Rage Against Suburban Zombie-ism
Wednesday, July 31, 2013

If you can't afford a Mini...

don't expect the same performance with a Fiat 500.  :(

During a recent trip to LA, I clamoured at the opportunity to rent a Fiat...for basically the same price as a Corolla!  ;)  My heart's desire was really a Mini Convertible, but at $110+/day, my wallet's reality overrode my emotions.

(After assessing the driving/parking conditions, I knew that I wanted a smaller car.  And apparently, the Prius - I wanted to try 'green' on for size/surroundings - is 4" longer than the Corolla!  How knew?)

When renting cars, if I have the option, I like to rent vehicles that I'd consider buying.  That way, not only am I test driving, but potentially saving money by making a more informed decision!  Prior to purchasing my current vehicle, I did consider the Fiat mainly due to the cute, compact exterior, and price-point.  However, being a constant skeptic and the Fiat being a generally new car to the market, I didn't like the unknowns, re:  reliability, durability, whether or not it would retain its value, etc.  So considering its price tag, ~$15 000+taxes (that will kill alone in ON), I knew that I could find a pre-owned vehicle with better value.

After a coupla days of driving around the city, here is my "girly" review of the Fiat 500 Pop (owned by Chrysler):

-  small, great for parking in metropolitan areas!
-  due to size, it has a tight turning radius, "turns on a dime"
-  cute exterior.  I had one in Ye Ye Green and it's reminiscent of a '70s fridge, sorta cementy-pastel green colour!  Probably the colour that I'd buy it in.
-  relatively inexpensive car when purchasing new

-  considering its size, not fuel efficient - which was surprising to me!
-  at 101hp, it's only ideal for city driving.  You'll really feel its lack of power if you're driving uphill or merging on the highway.  You won't die, but you'll really hafta gas it to keep up with traffic!
-  I felt every pothole and bump in the road.  Not sure if this is due to the small wheel well, shocks, or other.
-  switch for automatic windows was on the dashboard, below the radio.  Since the doors are pretty thin, there probably wasn't enough room to fit the mechanism, so they resorted to the dashboard.  Never really got used to this positioning.

Overall, if you're just driving in the city and not really concerned with performance, the Fiat 500 Pop is fine.  (It'll probably be cheaper to service than the Mini, since it's owned by BMW, and according to my trusty mechanic, European cars cost 30% more to maintain than their Japanese counterparts.)  If you're into value and performance in the way of hp, steer away from the Fiat...

P.S.  I'm glad that I stuck to my original car purchase!  


posted by Stephania at 1:30 pm
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