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To me you can't compare the two. They are just way to different performance wise. I also think 30K for an Abarth is a bit high. At 30K I don't think the Abarth will sell well. Thanks though for the write up!
 

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You wrote: 'The Mini clobbers the Fiat with much better quality materials and far better seats. The Fiat seats have been described as upholstered by Nerf, and I can’t do better than that."... I am not sure which car you were test driving, but do my seats look like Nerf seats? My seats are impeccably stitched, the leather is top notch and they are heated too.

 

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I almost traded in my 500 for a Cooper S and the interior on the 500 is way more comfortable and
The layout is also much better. The Cooper uses it's fair share of plastic
 

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At first when I saw the Sport going up against the most powerful and fastest of the mini's I was somewhat annoyed. But having read the article I am rather impressed. Its nice when people can see past the performance numbers on paper and just comment on what the car is really about. what its like behind the wheel. How it makes you feel. A few months back I got directly out of a Ferrari 550 maranello and into a Sport 5spd. And even then still was not underwhelmed with its performance or bored with it at all. You have to accept the FIAT for what it is. It is a cheap small econo car. But even with just the 101hp 4 banger it is still a blast to drive. Its not an outright monster or the hottest of hot hatches but it makes up in those areas with something called charm and character. You enjoy a mini or a GTi. You fall in love with a FIAT.
 

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I will have to disagree with ' It is a cheap small econo car.' . A Chevy Aveo is a small cheap econo car, as is the Kia Rio. The Fiat is a well made car with some nice 'heft' to the doors when you open and close them. They don't sound like a tin can [like the Chevy Aveo or Crapbolt].

The windshield glass all around on the Fiat is very thick and of high quality, have you ever tapped on the rear glass on the Kia Forte? It's painfully thin and has a high rate of cracking in the winter. On the Chevy Cobalt, it sounded like the sunroof was going to fall out when I hit a small bump. The paint finish on the 500 is top notch and has some fanstastic color options. What is Toyota offering on the Yaris - silver?

And finally, if you had tick of the "Customer Preferred $1,500 package"' then you get luxury leather, heated seats, heated mirrors, Rear Park assist, and an auto dimming rear view mirror.

This car is well made, well thought out and well executed. It is anything but an econobox.
 

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The 500 just looks, has pretty good gas mileage and is priced more like an econo-box, it's just too nice to actually be one, that's how I feel about it. I can't see how these can be compared other than the fact they are both similar in size, the costs and specs are so far from one another I just don't see it being done in any way that can result in a clear winner, you can't pick a winner from a race that shouldn't be run.
 

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The Mini sheet metal is thicker then the 500. The materials are of a higher quality too. Your paying for that too. The sheet metal on the 500 is thinner then our Honda Fit. Easy to dent too. But I like the 500 a lot better then the Mini Cooper. Its very comfortable to drive. Its just too much fun to drive for 21 grand, compared to the Mini. Wish Honda, would make fun cars to drive again. Only thing close is the CRZ. Out of all small cars I own, the 500 is in first place, the Fit comes in 2nd place. The smart car comes in last.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Maybe I should have pointed out that I LIKE the "nerf" seats. I did not mean that as a complaint, although I confess it can be read that way. I think the seats go with the car. I did not want the $1500 lux option, and the leather seats on the one I looked at looked like an 8th grade homework assignment in Home Ec - with no disparagement of 8th graders intended, and I know Home Ec is no longer taught. Anyway, I am glad those who bought the leather seats like them!
 

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The Mini sheet metal is thicker then the 500. The materials are of a higher quality too. Your paying for that too. The sheet metal on the 500 is thinner then our Honda Fit. Easy to dent too. But I like the 500 a lot better then the Mini Cooper. Its very comfortable to drive. Its just too much fun to drive for 21 grand, compared to the Mini. Wish Honda, would make fun cars to drive again. Only thing close is the CRZ. Out of all small cars I own, the 500 is in first place, the Fit comes in 2nd place. The smart car comes in last.
I agree about Honda. I have the CR-Z- and it is fun but only in SPORT mode and while standing on the throttle while rowing through the manual transmission. Not MINI fun but that's what I have the Classic Mini for which in turn is more fun than the new MINI. The main part for me that does make the CR-Z better than the MINI is the fact I don't have to bring it in every month to have something fixed.
 

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Looks like the mini has the 'Nerf seats' here. Blue and all.

The blue part is leather, the black part is cloth. But you can get full leather in a MINI as well, as I have done.



My car does differ quite a bit from the one that David drove, but that probably would help with some of the criticisms (not once have I thought of driving it as work). It's a longer wheelbase Clubman S with LSD (the mechanical one). It's more stable and more comfortable. Also, cheaper. Non-runflat tires help with ride, torque steer, and tramlining. The navigation system is actually very easy to use after a couple tries. It's joystick-based, so it requires less attention to operate than a touch screen system.

That said, I can see the points made about the 500. My other car is a Mazda 2, which takes the advantages of the 500 in this competition and takes them to an even further extreme in pretty much every way. It too is fantastically fun.
 
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