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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I am new to the Fiat 500 forum and live in The Colony, TX. I took a test ride this past Saturday and was impressed with the Sport trim level and price. If I trade for a new car (current ride is 2000 New Beetle 1.8 Turbo manual) I have a few concerns about the car and hope current Fiat owners would be willing to share their experiences about it.

1. I like the option to open the moon roof but feel the mesh cover and tinted glass will not prevent radiant heat from causing the interior to get really hot in the Texas sun. For those who have the moon roof option, what is your experience with this concern?
2. Stepping down from the Beetle 150hp to the Sport 101hp is significant. Add to that the automatic I don’t know if the car will feel under powered. My short test drive found the transmission wanting to downshift on slight grades at highway speed. For those who have the auto transmission do you feel the car struggles when entering the freeway or on grades at 60mph?
3. I am impressed with German technology and endurance. With over 100k on 2 VW New Beetles (wife drives 2001 diesel) I don’t need a new car payment. If I make a purchase it will be a long term hold. For those who have former Fiat experience, what is the life expectancy for this car given it is well maintained throughout its lifetime? Is 100 to 200 thousand miles a pipe dream for this car?
4. When I took my wife to view the cars on the dealer lot, we concluded we liked a specific color exterior with the full leather interior. Has anyone ordered a car with their choice of options/colors and how long a wait did you encounter?

I look forward to reading your replies to help us make an informed decision on becoming a Fiat 500 owner.
Jim
 

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If you're currently driving a 2000 Beetle turbo manual and like it, it seems to be you'd be wise to get the Fiat sport with a manual, not an automatic. You're already used to a small car with a manual transmission, and you'll feel like you've lost a lot of power with the auto IMO. I'm a manual extremist, mind you (down with autos!) so that flavors my opinion but I think if you like your current manual then there's no reason to take the performance hit on a car that was, after all, designed to have a manual transmission. My manual sport certainly doesn't struggle in the least to enter the freeway at 60 mph - of course, I'm also in third gear.

None of us can answer the longevity question since Fiats have only been available here for a year and the factory is newly converted. In Europe, Fiats are considered reliable cars and I certainly can't imagine why 150k-200k would be a problem if you take care of it, but only time will tell. Personally I think it's impressive that you have two Beetles from ~2000 with >100k on them and still have a positive impression of VW - the reputation here in MN (a big VW state) is that they're fun and well designed but not especially reliable, and twelve years out of a VW turbo without major issues is certainly a sign that you take good care of your cars.

Note that you can't get a full leather interior on a Sport trim 500 from the factory, so if you're looking at the Sport you'll have to have the leather done aftermarket. Only the Lounge is available with leather seats (and the Abarth, of course, but that's rather a different proposition), and the Lounge has a softer suspension setup, a higher price, and no choice of transmission (auto only). If that's what you're looking for (despite your assertion of being impressed with the Sport trim level and price) then I'm sure you can find whatever options and colors in a car on a dealer's lot rather than special-ordering - they rather overestimated demand last year and made a lot more than the market took in. If you have to special-order, it's just conjecture but I'm guessing it'll be a while since the Abarths are just coming out now, with lots of backorders, and I'm sure the factory is focused on that instead of the oversaturated Lounge and Sport models. I bet you can find the car you want without ordering though.

That 2000 New Beetle 1.8 turbo would be a sweet used car though - you should sell it privately rather than letting the dealer make a killing on it.
 

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I have a 6 speed auto, no shifting problems at all. Sun screen issue... I bought may car last August, it was 104 degrees here in Kansas. AC is great. Its hotter in Texas then here. It does get hot, if you leave your car outside. I have a garage, and parking garage for my car. Not a problem. 101 hp is OK for me, going from a smart car 71 hp.(german tech, what ever, you can have it.) to the 500. Our Honda Fit has 101 hp too, no power issues. I have to friends, I work with that have Beetles. Nothing but issues with they cars. Very costly repairs. I've always bought Honda product in the past, the 500 isn't boring like the Honda offering. Except the CRV. Long term with the 500, who knows, the cars too new. I'd look at European sites for reliability on the 500. I only have 8K on my car. Only issue so far, is weather stripping noise. Love this little car. Good luck shopping.
 

