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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I can't believe I'm even CONSIDERING one of these cars, as I learned to drive in a 1974 124 TC sedan (hence, my user name). Fun to drive- sure. But I won't belabor what a mechanical nightmare that car was, as I doubt this site has that much bandwidth! BUT- I first saw the new 500 at the local car show back in March, and it was love at first sight. And I'm a 53 year-old male that's driven nothing but Town Cars and Grand Marquis (Grands Marquis?) for the past 15 years, so obviously the attraction to the 500 on my part is utterly amazing. I haven't even driven one yet (I don't dare...), and it's already turned into an obsession.

Okay, enough confessions. Here's the bottom line for me: how reliable has this can been for all you owners? Has Fiat overcome the quality issues that they're so infamous for among my generation? How has dealer service been? For the record, I'm leaning toward a Sport with a 5-speed and virtually no options (hate sunroofs, don't need navigation, have never owned an I-Pod). 45-series tires scare the bejeezus out of me (I feel no need to make the local Goodyear dealer wealthy), but it looks like one has no choice when it comes to tires on a new car. Any info you all would be willing to share would be greatly appreciated.
 

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As to be expected there have been some issues on some of the early cars. However, overall reliability will be light years ahead of the old ones. If you want to stack the odds in your favor buy one next year.
 

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I'm getting 42.7 mpg with the manual transmission. There are some on this site that have reported getting 19 mpg. I can't even imagine how one would have to drive it to get that poor mileage.

This car was not designed for an automatic transmission. One was not even available in Europe. It's available here but it adds weight and complication - so you're good there.

There are a lot of little things one can find in this car that aren't in other cars. There is a long beep when you turn the ignition key on. This is actually the boot-up sequence for the car's computers. The engine shouldn't be cranked at this time - you can do it - but the servos and sensors are adjusting while the engine is starting, if you do.

The cold engine always drops from above 1000 rpm down some during the first 15-30 seconds, like clockwork. It's better to give it this brief warmup period idling. If you have the ability to notice things like these, just a little TLC, you will likely have very few problems. The oblivious should buy Japanese or Korean.
 

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Im absolutely loving mine as well. Its a hoot to drive! I've got the automatic, but i often find myself using the manual override when i want to have a bit more control over shifting patterns. ;)

No quirks at all on mine yet - solid as a rock, much quieter than my 07 Civic was, I fit better inside it, its better on gas, a lot more fun to drive, and my ego loves all the honking and pointing I get - and mine is bone stock!

I honestly wouldn't have any hesitation recommending one to anyone that is looking for a fun small car.
 

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I have ordered a Sport with a sunroof and manual transmission. Otherwise, it's stock. It came down to this and a Mini Cooper. I previously own a Mini. I'm just fascinated by the Euro looks and how fun it was to test drive.. Loved the size of the Mini and this is better.

Mine won't arrive for another six weeks or so, but in time for some great fall driving. I can't wait. This feels very exciting and on the edge.
 

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I'm not an owner, yet, but I've had several 500's as rentals in italy. One was new, and two others more well used, with approx. 35,000 kms. Yes, that is in Italy where Fiats are 'normal' but if Hertz can use them as rental cars, they can't be spending all their time in the shop. I also know that Hertz in Italy often keeps and rents cars with 70 - 80,000 kms on them. Call it 50,000 miles in other currency.

But wow, are you ever moving the goal posts..... I share your obsession, though. Really.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Thanks for all the input- I do appreciate it.

For years I've been looking for a small, highly fuel-efficient car that was NOT a stripped-down econobox, and it's as if Fiat had read my mind. When I got in the car at the auto show, I just kept thinking, "I get this, I sooooo get this!" I used to joke with the Ford-Lincoln-Mercury dealer, "when are they going to come out with the Festiva... Brougham?," as that's how I used to describe what I had in mind for this car.

Stopped at the dealer this morning, and they had a few sitting outside you could peek at. This little thing is just so awesome, and their website is advertising rebates "up to" $1500.00. Does anyone know if they're offering leases on these yet? It would be so much easier to write it off to the business.
 

