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I'm referring to the basic Fiat 500 2012 on five speed, as in 500 Sport. I don't ask this as a put down to the car. In June of 2011, I came out of retirement to sell the 500 for a local dealer. I loved the car. I had a couple X/19s in the past plus several models of Alfa Romeos.

Most of the media reports and sites that evaluate car give the 500 the lowest possible marks. Are they missing something? Can the car be that bad as soon as it rolls of the lot?

One reason I'm asking is that I would like a fairly simple sporty car, used, to replace my SUV that I no longer need. It is an Isuzu Axiom, which was rated poorly by the magazines, but mine has had almost no problems other than normal wear and tear.

Thanks for humoring me on this request. --RBruce, Raleigh, NC
 

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RBruce, welcome to this forum. The American consumer isn’t interested in small city cars. Fuel is still cheap. SUV’s, crossover’s, and truck’s are in demand. All the car manufacturers have dropped there small car offerings. Fiat can’t continue to sell the same old model car. With very few changes. They need to offer other models in their stable

Our last Fiat Studio, still has 10 brand new, 2019 turbo 500 Pop’s sitting on the lot.

My 500 will be 10 years old next month. I has very few issues. Our 2014 500L was a different animal.

If you want a small sporty car, head to the Mini store.
 

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I think they are missing something. They come from a different mindset. I bought mine cause it reminded me of the 68 Bug I used to saloon race. This car is great right out of the box. The only substantial noticeable improvement was adding the rear sway bar. I call it F I A T Ferrari Inspired Automotive Technology.

My car has been extremely reliable even with a tune. All I do is follow the required maintenance schedule listed in the owner's manual. Heck any car will last a long time if maintained.
 
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My wife and I just got back from a trip to East Tennessee for the Fiat On The Dragon event. We drove a total of nearly 1500 miles without an issue in the 2015 Fiat 500 Abarth we've owned for a few months. It's not the greatest road car because it's short with stiff suspension and low profile Autocross tires, so it's a bit choppy on our poorly maintained Interstate Highway System, but a 500 with less racy components would be just fine. I took out my back seats so it has a ton of room for hauling stuff. During the event itself, the handling of the Abarth was amazing both on the famous Tale of the Dragon and the Devils Triangle, two of the most exciting and challenging roads in America. It's great fun to drive. One of my other cars is a brand new Porsche Cayman and to tell you the truth, during the entire weekend I never wished I was in the Porsche because the Fiat is so much more fun to drive. Not as quiet, not as smooth, not as luxurious, and not as refined as the Porsche, but a LOT more fun to drive.
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My wife and I just got back from a trip to East Tennessee for the Fiat On The Dragon event. We drove a total of nearly 1500 miles without an issue in the 2015 Fiat 500 Abarth we've owned for a few months. It's not the greatest road car because it's short with stiff suspension and low profile Autocross tires, so it's a bit choppy on our poorly maintained Interstate Highway System, but a 500 with less racy components would be just fine. I took out my back seats so it has a ton of room for hauling stuff. During the event itself, the handling of the Abarth was amazing both on the famous Tale of the Dragon and the Devils Triangle, two of the most exciting and challenging roads in America. It's great fun to drive. One of my other cars is a brand new Porsche Cayman and to tell you the truth, during the entire weekend I never wished I was in the Porsche because the Fiat is so much more fun to drive. Not as quiet, not as smooth, not as luxurious, and not as refined as the Porsche, but a LOT more fun to drive.
I've driven the Tail of the Dragon twice in my Alfa GTV6. What a blast. I wonder if any particular model year of the 500 Sport is the most reliable?
 

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Here is a copy of the letter my wife wrote months after buying her 2012 Sport ...... BTW Tim Kuniskis Called her a few weeks later and let her know he thought their marketing dept MISSED THE BOAT on this car also.

SHE STILL LOVES HER FIAT ....... and dreads the day her "Luna" will be no more
____
February 13, 2013
Timothy Kuniskis, President
FIAT USA
P.O.Box 21-8007
Auburn Hills, MI 48321-8007
RE: THE FIAT 500

Dear Mr. Kuniskis:

I am sure you probably won’t get to read this and it will end up in the circular file, but on the off-chance that you do – please re-consider the marketing program for this car. IT IS A WONDERFUL VEHICLE.

