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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hello all - I have the Fiat 500 on my very short list of new car choices. Here's my dilemma: I like a sport-tuned ride in my vehicles so the Sport model appeals to me. The problem is that the price of the Sport model comes within dollars of my other choice, the VW Golf. The Golf has more space, handles very well, has more power and is more of a known entity here in the states (better for resale, repair, etc.). After thinking this through, I reasoned that a Pop might fit the bill while tilting the financial decision in favor of the Fiat.

My question: how close is the handling of the Pop to the Sport? Judged only on suspension, ride firmness and handling, does the Pop satisfy as well as the Sport in spirited driving? I'm not looking for all-out performance (I have another car for that), I just want to have some fun in my daily driving around town. Thanks for your input.
 

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OK, so aside from the obvious 'go take a test drive'....here we go.

There is a definite difference between the sport and the pop ride, but the Fiat 500 is such a light car, that even the softer pop has a more fun factor than most cars. That said, the 500 has you sitting pretty upright, so you really feel if it starts leaning at all in tight corners (at speed...the thing turns like its on rails under 25 mph), which the sport does much less.

My real concern is if you would be happy with the look of the POP, more than its handling. I know you said you have a car to do the sports car thing, but in a daily driver, are you going to be happy in a very basic car. You can go get stiffer/lower springs for under $300 at 500madness, but the POP looks very much like a economy car. The little accents of the Sport do make a big difference in the cars look, which may very well impact how happy you end up being with your purchase.
 

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IMHO, the Sport looks better than either the Pop or the Lounge. I'm very happy it's priced the way it is.

I didn't test drive a Pop, but I come from a Volvo C30 T5 and trust me - the Sport feels far, far, FAR better than the Volvo during spirited driving. It's just a lot more fun. The only thing the Volvo did better was straight line cruising at high speeds... that, and putting me to sleep ;)
 

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The sport looks the best, but I honestly preferred the feel and handling of the pop/lounge cars. I found that the Sport really bounced around the highway, while the higher up cars cruised smoothly. Yes, because you sit so high up it feels like the car is leaning dramatically into turns, but it never releases it's grip on the road. Great handling little car
 

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here is my take. i had plenty of cash to buy either version, so it was a matter of preference and value for my tastes.

i think the handling difference between the pop and sport isnt that much different, and i test drove them both extensively. i found more of a difference between the steering in sport mode vs regular mode in either car. I also very much dislike that they glued skirts to the side of the sport. most people would look at the pop or sport and see the same car. they really do not look much different. 95% of the car is the same.

i liked the look of the fiat 500. a little different grill and lower rear bumper on the sport version didnt make me like it more. in fact the useless plastic skirts glued to the side made me prefer the look of the pop over the sport.

in the end, i chose the pop. saving $2000 was just a side benefit. i have lots of fun taking in hard in the corners when i want to and i get to enjoy the less harsh ride when i am just driving for normal purposes, which is what most of us are doing a vast majority of the time.

at $15,500, the fiat 500 is a terrific value. at $17,500 it is less so and didnt offer anything (to me) that justified that $2000 extra. others feels that it does.

i also looked hard at the vw golf. i couldnt get over the mediocre mileage, and the one that gets stellar mileage is well north of $20,000.
 

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In my experience you don't need the Sport to get spirited handling and tenacious road grip. I test drove the Sport and much prefer my Pop -- traded my 3-year-old MINI two months ago. In fact, if you don't plan to spend any time on the race track, the Fiat 500 will perform every bit as well as the MINI in all kinds of highway driving. Yes, the Golf is a fine car, but don't forget that on average the 500 betters the Golf by 7 mpg or so. Okay, that's only 5 bucks on a 300-mile trip, but...
 

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Glad to hear you like the Fiats ride, I really find it a fun zip around car. As a daily commuter its hard to be it, especially at the Pop price point.
 

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On the looks, you'll have to decide for yourself. I bought a Pop for the looks, not for the economy. IMO, the Sport is the least cosmetically pleaseing 500 model.

You could split the difference: buy a Pop and just leave it in sport mode!

Ryan
 

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Another vote for the Pop, mine being a 500C Pop.

Only thing I really wish I were getting that I can't with a manual 500C is the auto climate.
 

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If I got the Pop, I'd use the 2,000 I saved and buy a set of coilovers and 15" old-school wheels.

That'd be the best of both worlds. It'd be better than the Sport, I bet.
 