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I would recommend the Lounge over the sport. I didn't like the way the manual shifted at all. I also own a Miata which is probably the best shifter in the world for the money- so that is what I compared it to. The Lounge offers all the goodies, leather, chrome, more comfortable suspension...I love it. The best combination is the one I got: Olive green/brown&white
The dealer had one on the lot and I snatched it up.

 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
If you're currently driving a 2000 Beetle turbo manual and like it, it seems to be you'd be wise to get the Fiat sport with a manual, not an automatic. You're already used to a small car with a manual transmission, and you'll feel like you've lost a lot of power with the auto IMO. I'm a manual extremist, mind you (down with autos!) so that flavors my opinion but I think if you like your current manual then there's no reason to take the performance hit on a car that was, after all, designed to have a manual transmission. My manual sport certainly doesn't struggle in the least to enter the freeway at 60 mph - of course, I'm also in third gear.
One of the motivations for even looking at another car was the switch to an automatic so my wife could drive the car if required. Another was improved gas mileage from the Beetle 26 to 29 mpg. When I purchased the Beetle the performance was a top priority but these days comfort and mpg trump performance.
None of us can answer the longevity question since Fiats have only been available here for a year and the factory is newly converted. In Europe, Fiats are considered reliable cars and I certainly can't imagine why 150k-200k would be a problem if you take care of it, but only time will tell. Personally I think it's impressive that you have two Beetles from ~2000 with >100k on them and still have a positive impression of VW - the reputation here in MN (a big VW state) is that they're fun and well designed but not especially reliable, and twelve years out of a VW turbo without major issues is certainly a sign that you take good care of your cars.
Thanks, I have always been a stickler for keeping things well maintained in order to get maximum life use whether that applies to cars, appliances, lawn equipment, or recreational toys. Land vehicle Vehicle Car Motor vehicle Volkswagen new beetle
Land vehicle Vehicle Motorcycle Motor vehicle Motorcycling
Note that you can't get a full leather interior on a Sport trim 500 from the factory, so if you're looking at the Sport you'll have to have the leather done aftermarket. Only the Lounge is available with leather seats (and the Abarth, of course, but that's rather a different proposition), and the Lounge has a softer suspension setup, a higher price, and no choice of transmission (auto only). If that's what you're looking for (despite your assertion of being impressed with the Sport trim level and price) then I'm sure you can find whatever options and colors in a car on a dealer's lot rather than special-ordering - they rather overestimated demand last year and made a lot more than the market took in. If you have to special-order, it's just conjecture but I'm guessing it'll be a while since the Abarths are just coming out now, with lots of backorders, and I'm sure the factory is focused on that instead of the oversaturated Lounge and Sport models. I bet you can find the car you want without ordering though.
Again thanks for this insight. At least now I can fully understand why the Build Your Own on the website did not allow the leather & color option choices.
That 2000 New Beetle 1.8 turbo would be a sweet used car though - you should sell it privately rather than letting the dealer make a killing on it.
I used to show the car (see photo) and won modified stock class at several events over the years. Once we started motorcycle travel, I lost the desire for the car show circuit. If I do this purchase I will see what the reduction in sales tax difference is versus what I can get for the Beetle on the open market.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
I would recommend the Lounge over the sport. I didn't like the way the manual shifted at all. I also own a Miata which is probably the best shifter in the world for the money- so that is what I compared it to. The Lounge offers all the goodies, leather, chrome, more comfortable suspension...I love it. The best combination is the one I got: Olive green/brown&white
The dealer had one on the lot and I snatched it up.