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The thing that really attracted me to the 500 was that its a small car, but not a cheap car. For so long it seems that if you wanted a more refined car you climbed up the manufacturers next size up ladder. The Fiat 500 is by no means a luxury car, but its not an econobox either, its a nice middle ground.
 

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Stopped at the dealer this morning, and they had a few sitting outside you could peek at. This little thing is just so awesome, and their website is advertising rebates "up to" $1500.00. Does anyone know if they're offering leases on these yet? It would be so much easier to write it off to the business.
lease promo started on the 23rd, the pop $1999 OOP + TT and $199 a month, westbury has 2 pops with the incentive but both have $995 dealer installed pkgs, pretty sure they have more out back as well.
 

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Since I'm not an owner I figured this would be a good thread to jump in on. Currently drive a 2005 Hyundai Elantra, my first foreign nameplated car. Previous was a Ford Aspire (built by Kia in Korea). We typically buy Fords and will look at the Fiesta when it's time for a new car. But just like when I bought the Elantra, I will look at other cars, too.

I'm 6'-2", 220, and the Aspire was plenty big enough. Aside from all the normal questions about reliability and stuff, my question is whether a 500 is going to have enough room for my frame? Is the Cabrio any better/worse for head room? The second question is whether you can get a tow hitch installed so I can get a rear-mount bicycle rack?

I'm not really in the market for a car right now, but since I noticed the Fiat dealer in town, these cars have really caught my attention. If I play the wife right, I might be able to convince her that I need a new car.
 

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6-2 should be no issue in any NON sunroof version as the sunroof eats up several inches of top space. I dont think the convertible adds any headroom, but you dont lose any so its fine. Take a test drive, you'll see it has plenty of head room.

bike rack thingy is one of the standard options (is that an oxymoron)
 

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Just thinking further on the original topic question about the durability of the new 500.

Here in Vancouver, one of the car-sharing coop's has a 500 in it's fleet, along with VW's, Toyota's, Mazda's, and some mini vans. My parents (who are members of this coop) asked to have a 500 on their street. The coop responded that they are planning to add more 500's to their collection of cars.

My conclusion is that although the car cannot be old yet, they are satisfied enough with the car to be willing to commit to buy more of them. And remember; these are shared cars. The drivers are not necessarily mechanically sensitive or delicate drivers, forgiving of a cars weaknesses. If the coop feels the cars are standing up to being shared by a wide range of drivers, they must be pleased with the 500.
 

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Since I'm not an owner I figured this would be a good thread to jump in on. Currently drive a 2005 Hyundai Elantra, my first foreign nameplated car. Previous was a Ford Aspire (built by Kia in Korea). We typically buy Fords and will look at the Fiesta when it's time for a new car. But just like when I bought the Elantra, I will look at other cars, too.

I'm 6'-2", 220, and the Aspire was plenty big enough. Aside from all the normal questions about reliability and stuff, my question is whether a 500 is going to have enough room for my frame? Is the Cabrio any better/worse for head room? The second question is whether you can get a tow hitch installed so I can get a rear-mount bicycle rack?

I'm not really in the market for a car right now, but since I noticed the Fiat dealer in town, these cars have really caught my attention. If I play the wife right, I might be able to convince her that I need a new car.
I am 6'3 and 215, so I am pretty close to your size. As I stated in another thread, I drive in a more reclined position than most, so the sunroof in my 500 does not intrude on my headroom. The hardtop model will be fine for you even if you drive bolt upright. Legroom is plenty sufficient, so no complaints there. The ride on my SPORT is surprisingly competent, even on Oklahoma's buckled highways...fairly comparable to the Elantra in that department. The two things I would consider in your situation are that the 500 is significantly narrower than the Elantra, so if sitting in close proximity to your passenger is uncomfortable to you, than you might consider another car. And secondly, if your driving typically involves the back seat being occupied, you might want to reconsider, unless those occupants are children, or hobbits. Otherwise, it is great fun on city streets and gets very good gas mileage, even when driven hard. At the moment, there are not many others on the road so it has the uniqueness factor going for it.
 

