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Discussion Starter #1
Hello gang, how goes it? Fabs here.
I've been thinking of getting a summer/fun car. I thought about the 500.
We have 2 small kids and think they will fit ok in the back.
I was gonna look at the base automatic model, but can also do manual. Is the auto really slow? Or ok?
I also saw the turbo model (non-Abarth).
Are these reliable engines? Or better to stick with base model?
Any years that are better? I was thinking 2012 and up.
Thanks
Fab
 

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Auto or manual, that's really your preference. Honestly I personally don't understand anyone, given a choice, who'd choose auto over manual particularly on a cars with small engines, but that's just me. The base 500 is NOT known to be very fast regardless... Neither the Turbo or NA are known to be particularly reliable or unreliable - it's not Toyota or Honda level reliability either ways. Don't trust anecdotal accounts, some experienced horrendous reliability issues, and some practically none at all, all you can take away from it is that it doesn't have a stellar reliability record across the board. With the base model manual, there was a recall on the clutch pedal stop, you may want to read up on that on the forum, there's about a million threads about that. Small kids will do fine in the back, yes. Turbo is actually a de-tuned Abarth, shares the engine internals, transmission, and all that, except for the interior, suspension, wheels, muffler and ECU. Whichever the configuration, all of them are really cracking fun. If it's the summer only fun runabout, I'd go with a cabrio. The roof mechanism will break eventually, but till then it's a lot of fun.
 

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I think the auto is plenty quick for what it is. There is a sport mode button too. You can use the gas pedal as more of an off/on pedal. There is a pedal lag on 500's unless you get a Go Pedal or a tune.
That being said I purchased a tune for a little more power, less gas pedal tip-in lag, and quicker shifts for my automatic. You can also self-shift (kinda like manual shifting) even though there's no clutch.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Thanks for the reply.
Fabio 13, thanks for the info. Is Fabio your name? If so, nice to meet another Fabio👍🏻. I wasn't sure if the auto would be a slug or not. My better-half doesn't know how to drive standard, hence the automatic, but she's ok if i get standard and i will drive.
Does a tune make a huge difference?
Thanks fab
 

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I’ve own my 500, for the last 9 1/2 years. Haven’t had any major issue. The know problems, on a 500, are rear wheel bearing failure, broken outdoor door handles, blue and me modules, stop functioning. Wiring harness to the lift gate, breaking, loosing power to open the hatch. Leaking front half shafts. Broken arm rest.

I would purchase a 2014 or newer. good luck on you choice.
 

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Thanks for the reply.
Fabio 13, thanks for the info. Is Fabio your name? If so, nice to meet another Fabio👍🏻. I wasn't sure if the auto would be a slug or not. My better-half doesn't know how to drive standard, hence the automatic, but she's ok if i get standard and i will drive.
Does a tune make a huge difference?
Thanks fab
Not a huge difference but still noticeable. Fiat recommends premium gas but with a tune it is required. Gas pedal tip-in lag is a pain but many modern cars have the same issue.

The basic turbo “T” would be nice but I didn’t want to deal with the extra complexity. You get 135hp instead of 101. The tune gets you just shy of 115. Not sure a tune is available on 2014 and later non-turbos.

The first early 2012 models have some teething issues but are fine if the known gremlins have been dealt with, most notably clutch pedal over extension and subsequent clutch plate failure (broken fingers). If you want to play it safe in the money department look at 2013 and up and maybe automatics. Manual is great if not abused by previous owners. Harder to abuse an automatic. It is a Japanese Ainsin-Warner six speed. By the way the engine is built in Detroit.
 
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Small point but I think engines in 2018/2019 (at least in the Abarths) went back to being built in Italy.
Really? None of the North American Fiat 500 were built in Italy. I actually didn't think any Fiat 500 were built in Italy.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
The Abarth looks cool, but too harsh for our crappy roads. The sport model looks nice.
I read about the clutch issues. Was it a large portion of them that suffered this? Did they have to put in new clutches? Is 2012 models to be avoided?
Thanks
Fab
 

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Really? None of the North American Fiat 500 were built in Italy. I actually didn't think any Fiat 500 were built in Italy.
Engines (as well as manual transmissions) in 2018/2019 Abarths were made in Italy, not the car!

Did some looking around also on the Pops and Lounges from 2018/2019 and it also looks like their engines came from Italy. So it appears US-built engines ended in all 500s in 2017.
 

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The Abarth looks cool, but too harsh for our crappy roads. The sport model looks nice.
I read about the clutch issues. Was it a large portion of them that suffered this? Did they have to put in new clutches? Is 2012 models to be avoided?
Thanks
Fab
It's the driver of the car.

Pedal stops were added after the fact which means the clutch plate could still be compromised unless replaced. Few clutch plates were paid for by the dealer. It's roughly $1400. After that and with a new added pedal/stop you're good to go. The Sport has a stiffer suspension than the Pop or Lounge but not as stiff as the Abarth. The Abarth also has a terrible turning radius.
 

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Engines (as well as manual transmissions) in 2018/2019 Abarths were made in Italy, not the car!