Yes that is the interior that I want. The exterior green/olive color is my second choice with the brown/espresso as first choice. I will have to return to the dealer and drive a Lounge to see if the ride is that different from the Sport. I like the wheels on the Sport better that the Lounge (would be easier to keep clean) but I don't know if those are a negotiable option.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
I have a 6 speed auto, no shifting problems at all. Sun screen issue... I bought may car last August, it was 104 degrees here in Kansas. AC is great. Its hotter in Texas then here. It does get hot, if you leave your car outside. I have a garage, and parking garage for my car. Not a problem. 101 hp is OK for me, going from a smart car 71 hp.(german tech, what ever, you can have it.) to the 500. Our Honda Fit has 101 hp too, no power issues. I have to friends, I work with that have Beetles. Nothing but issues with they cars. Very costly repairs. I've always bought Honda product in the past, the 500 isn't boring like the Honda offering. Except the CRV. Long term with the 500, who knows, the cars too new. I'd look at European sites for reliability on the 500. I only have 8K on my car. Only issue so far, is weather stripping noise. Love this little car. Good luck shopping.
Good to hear the 6sp auto performs well under normal driving scenarios. The mesh screen radiant heat issue may still be a deal killer, unless I can figure out a way to squeeze the car and motorcycle in the single car garage. Many of the VW issues were for the 98 & 99 years and 03 on. I happen to get the better built years and avoided the major issues. I'll take your advice and research the other sites for more in depth reliability information.
 

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Yes that is the interior that I want. The exterior green/olive color is my second choice with the brown/espresso as first choice. I will have to return to the dealer and drive a Lounge to see if the ride is that different from the Sport. I like the wheels on the Sport better that the Lounge (would be easier to keep clean) but I don't know if those are a negotiable option.
Here's my Lounge with Prima Sport Wheels. They can be purchased separately from the dealer or sometimes people sell them on here. As for the auto, my wife drives 70+ miles a day on the highway with no concerns. It takes a couple of weeks to get used to the power from one car to another (we traded in a 250hp Volvo), but you do get used to it. The Lounge will ride softer than the Sport.

 

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I am new to the Fiat 500 forum and live in The Colony, TX. I took a test ride this past Saturday and was impressed with the Sport trim level and price. If I trade for a new car (current ride is 2000 New Beetle 1.8 Turbo manual) I have a few concerns about the car and hope current Fiat owners would be willing to share their experiences about it.

1. I like the option to open the moon roof but feel the mesh cover and tinted glass will not prevent radiant heat from causing the interior to get really hot in the Texas sun. For those who have the moon roof option, what is your experience with this concern?
Jim
Dear Jim: I did not want the sunroof on my Sport automatic, but I got it. I freaked out upon driving home with the new car on the first day and stumbled across this board. I really regretted the sunroof (initially) as the southern California sun came streaming in. I called my studio and "complained," and they offered to tint the sunroof very, very dark, which helped a lot, and then I read lots of forum members' experience with 104 degree temperatures in very hot places and that they were able to keep their gallon of milk cold, no problems. Since I bought my car in late February, I've opened up the sunroof many, many times and do not regret it any longer. The tinting really helped. There's also a product by HotFiat that could help you, too. Best of luck and hope you get a FIAT soon!
 

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Dear Jim: I did not want the sunroof on my Sport automatic, but I got it. I freaked out upon driving home with the new car on the first day and stumbled across this board. I really regretted the sunroof (initially) as the southern California sun came streaming in. I called my studio and "complained," and they offered to tint the sunroof very, very dark, which helped a lot, and then I read lots of forum members' experience with 104 degree temperatures in very hot places and that they were able to keep their gallon of milk cold, no problems. Since I bought my car in late February, I've opened up the sunroof many, many times and do not regret it any longer. The tinting really helped. There's also a product by HotFiat that could help you, too. Best of luck and hope you get a FIAT soon!
I remember that day. I'm like, "who's this whiner? The sun is hot? REALLY?" You've come a long way baby.
 

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I was really having a meltdown that day (har har har!). You welcomed me to the boards and then told me I needed therapy!

Therapy helped! :)
HAHAHA, I forgot about the therapy part. Glad I led you down the right path. You were probably saying "who's this A-hole" Denis Leary taught me to be one. He also taught me to park in every handicap parking spot..sideways.
 

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Thank you for this aftermarket site information. For $30 I can forget about the overhead heat issue. There are also a few other possible purchases I saw to make it more personalized.
Oh, JDenGlere: if you want personalization, there's 500Madness and Allison's Automotive and Road Race Motors. All candyland for us FIAT owners. Check out the Modifications/Exterior Appearance boards!
 

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I have to agree, in as much as getting an automatic would probably be the option of more people, I would likely consider that you choose a manual as you have been used to it already. it would not matter anymore actually if you are versed with the options you could choose from, but with personal preference, it would be a wiser option to go with the manual.
 
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