I purchased a Fiat 500 from your Ramsey, NJ dealership in late September, 2012 (Luigi-WONDERFUL SALESMAN, BTW). A little background: My 18 year old son totaled his Ford Escort in September. Since he is a college student and not working fulltime, I gave him my 1997 Toyota Highlander and started looking for a replacement vehicle. With both children in college; I no longer had to haul them or their friends and soccer/hockey equipment; and I wanted something small – just for me!

I test drove several Toyotas, the Nissan Juke and then came to your Ramsey Show Room. Luigi was great, but the car sold itself! On the test drive, my son thought I was going to crash the car when I took a 25mph corner at 50 (not a bright idea on my part), but the car hugged the road/never slid even on damp pavement/ and took off like a shot once out of the curve. After composing himself, my son noticed Sirius and BOSE and went wild with the music. THE TEST DRIVE SOLD US!

Initially, my husband scoffed at the old FIAT acronym (Fix It Again Tony) and thought I was crazy to consider it. After owning it several months, he loves it. In fact, he will usually offer to drive me to work (in my car) so he can have it the rest of the day. When I drove out to pick-up my daughter for Thanksgiving break, she laughed! She thought I was kidding when I said I bought a small car and assumed she (5’10”) and her crate of shoes, 4 bags of clothes and a suitcase would not fit. They did fit with room to spare. AND THE BOSE SOUND System! My daughter had her tunes blasting at 40; the car rocked all the way home from Pittsburgh. FYI - I love a great concert and the sound system in this car is the next best thing to being there.

However, to me, the Fiat advertising has totally missed everyone! I know Jennifer Lopez is quite talented, but she is NOT Italian. Nor is Pit Bull Italian! Charlie Sheen is funny motoring in the mansion under house arrest but NOT Italian. The Italian speaking baby and the Italian model touch the Italian aspect, but not much else about the car. The Fiats going over cliffs and become submersibles – not a good concept either! Really, would it survive the impact or water?

I hate to see this car go un-noticed or taken seriously. I am not Italian, nor am I into marketing or do I have any concept of the licensing costs involved, but thought I could put out a few better ideas than what you have had:

a) Recreate the toll-booth scene from the Godfather (“everything in life you learn from the Godfather”) (the most popular Italian/American movie in history). Have Sonny maneuver out of the way of the car blocking his path and accelerate away fast, leaving the gunmen just staring or asking “how’d he do that” ….CREATE A HAPPY ENDING for Sonny and leave the gunmen with their jaws hanging open and someone off camera praising the cars’ virtues!

b) Have Jon Bon Jovi and Richie Sambora (two Italian Americans) racing along Seaside Heights with their song (“In & Out of Love”) blasting on the fantastic stereo system, being chased by some young ladies. Have the car stop at a roadblock set up by some other young ladies (who they think are waiting for them) and have one of the girls ask “hey mister, just what kind of a car is that anyway?”
- I am sure there are other Italian/Americans celebrities you could get to endorse this car if you approached them. I don’t understand why you have had non-Italian/Americans.

c) Tie in the car with a more popular Italian Purse/Shoe designer. Women love shoes and purses! I know you have Gucci (to me is a bit stodgy), but if you could tie in a popular Italian purse or shoe with a new color in the car – you’d attract even more women.
- ADD BETTER COLORS! I have a black one. I tend to purchase black, but my daughter would love it in a hot pink, metallic purple or lipstick red. I have seen mostly women driving the car. If you had better colors and a more popular Italian designer Shoe/Purse tie in it will attract the 20/30 something’s.

I am sure your marketing department can come up with better ideas – but seriously – PRAISE the sports car aspect; maneuverability; ITALIEN designer; fantastic sound system; great gas mileage; wonderful warranty; and low price to purchase the vehicle and you will sell more!

Sincerely,

XXXXXXXX XXXXXXXX


PS: If the upcoming Fiat wagon is as good as my 500, my husband will be trading in his Subaru for it!

PSPS: If any of my ideas come to fruition, in lieu of a check – I WOULD LOVE ANOTHER FIAT! (seriously)
 

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I've driven the Tail of the Dragon twice in my Alfa GTV6. What a blast. I wonder if any particular model year of the 500 Sport is the most reliable?
Mine was built June of 2011. One of the first 500 here in NA. No major issue.

