The Saga of the first Fiat sold in the US since the 80's and the first new car I have ever bought:
Fiat 500 "Fiat Cinquecento" 1.4 Multiair, 5 speed (2,300 lbs). Behind it, my Kenworth T-600 (up to 80,000 lbs when loaded)
First, I looked at buying a LOT of other cars, mostly used: GTI, Rabbit, TDI VW's of any kind, BMW 3 series wagon, HHR SS Panel. Honda Civic SI and Fit. But the used market is very thin and expensive. The Fiat cost about the same new as any of these used with 50k + on the odo.
"Why the Hell would you buy a new model made by an Italian company known for unreliability, when your employer has contracts with 'Merican auto makers?"
Generally, it's a bad idea to buy a car that is just introduced. Kinks used to be worked out by unsuspecting guinea pig buyers. But today, Fiat is a huge international car company that does the standard barrage of pre-production testing. I'd been seeing 500's testing up and down 94 in Michigan for over a year before they were sold. Also, the 500 has been sold in other countries since 2007. Though the US engine is new, its tech is proven. Bonus, this engine is bigger than in the EU models and it's made 20 miles from me in Dundee, MI (so parts will be relatively local). Fiat now owns controlling stock in Chrysler, my bank loan says I bought a Chrysler 500. Dumbasses.
"So what's it like driving a death pod?"
This car is the second smallest you can buy in the US (behind the smart). But it feels big inside and has a high seating position. The HHR and and my Fiero induce much more claustrophobia. The Fiat has 7 air bags, a space cage, and the ability to get out of the way of about anything.
Ironically, driving it is a LOT like driving a Kenworth: you have to drive it close to its limits almost all the time. I love to shift, and the Fiat loves to be shifted, which is good because I'm shifting quickly and often to squirt the thing around. You have to do almost the exact same thing to get the semi up to speed and not piss everyone off in traffic.
What really sold me on the car was the interior. I've only put 400 miles on the thing and am about to take it to Chicago, so that post review will come later.
LeIgHtOn RhYmEs WiTh Seitan
Where's my Chicken Report?!
- Fiatcch: My Experience So Far with the New Fiat 500