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Discussion Starter #1
Hey all!

I just took a test drive of a manual 500 (mine is an auto).

I've been driving manuals all my life, and I swore I'd never buy anything that tried to beat me at shifting. I got the A/T 500 because my mother wants to buy it from me later - and if everything goes well, I want the Abarth. So I had to get it.

Living in what may be the most gridlocked city in the world, the auto is a blessing. I can't believe how much more relaxed I arrive at work and at home. I guess I'm getting old, but I digress.

The thing is, after driving the manual, I think I'd have rather bought the auto anyway. It feels faster. I'm not sure it is, it's just that shifting on the manual feels slow and imprecise (kinda like my old Volvo C30). It's as if I was losing power during each shift. The auto is pretty fast and precise in comparison. I don't know about the 6th gear (whether is taller than 5th on the manual), but I can just assume having it can't hurt.

Opinions? Is this car really better with an auto?
 

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No, I test drove a 500c with the auto (all they had), and the manual just feels much quicker. It also feels much more fun to drive with the manual. This type of car/engine is why Europeans love their sticks.
 

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fjhuerta,

Interesting comments. There has been much, often heated, discussion about the auto vs. manual transmission. I've only ever driven the manual, and then only in Italy, but I expect it is the same here.

I've always driven manual trans cars, and always preferred them, but now I drive a subaru outback wagon, which we bought used, and it is an automatic. Dull too, I might add. But as you say, really easy in town. You're in Mexico, I think? Traffic here in Vancouver does not likely compare to MC, if that's where you are.

I would be interested in reading some comparisons from drivers who typically drive standard, but have spent some time with the 500 auto. A local dealer has about 40, perhaps 60, cars in stock, many are auto trans. cars, so people better like the auto if they are going to move cars.
 

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Hi

I don't know if I can help much.

Because it had been so long since I had driven an automatic transmission the last time I drove one I wasn't sure what to do at first.

I'm used to the old PRNDL settings on automatics from my first car, but the Scion that I had gotten as a loaner earlier this year had PRN3D 2 1, and I had no idea what the difference between 3, 2, or 1 was or which I should use for normal driving, and at first I didn't even realize that 3 and D were two separate settings - though then again I'm not really sure what I though driving in 3D meant either.

On the other had though, I really like the manual transmission on my Fiat. The upright seating and shifter location is very similar to my previous car (a Matrix) so those aren't really an issue for me. As for the mechanics of shifting, I've found the physical distance that I have to move the stick and gear ratios, etc to provide a very smooth ride for me, but I'm only about 5' 8 1/2" or so and I sit kind of with the seat pulled forward, so my posture may affect things abit.

In short I guess, I can't tell you much about how the manual on the Fiat compares to the automatic, but I do really like the manual that it has. In fact I consider the manual in this car probably my favorite of any of my previous cars, not that I considered any of them bad though.

Regards

Pat
 

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Manuals almost always feel faster because most people tend to naturally drive to higher revs with a manual, while automatics tend to shift very early, and have fewer gears to boot. The newer electronic controlled automatics tend to greatly lessen this difference by having use selectable driving modes and 6 gears. While in normal mode, your 500 shifts at relatively low RPMs and keeps the acceleration smooth, unless you really jam on the gas. Press the sport button though, and it will hold the shifts to much higher RPM and you will feel the shifts much like you do in a manual.

Overall, the standard can feel more fun occasionally, but if your like me, in stop and go, slow down and speed up traffic for an hour a day...it makes much more sense to get the auto.
 

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i test drove both. i found the manaul shifter very nice and like the light clutch pedal. i found the auto a bit sluggish feeling.

i also knew my mileage would be much better with the manual, and my 43+ mpg average confirms this.

id never go with an auto in a small car unless i spent most of my time in traffic tie ups, but even then im not sure.
 

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Both of my cars are stick. I had to have it with a stick shift. My 500 is for fun just as much as it is for commuting. If I had to spend 2 hours a day in stop and go traffic, I would have considered purchased something with a dual clutch transmission. Maybe a VW Jetta GLI.
 

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Geez, so many on this forum on a sunday night...

Good points, all. Thanks. Panther76: your mileage is enviable. Reports from others suggest it is the real thing.

I think that modern automatics are much different and better than the old 3-speed boxes we may have know in the past. I drove a recent Jetta with the auto 6-speed (non-DSG) and it was excellent.

My memory of the 500 std was that shifting efforts, both with clutch and gear lever, were very easy. I'll go standard for sure.
 