The only comments I have about the car. Really cheap plastic interior. Dated sound system. Same old car for the last 10 years. Why be a repeat buyer, if you can’t offer something new.

I’d be first, in line, for the 2021 500e. Hello Fiat.
110140
 

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My opinion. Having owned one for almost 4 months now, '13 Sport. I'm in the US.

It "looks" like a car for a 16 old girl. My better half even told me that.. "come on.. Isn't that car cool as h***"
And she said.. "Yeah.. if you were a 16 year old girl". To be fair, the one I got is Fire Engine Red, with a black
and red leather interior, so its a bit obnoxious, its one of the things I like about it.

Let me back up 2 steps. I had been looking casually for years to get a car to supplement my truck. Something newer,
STANDARD.... I HATE automatics, and my truck is an auto, and I'm sick of it, I missed shifting. So occasionally I would
look at cars, and NOTHING tickled my fancy, nothing. And then about a year ago, a guy I know bought one, and it was
ugly. Somebody tried BADLY to turn a yellow car black. And he kept talking about how much fun it was.. He had only
bought it because it was light and could easily be towed behind his camper. But he kind of fell in love with it. He kept
saying how much fun it was.. And I sort of thought he was a little crazy, and then I started looking at them, and reading
about them.

So, last December, I really needed to head back to the East coast. My Dad was going to start Chemo, and requested
my presence. I wasn't going to fly, so I NEEDED a car. So I started looking for a car, because my truck is "aged" and
my better half told me I couldn't take it, and she wouldn't let me take her Jeep, because she HATES my truck.

Now that I had to get serious about getting a S*** box, I had to start looking, and I kept coming back to the Fiats,
nothing else looked "Fun"... Nothing else had "personality".. Almost nothing else had a stick. If I have to drive a
S*** box, I'm shifting.. I like shifting, I don't even complain when my calf cramps up from driving an old mechanical
clutch in stop and go traffic. I LIKE SHIFTING!!!!

Found one on E-bay. Only 390 miles away. Bought it sight un-seen.. Never actually having driven one in my life.
REALLY good deal. It just talked to me. I'd seen black ones, and there was a yellow one local that just didn't
tickle my fancy. But man... That RED one.. I wanted her, I wanted her bad.

Worst case scenario, run her East coast to West coast a few times until I'm comfortable flying
again, and then sell it.

And then I started driving it.. Oh man.. It was so much fun. Its still fun. 7200 miles in 3 and half months,
and I'm not sick of it yet. Not selling it.

So.. What is wrong with it? What it IS and what it LOOKS like are 2 completely different things. I think
that is the fundamental thing that is wrong with it. The way it looks, and the way it acts are 100's of miles
apart.

It looks like a S*** box for a 16 year old girl. It ACTS and drives like an old school sports car. Its a bit
twitchy, quite a bit of road noise. Its a bit stiff, it doesn't behave perfectly. Its quirky. You actually have to
DRIVE it. My true love is old Datsun Z's. I still have 2, neither one running, and it reminds me a lot of those.
Even though its front wheel drive (first Fwd car I've EVER owned). It has that "feel".. Its RAW.. Its FUN!!!!
I have to DRIVE!!! it.

The other day I took my better half's Jeep to Walmart and to fill it up with gas. (Hey.. keeps her happy),
and it will do a 6 second 0-60.. Its a fricken rocket.. And I might have stood on it a couple of times.. But
it was BORING!!! It behaves too well, it always tracks dead straight perfect, foot on the floor or not,
just boring. There is no feel, there is nothing, it just behaves and goes.

A few years ago, I went about 80miles at between 110 and 112mph in her Jeep, my better half was reading a book,
and she never even looked over, never felt the speed. Never felt the road, never heard a noise, never felt a twitch.
BORING!!!! I could have been doing 50, it wouldn't have felt any different.

So, in my opinion. The LOOK doesn't match the FEEL. THAT is the problem with the Fiat 500. It looks
like a 16 years old girl's car... But it certainly doesn't act or feel like it. It wants to be a TR6, but its too
"Cute". It WANTS to be a sports car, it feels like a sports car, but it looks like a cute little S*** box.

