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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
After getting all hyped up about the idea of a 500, and test driving 4 different ones at 2 studios, and joining this board, and calling the Mopar/Fiat accessory manager directly to find out about leather options in a Pop, I was able to rent one for a day, and realized it just didn't fit my needs.

Anyway, this is a good group, so I thought I'd pass along what I found out.
Basically, if you're not a fan of the standard Pop seats, but want a Pop since it rides better than a Sport, plus you want a manual, you will be able to get some Fiat approved Katzkin leather seating in August as they're still completing airbag testing with the leather seats. You can get embroidery, piping, 2-tone, suede and a bunch of different colors. I have NO idea of cost though. Here are the part numbers:

LTHR5002DU – Deluxe, two rows, uninstalled (which means the dealer is certified to install it)
LTHR5002DI – Deluxe, two rows, installed (which simply means that Katzkin will send someone to install it)
LTHR5002TU – Tuscany, two rows, uninstalled (which means the dealer is certified to install it)
LTHR5002TI - Tuscany, two rows, installed (which simply means that Katzkin will send someone to install it)

Hope this helps anyone who's interested in this model/interior combo. Enjoy your rides!
 

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Since I'm still in the decision-making process, if I may ask; what was it about the 500 that didn't work for your needs? I'm just trying to get as much input as possible before making a decision. Thanks.
 

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I figure it all depends on how you see yourself using the car and how much room you need. Obviously if you value space and flexibility over luxury and style there are better alternatives out there.
 

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'david', as I always told perspective smart car owners, "like every vehicle, they're not for everyone". in other words, there isn't ONE vehicle on the market that fits the needs and likes of everyone. if there was, there would only BE one vehicle made. :rolleyes:

for me, the 500 fits my needs perfectly: decent MPGs, fun to drive and way cool to look at. BUT if you need more room and want some options that aren't available on your particular model (like a 5sp on a Lounge:(..HELLO, FIAT???), then I can understand you looking elsewhere.

I'm glad you like the site and pls continue to hang out with us. I'm sure you're more than welcome. :)
 

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Fits my needs perfectly since I plan on keeping my Honda Element and my wife her CRZ.
This will be my go cart...err...car to tool around about town with rag top down, all while getting close to or better than 40mpg.

Heck I will fire up the heated seats, crank up the heat and roam top down in December. :)
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Since I'm still in the decision-making process, if I may ask; what was it about the 500 that didn't work for your needs? I'm just trying to get as much input as possible before making a decision. Thanks.
Ok, you asked. Keep in mind this is only MY opinion. I'm thrilled that most of you continue to be pleased with your 500's. So, please leave the flame throwers in the basement.

Like I said, I was really looking forward to the 500. Saw a bunch in Europe last year, and couldn't wait to get one here. I was kind of stalking the opening of my local studio, and was there the first week. I loved the look and feel of them on the showroom floor and on the lot. I drove 4 different examples at 2 different studios. I didn't fall in love however. I wasn't expecting a Lexus quality ride, but the side-to-side motions on the freeway were a bit unnerving. And on all the examples I drove, including the rental, there was at least one buzz/rattle coming from various places.

Add to that the long delivery delays reported here, I decided to take a breath and not make a hasty decision (How many times have I done that?) In the interim, I went to a local VW dealer and drove a 2010 Golf demo (5k miles). With this, I fell in love. The interior, ride and overall feel sold me - literally.

I look at it this way: the 500 (for me) was great to look at and sit in, but the driving let me down. The VW isn't much to look at, but (to me) it's a little jewel to drive. I think if my driving was limited to just urban settings, I would have more seriously considered the 500. The VW seems to do much better on my partial freeway commute.

Again, just my experience. I'll continue to lurk here and read up on your adventures. Who knows? Maybe in a couple years I'll revisit the idea of a 500.

Thanks,
David
 

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Yea... what is that high speed side to side thing? I thought it would be less once the car was lowered. I guess McNuggets are not very aerodynamic.
 

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Just wondering if you were driving the sport mostly on the highway? I really found the sport models offered a poor driving experience at speed, but with the pops/lounge I found the softer suspension suited highway speeds better without the unpleasant bounce bounce bounce I had with the sport.

Nothing to feel bad about going with the VW. My first car was a '89 GTI, and nothing I've owned since has ever come close to matching it's energy and ability. Only bad side is that VW Customer Service has to be the worst in business and they will fight you tooth and nail on any warranty claims. Mechanically they tend be very well designed, but the electricals always go haywire. Always get a second opinion before doing any expensive service work as those guys will lie to you. And once it's past warranty do all work at an independent garage. With a demo that has seen some abuse, I'd insist that they warranty it as a certified pre-owned car so that you get maximum coverage.

Before the Fiat came out, I was highly tempted to buy a Golf TDI, but too many internet horror stories of mechanical failure and new car owners facing $10,000 repair bills due to shady dealerships left me too scared to commit. Those issues only relate to the diesel engine though, so don't worry. It was a shame though as the TDI offers a great drive, and an unmatched combination of performance and fuel economy.
 

