I was asked how the Fiat Life was treating me so I'll share my one year update from another forum:
I picked up my 500 exactly one year ago, on October 22, 2011. It’s been a lot of fun and no, the "novelty" has not worn off, proving that my affinity for this thing was never for its novelty in the first place. I’m also still not driven mad by any perceived lack of power as the 500 will sit at 80-90 mph without any issue on the highway and I rarely have to downshift to get around cars – although it’s not like downshifting would help if most cars decide not to let me by. And you know what? Surprisingly enough, I’m cool with that. People ask me if/when I'm going to trade the Sport in for the Abarth, and seem shocked when I tell them that it's never going to happen. While I have no doubt that the Abarth is an immensely satisfying car and a total blast to drive, I need an economy car for my 60 mile per day commute to keep the miles off the "fun" cars I already own despite considering the Fiat to be just as fun as anything else I drive.
The Fiat has changed the way that I drive…somewhat. Most of the time I’m happy to sit with traffic and proceed in whatever left lane line I’m in rather than opportunistically searching for chances to pass, and I suspect that this has helped me keep an average 33 mpg going over the course of year one.
When I decide to bomb it, the car hunkers down and travels quite briskly once up to speed, although it does require acclimating to the way a car drives with a short wheelbase. And don't sleep on the fun factor of the Sport! It's an immensely fun car to drive. I’ve always said that the ultimate fun that one can have in a car is equal to how quickly one can die in the thing, and during certain parts of last year’s round trip from CT to SC I had so much fun I almost didn't know what to do with myself, especially when sandwiched in between three semis with huge trailers. The huger the better, it just meant more fun for me.
Ownership costs have been nonexistent due to the 3 year, 36,000 mile comprehensive maintenance policy that has since been discontinued, and the only warranty issues that need to be addressed are the shift boot becoming unglued from the frame that affixes it to the console, and the Fiat badges starting to delaminate which is a known/non-issue as far as I’m concerned. I’m also having trouble connecting my iPhone 5 to the Blue & Me handsfree, but since I cannot connect any IOS 6 device I suspect that this is a rev update away from being fixed.
So far, so good. Here’s hoping for another year of fun in the 500.