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Since I'm not an owner I figured this would be a good thread to jump in on. Currently drive a 2005 Hyundai Elantra, my first foreign nameplated car. Previous was a Ford Aspire (built by Kia in Korea). We typically buy Fords and will look at the Fiesta when it's time for a new car. But just like when I bought the Elantra, I will look at other cars, too.

I'm 6'-2", 220, and the Aspire was plenty big enough. Aside from all the normal questions about reliability and stuff, my question is whether a 500 is going to have enough room for my frame? Is the Cabrio any better/worse for head room? The second question is whether you can get a tow hitch installed so I can get a rear-mount bicycle rack?

I'm not really in the market for a car right now, but since I noticed the Fiat dealer in town, these cars have really caught my attention. If I play the wife right, I might be able to convince her that I need a new car.
Re: rear bike rack... Look at my photo album. It cost $99 and $100 to install. It is a mopar product. The rack is the best rack made. 1upUSA quick rack. If this rack was not available I may have not bought the car... Everything else was so massive and ugly.
 

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What's kind of funny about this discussion of back-seat room is this: On our trip to Italy in 2008 we had a red 500 for three weeks. My wife, with the crutches and injured knee, rode in the back a lot of the time.

Mind you, we have a house there so we were doing day trips and didn't spend hours on the road, but now I'm starting to feel a bit guilty. She's not more than 5'-4" so she's no basketball player, but still...

Nice red, though, dont'cha think?
 

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The ride on my SPORT is surprisingly competent, even on Oklahoma's buckled highways...fairly comparable to the Elantra in that department. The two things I would consider in your situation are that the 500 is significantly narrower than the Elantra, so if sitting in close proximity to your passenger is uncomfortable to you, than you might consider another car. And secondly, if your driving typically involves the back seat being occupied, you might want to reconsider, unless those occupants are children, or hobbits. Otherwise, it is great fun on city streets and gets very good gas mileage, even when driven hard. At the moment, there are not many others on the road so it has the uniqueness factor going for it.
That's pretty much what I'm looking for. I typically drive alone, or with my wife, so proximity to my passenger is not an issue. The only likely rear seat passenger will be my dogs. What you're describing sounds a lot like the Aspire.

Re: rear bike rack... Look at my photo album. It cost $99 and $100 to install. It is a mopar product. The rack is the best rack made. 1upUSA quick rack. If this rack was not available I may have not bought the car... Everything else was so massive and ugly.
That looks great. Any chance of a model that can carry two bikes? I might want to take the wife's bike along, too. It's not show stopper, though; we can still use her car if we want transport two bikes.
 

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There is no comparing FIAT's that were practically hand-made in labor union strangled Italian factories in the 1970's-1980's to the computer-operated robot manufacturing of our 500's in the Toluca, Mexico plant. End of story. End of Tony.

If one is concerned about reliability, the fairest comparison would be to the PT Cruisers the 500 replaced on that assembly line and the Dodge Journeys/FIAT Fairmounts that are currently being assembled there along with the 500's. If you believe those cars have had a bad reliability reputation, then you should not buy a 500.
 
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So I test drove a Fiat 500 today.

Smooth ride, excellent road feel. Predictable lean in the turns. Smooth acceleration with a buttery-slick shifting automatic transmission. Responsive feeling, almost like an extension of me. A comfortable, well-appointed interior. That was the ride home in the Elantra after the test drive.

The 500? It's an econo-box which felt slow off the line, even with a 6-speed AT. I wouldn't rule it out as my next car; kind of a little go cart. But it's no Elantra. The difference may be just the difference in size. I've been having problems with the Elantra lately, but the drive in the 500 made me appreciate what I do like about the bigger car.

A more apt comparison might be to take a Ford Fiesta out for a test drive. Still a little bigger, but it is smaller than the Elantra by quite a bit. If I buy in the immediate future, the Fiesta and 500 are the two most likely candidates.
 
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