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I drove the pop and it did the same thing at speed. It is not really a bounce thing... It is more like a unaltered male dog walk... It has to sniff every bush and tree ect... on either side of the walkway... Making me spill 1/2 my coffee b4 I have even had a chance to take a drink.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Just wondering if you were driving the sport mostly on the highway? I really found the sport models offered a poor driving experience at speed, but with the pops/lounge I found the softer suspension suited highway speeds better without the unpleasant bounce bounce bounce I had with the sport.

Nothing to feel bad about going with the VW. My first car was a '89 GTI, and nothing I've owned since has ever come close to matching it's energy and ability. Only bad side is that VW Customer Service has to be the worst in business and they will fight you tooth and nail on any warranty claims. Mechanically they tend be very well designed, but the electricals always go haywire. Always get a second opinion before doing any expensive service work as those guys will lie to you. And once it's past warranty do all work at an independent garage. With a demo that has seen some abuse, I'd insist that they warranty it as a certified pre-owned car so that you get maximum coverage.

Before the Fiat came out, I was highly tempted to buy a Golf TDI, but too many internet horror stories of mechanical failure and new car owners facing $10,000 repair bills due to shady dealerships left me too scared to commit. Those issues only relate to the diesel engine though, so don't worry. It was a shame though as the TDI offers a great drive, and an unmatched combination of performance and fuel economy.
The car I drove on the highway was the Pop. I had stopped considering the Sport due to the choppy ride - hence the desire to get the leather seats. My VW wasn't a dealer demo as in they let the customers drive it, it was a corporate car driven by one person for 10 months. I don't think it was abused at all. It is a CPO car with 24 months/24,000 miles which starts AFTER the original warranty expires. So, it's actually better than buying a brand new one. :D
 

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I compared the 500 and Golf, too, before buying Italian. In my Pop 5-spd I haven't experienced the "side-to-side motions" (?) mentioned. Actually, highway handling was comparable enough to not tip the scale either way for me. What did weigh a little more heavily for me was:

-- Golf's turning radius (36') is closer to that of a Grand Caravan (39') than it is to the 500's turning circle (31'), making it a city fat boy.

-- Golf's price is significantly higher, but if more power and a bigger back seat are what you're looking for in a small car, then go for it. Otherwise, I don't see what you're paying for.

-- Basic warranty: 4 yr/50,000 vs. 3 yr/36,000 in favor of the 500.

-- Fuel economy (gasoline): 7 mpg better on average for the 500.

-- Reliability: One of the worst in the industry for VW. Since its 2007 intro in Europe, the Fiat has enjoyed good reliability marks, which should carry over to the U.S.

-- And, finally, the Fiat 500 looks fresh inside and out, not the tired, worn out look of the Golf. Of course, reasonable people often differ on matters of taste.
 

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I haven't experienced that highway unstability either and I have a Sport. My old S2000 and Miata were a lot more twitchy than the 500.
 

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I haven't experienced that highway unstability either and I have a Sport. My old S2000 and Miata were a lot more twitchy than the 500.
The car itself isn't twitchy, or unstable, its rock solid well past legal speeds. What I assume everyone is talking about is the occasional momentary buffets that can occur at medium speeds on a somewhat crowded freeway. Thing is, these dont seem to effect the car in any way, and it continues to track straight, you just feel a small but sudden buffet. For such a light car, that sits so high, its handles the highway very well IMHO. I think the high seating position is accentuating the feeling.
 

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Ok, you asked. Keep in mind this is only MY opinion. I'm thrilled that most of you continue to be pleased with your 500's. So, please leave the flame throwers in the basement.
Thanks David...for sticking your neck out to answer my question. Your reply and those from other members that followed are just what I'm looking for. Interestingly, for me too, it has come down to the Fiat or a VW Golf. Take care.
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
Thanks David...for sticking your neck out to answer my question. Your reply and those from other members that followed are just what I'm looking for. Interestingly, for me too, it has come down to the Fiat or a VW Golf. Take care.
My pleasure. Again, what works for one doesn't always work for another. If you're really on the fence, my other recommendation is to try and drive both cars on roads with which you're familiar - near your home perhaps. The 'round the block deal you get on most test drives don't usually include roads on which you normally drive. It's hard to get a sense of what the car will feel like on a day-to-day basis.

The rental fees for these cars was money well spent. One day seemed to be enough to form an opinion.

Cheers! :)
 

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I have never felt like the areodynamics ever pushed the thing around.

I just concluded a 1300 mile trip through the deserts of Utah, Arizona, and Eastern California, and even with the gusty winds occasionally encountered, I never felt like the car was being blown around.

At one point my passenger asked if I was getting tired since she thought the wind noise and the fast moving tumbleweeds she heard and saw was bad enough to make the car a handful.

I then let go of the wheel and showed her the the car was tracking flawlessly :)

Love my Fiat!
 
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I associate leather upholstery with luxury and as nice as the Lounge and 500C are they add panache and maybe some elegance. I don't think of them as typical luxury cars. The Pop certainly is not, it's not going to lure people away from Mercedes, Audi, Lexus, Infiniti, or Cadillac. The fact that leather was so important means we will probably find you driving one of those luxury marques when you have the wherewithal to buy new.
 
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