Did some looking around also on the Pops and Lounges from 2018/2019 and it also looks like their engines came from Italy. So it appears US-built engines ended in all 500s in 2017.
Yeah, 2017 was the last year for US made MultiAir, but I thought the engine supply moved to Poland, not Italy. And the transmission for the NA market model? I forgot, it's not the same as the Euro model though.
 

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Yeah, 2017 was the last year for US made MultiAir, but I thought the engine supply moved to Poland, not Italy. And the transmission for the NA market model? I forgot, it's not the same as the Euro model though.
You may be right...it may actually be Poland -however all the window stickers I've seen for the US 2018/2019 500's have "Italy" down as the Country of Origin for the engine.
 

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Pedal stops were added after the fact which means the clutch plate could still be compromised unless replaced. Few clutch plates were paid for by the dealer. It's roughly $1400. After that and with a new added pedal/stop you're good to go. The Sport has a stiffer suspension than the Pop or Lounge but not as stiff as the Abarth. The Abarth also has a terrible turning radius.
It's a complete pedal assembly that is replaced under S34 recall. The issue is all hit and miss, and some people never had never had problem with it, some did. It must have been bad enough for FCA to initiate recall. And I at least know one person who had new clutch go the same way AFTER the recall was done. FCA paid for the clutch replacement the second time, too. Whether FCA covers it or not totally depends on a dealer and how they negotiate. I can't off top of my head remember, but the S34 goes all the way to 2014, I think.

2012 and early 2013 has, this is really weird but..., different control arm design, and that part is obsolete, so if if the ball joint goes, you need to replace the whole control arm. I actually haven't seen this myself, because all the 500 I've dealt with so far have been late 2013 and later, but there were some threads here on the forum. So yes, the newer the safer bet.

So...the springs on the 500...Sport was said to have stiffer spring, and technically has a different suffix at the end of the part number, but I worked on bunch of Pop, Lounge and Sport, and they were all the same, as in they had all the same tag! Sport has 16" tires standard, that's what's making the ride/handling difference. Abarth does have different springs/shocks, properly.
 

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Discussion Starter #16
JB thanks for the info. So i guess, if i where to look at a 2012-2013 , the clutch still feels good, no issues, but has NOT had the recall, it would be best to get the recall done? maybe to prolong the clutch too?
interesting about the sports' suspension....so what you're saying is....that it's the 16" tires that make the difference and not the suspension? if so, can you just get a Pop or Lounge and slap on 16" mags to make it the same? might be cheaper too?
thanks fabs
 

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Really? None of the North American Fiat 500 were built in Italy. I actually didn't think any Fiat 500 were built in Italy.
assembled in Mexico, and Poland.

only the 500X is built in Italy.

First 500 engines, once came from Michigan. manual transmission, Italy, automatic Japan.
 

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JB thanks for the info. So i guess, if i where to look at a 2012-2013 , the clutch still feels good, no issues, but has NOT had the recall, it would be best to get the recall done? maybe to prolong the clutch too?
interesting about the sports' suspension....so what you're saying is....that it's the 16" tires that make the difference and not the suspension? if so, can you just get a Pop or Lounge and slap on 16" mags to make it the same? might be cheaper too?
thanks fabs
If the recall wasn’t performed, yes, I’d have it done. It’s free anyway.
As for the suspension thing, simple answer is yes. The tire differences between Pop/Lounge and Sport are significant. But it’s not really end-all. Some likes better ride from Pop/Lounge, some prefer slightly choppy, but grippier Sport. Besides the rims/tires, Pop, Lounge, Sport all had different interior/exterior appointments. Anyway, I found my personal preference in Abarth springs/shocks and 15” rims - I went through 7-8 different suspension configurations.
I’d look far and wide. Fiat 500 just isn’t a popular second hand vehicle, and price can be pretty low and not significantly affected by the year after a few years. I don’t often say This sort of things, but I’d avoid 2012 and early 2013.
 

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Discussion Starter #19
Thanks JB, much appreciated. I was wondering. in terms of tires, first off, is there a spare tire on this car? or is it like the mini cooper where they use runflats?
thanks
fab
 

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Thanks JB, much appreciated. I was wondering. in terms of tires, first off, is there a spare tire on this car? or is it like the mini cooper where they use run-flats?
thanks
fab
No runflats. Normally, all Fiat 500/Abarth came with the goop pump. The pump plugs into the 12v socket in the car, and goop canister is built into it. The problem with this thing, is that goop canister has a shelf life. Also, the reliability of the pump is really questionable. Somehow I acquired a few of them (all unused), one worked fine, one of them was dead (as in the motor was dead, again, the thing was new, unused), and one of them had goop hardened inside. Again, it was one of those "it probably wouldn't happen with Toyota" moment. You can have spare tire kit (that include jack and wrench) as an option, not for Pop/Sport/Lounge/T, not for Abarth. You may find a car that already has it installed, or you may find one without, and if you decided to install it, they are available. Another weird thing, there are two spare tire kits - one for 2012 to mid-2013, and mod-2013 onward, FYI.
 
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