had a few bad vehicles, especially the Dodge dart without cruise...we were going to Orlando and this puppy didn't have it which wasn't good. On the shorter Lauderdale to Miami or Miami to West Palm runs, having no cruise isn't a big deal but on the longer ones, I need cruise due to my spinal issues. I'm in hog heaven if I can snag a power seated vehicle and am off the charts when I get one with SAT radio but that doesn't happen often!

    The Sandman :) :sick: :shades:

    2014 Hyundai Tuscon SE/2005 Mazda 3s/2008 Hyundai Accent GLS/2009 Nissan Versa SL hatch

  • websmackwebsmack Posts: 11
    edited August 2013
    Hey, Sept 18 is my one anniversary. Today I ran a 330 mile roundtrip along I-85 and averaged 41.9 hwy. That's awesome because my February roundtrip (2000 miles and lots of stops) only averaged 39, but different terrain and a lot of rain too. You know, I bought Mopar oil filters and found a local shop that charges me $36 and includes a wash lol. Compare that with the FIAT dealership 120 miles -Rountrip- and they will not do the service in under 3 hours, soooooooo.... won't be going back. I'm in the groove of changing oil and rotating tires every 4000. I had the first alignment too at 14K, it was $200 -a ripoff- but it's done and I'll find someone else for the next alignment. I switched from nitrogen to air, PSI as recommended old pressure. All of that has gotten me 41.9 :) The car is holding up well, gets a weekly express wash and hand wax monthly with Turtle Wax. Oh by the way, TomTom Blue&Me is having an issue locating a signal, takes a long time, though I update it weekly with GPSFIX. Today I got halfway to Charlotte and TomTom decided he didn't want to do his job *sigh*. Ahhh, this update is boring, no? lol well that's a good thing :) Hope ya'll enjoy your FIAT adventures as much as I am!
  • hpmctorquehpmctorque Posts: 4,209
    A you may know, cruise control is standard on the base Pop model, as are other nice features, such as leather wrapped steering wheel.
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