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I actually bought a black sport auto...ended up realizing my mistake a few weeks later and traded the car in for a white manual. I couldnt be happier with my decision...
 

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I have two 500's one is a stick and the other is an auto and the auto is faster. Both cars have 1200 miles on them and the auto in sport mode is fantastic it down shifts in the turns and hold the gear great driving in the hills. The 500 has the same auto trans that mini cooper has and it is good unit.
 

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I have two 500's one is a stick and the other is an auto and the auto is faster..

i watched a youtube video which i will try to find. 0-60 runs with n. american 500's. the best they did with the auto was 10.2 and the best stick run was 9.6. (and i didint think the guy driving was all that skilled with the stick).

so, id have to agree with Triumph.
 

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Discussion Starter #13
I have two 500's one is a stick and the other is an auto and the auto is faster. Both cars have 1200 miles on them and the auto in sport mode is fantastic it down shifts in the turns and hold the gear great driving in the hills. The 500 has the same auto trans that mini cooper has and it is good unit.
Yeah, an Aisin.

Most of my driving is stop-n-go. To give you an idea, out of my 14 kms commute, 4 or 5 kms (on a good day) are traffic-lights free. The rest of them are done on hilly sections or downtown (yeah, I live in Mexico City. A drivers' nightmare!). No wonder I get 10 kms / l.

I thought I'd miss the manual tranny. I was sure I would, but thankfully, I love the auto. First, because it makes so much more sense in the city (I'd assume driving on freeways and the like would change my mind fast). Second, because our cars aren't performance oriented (yet) so I don't feel as if I'm missing much. If it was an Abarth, I'd have never thought about an auto, for example.

For the record, the BEST manual I've ever driven was a Civic SI (even with its "notchy" third gear). It felt exactly like a video game machine - simply perfect. The worst I ever had was the Volvo, it was a sloppy mess. I'd rate the Fiat sort of in between, but I could never shift as fast as I could do it on my old Cooper S, or the SI.

I hope the Abarth (if I ever get it) has the feel of those cars...
 

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You gotta figure it's common sense that with such a small engine you need the manual to extract maximum enjoyment from it. But, then I drove a 500c auto last week, and I was impressed. It's still plenty of fun to drive, albeit a little less responsive, with less preciseness in dialling in your revs. But, if you're going to be doing plenty of stop and go traffic the auto will definitely maximize your fun ratio.

I'm sticking with the manual, as I plan to drive the things with visions of winning grand prix titles in my head.
 

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Second, because our cars aren't performance oriented (yet) so I don't feel as if I'm missing much. If it was an Abarth, I'd have never thought about an auto, for example.
QUOTE]

imo, in non performance oriented cars is where the stick makes most sense, in cars that dont have power to spare. ive always had more fun in smaller engine, less hp stick shift cars.

id agree, if i had to drive in mexico city there wouldnt be much fun to have with a stick.
 

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Ok, let's go you are not that far away Mulholland drive at Coldwater Canyon saturday morning 8AM. I Will bring my auto 500. Let's see if you can keep up with me in Canyons.
After thinking about it hitting the canyons would, no doubt, be pointless... given my cars setup... along with the fact that I am a (national) seasoned track veteran. (Dont mean to sound arrogant... but you had to know this first):eek:

It would probabally be best to focus on 0-60 straight line... for me to best prove my point:D
 

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After thinking about it hitting the canyons would, no doubt, be pointless... given my cars setup... along with the fact that I am a (national) seasoned track veteran. (Dont mean to sound arrogant... but you had to know this first):eek:

It would probabally be best to focus on 0-60 straight line... for me to best prove my point:D
I met you before and saw your 500 at Coffee and Cars I was in my Yellow F430 Scuderia F1. I will meet up with you in few weeks at Coffee and Cars and will test out the two 500’s 0-60. Sounds like you are a pro race driver I love drive fast I guess its in my blood this is Grandpa http://www.imcaoldtimers.com/wildbillmueller.html but I am a motion picture director.
 

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I met you before and saw your 500 at Coffee and Cars I was in my Yellow F430 Scuderia F1. I will meet up with you in few weeks at Coffee and Cars and will test out the two 500’s 0-60. Sounds like you are a pro race driver I love drive fast I guess its in my blood this is Grandpa http://www.imcaoldtimers.com/wildbillmueller.html but I am a motion picture director.
Sounds interesting. P.M. Me with a couple days notice. Do you have a HD camera? Or I can bring a GoPro to document the 0-60 result. I will scout out a secluded street we can meet @ close but far enough away;) that we can do a twilight run so we can drink coffee and discuss the result:D Sounds Fun!
 
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