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I drove both the Pop and Sport. Chose the Pop. I prefered the lighter interior of the Pop and the Sport suspension was too firm for my taste, Pop just right. I like the wheels on the Sport, but don't much care for the body cladding.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Thanks for all of the responses. I had already driven the Sport prior to posting this and I liked it, but since I was only interested in the Sport model at that time, I didn't try-out the Pop. I'll have to get back there for a test drive of the Pop and check-out how it feels. Logic and emotion are at odds with each other as I decide what to buy. With the 500 Sport being priced so close to the Golf, logic moves me in the direction of the VW. However, I really like this little Italian. It pushes all the right buttons for me. I guess I'm hoping that choosing the Pop will satisfy the logic of enjoying the lower price while still delivering on that emotional part. Thanks again for the excellent input...Ciao.
 

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I drove both the Pop and Sport. Chose the Pop. I prefered the lighter interior of the Pop and the Sport suspension was too firm for my taste, Pop just right. I like the wheels on the Sport, but don't much care for the body cladding.
Ditto on the wheels...I opted for the aluminum upgrade, much better look IMHO.
 

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Thanks for all of the responses. I had already driven the Sport prior to posting this and I liked it, but since I was only interested in the Sport model at that time, I didn't try-out the Pop. I'll have to get back there for a test drive of the Pop and check-out how it feels. Logic and emotion are at odds with each other as I decide what to buy. With the 500 Sport being priced so close to the Golf, logic moves me in the direction of the VW. However, I really like this little Italian. It pushes all the right buttons for me. I guess I'm hoping that choosing the Pop will satisfy the logic of enjoying the lower price while still delivering on that emotional part. Thanks again for the excellent input...Ciao.
Logic seems to want you to be "just another rabbit". Take a chance... Spring for the sport.
 

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If I got the Pop, I'd use the 2,000 I saved and buy a set of coilovers and 15" old-school wheels.

That'd be the best of both worlds. It'd be better than the Sport, I bet.
This is the way I am leaning as well. The roads around here are terrible, so the stiff ride and low profile tires could really hamper the sport in my area. The fact that they have the same powertrain is a big factor, as I could use some of the $2000 I save to tweak the engine.

Another factor is the winter; I would mount snow tires on the stock steel wheels this winter, then put the original tires on some new 15" alloys in the spring, which is what I ended up doing with my Golf.

Regarding the interior, unless the seats for one or the other a clearly better for my 'frame', I actually prefer the more retro interior of the Pop. Same with the outside; the Pop exterior with some of the brightwork from the Lounge would look pretty great.

I have about 18 hours to decide, including a 2 hour drive to the dealership, to decide.
 

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I chose the Sport because there are several features I wanted that are standard in the Sport, some you can't even get in the Pop. Also, the packages are different, and in order to add some of the things I wanted, I'd have to get some things I didn't. A similarly equipped Pop to the Sport I ordered was a few hundred cheaper, but there were still features I could only get in the Sport.

I'm just saying that it's smart to compare more than just the exterior. The fiat site has a pretty spiffy car creator thing to see how options and features change between models. Of course, I kind of assume anyone reading this has already been there.
 

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Get the pop. It looks more like the vintage 500. Handles well enough when pushed and comfy enough when driving it normal. Sport has uncomfortable seats and a bouncy ride. The Pop feels much more comfortable. As far as hp, open up the exhaust at the rear with a dif axel back, put a drop in air filter and that should do the trick. Even an aftermarket air intake is real good if you want to put up with the intake sound. Even change your tires to 205/45-15 and will handle even better. And be below the Sport msrp.
 

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I chose the Sport because there are several features I wanted that are standard in the Sport, some you can't even get in the Pop. Also, the packages are different, and in order to add some of the things I wanted, I'd have to get some things I didn't. A similarly equipped Pop to the Sport I ordered was a few hundred cheaper, but there were still features I could only get in the Sport.

I'm just saying that it's smart to compare more than just the exterior. The fiat site has a pretty spiffy car creator thing to see how options and features change between models. Of course, I kind of assume anyone reading this has already been there.
What were some of the features you wanted that weren't on the Pop? Features on the standard models; I don't plan to get any packages with either car.

One I saw that I really liked was the blind spot addition to the side mirror, but I assume that could be swapped in.
 

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What were some of the features you wanted that weren't on the Pop? Features on the standard models; I don't plan to get any packages with either car.

One I saw that I really liked was the blind spot addition to the side mirror, but I assume that could be swapped in.
Heated seats (after market available)
Auto climate control (not available)
Chrome all around (available)
 
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