People that want a cute little S*** box, don't want the feel of a sports car. And people that
want a sports car, don't want a cute little S*** box. At least in the US.

110142
 

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I'm referring to the basic Fiat 500 2012 on five speed, as in 500 Sport. I don't ask this as a put down to the car. In June of 2011, I came out of retirement to sell the 500 for a local dealer. I loved the car. I had a couple X/19s in the past plus several models of Alfa Romeos.

Most of the media reports and sites that evaluate car give the 500 the lowest possible marks. Are they missing something? Can the car be that bad as soon as it rolls of the lot?

One reason I'm asking is that I would like a fairly simple sporty car, used, to replace my SUV that I no longer need. It is an Isuzu Axiom, which was rated poorly by the magazines, but mine has had almost no problems other than normal wear and tear.

Thanks for humoring me on this request. --RBruce, Raleigh, NC
Well for me there isn't a darn thing wrong with the 500, mine anyhow. I have a 2013 500T that I specifically bought because of the manual trans, light weight, and it can be flat towed. I bought this 1 owner unit almost 3 years ago with just 28K on it and it is awesome. The motorhome hardly knows it is tagging along with us, it will seat 4 adults in a pinch but is perfect for my wife and I and the dog when we spend winters in the southwest. I will say it sucks on snow covered roads, actually scary but I don't have to worry about that because we drag it south after January 1st and don't drive it until we are in Texas or Arizona. I have 46K on it now and it has been dragged at least another 15-20K behind the coach. I have put 1 rear wheel bearing on it and drilled and slotted rotors and pads, and oil/filter changes. That's it. It is a hoot to drive. My wife doesn't care for it based on the way it looks but I really like that too. But then again I have owned all sorts of unusual vehicles in the past 45 years. The purchase was great in my estimation and the turbo just adds to the fun, plus it has the black background headlamps.
 

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Mine was built June of 2011. One of the first 500 here in NA. No major issue.

The only comments I have about the car. Really cheap plastic interior. Dated sound system. Same old car for the last 10 years. Why be a repeat buyer, if you can’t offer something new.

I’d be first, in line, for the 2021 500e. Hello Fiat.
View attachment 110140
Smark, I'm impressed that you're still a dude on this forum! I loved my 2013 500 Abarth (built in October 2012), mainly unmodified, every single day for 55,500 miles over seven glorious years. Battery died after five years one night. I live in Minnesota — I should have anticipated that event! My wife traded her 2005 Honda Accord in on a 2015 Fiat 500X Lusso when I was out of town, so I obviously didn't influence her. One of the parters in her firm drives an Alfa Romeo Stelvio QV, and hinted to her that there was a new, year old unsold 2018 Stelvio at our dealership. She made the mistake of telling me that tidbit. Being retired, I had all day to stop in at our dealer, where everyone is friends with me, and taking that Stelvio out for a sample drive. I called her, and said "If you don't want to drive an Alfa Romeo, do NOT drive this car!" Of course, that had the opposite effect I'd intended!

The price was a bargain, and obviously, she fell immediately in love with the Stelvio. Ironically, she never quit complaining about the monthly payment on her Fiat, but is happily making the same dollar payment on a car worth far more, and far more refined and one she truly loves. And unfortunately, I ended up loving to drive her car. I'm not, and never have been a fan of automatic transmissions, but in my lifetime ownership of 30+ cars, automatic was suitable for some. The 8-speed ZF automatic in all Alfa Romeos is 100% better than the worthless and clunky 9-speed automatic in my wife's former 500X!

Lo and behold,I awoke from a COVID-19 dream six months after my wife bought her Stelvio, fearing I only had a few years left to live (which is literally true anyway ), so I began looking up the availability of used Alfa Romeo Giulia QV's, only to find they were rare as hen's teeth, and still costing more than I was willing to cough up. And yet, our local dealer had just taken in a lease turn-in 2018 Gilulia Q4 Ti with exactly the equipment I'd have ordered if I'd considered ordering a one new! And the price was a bargain that both Edwards and Car Fax said was crazy good. Needless to say, they gave me a great trade-in on my pristine 2013 500 Abarth, so we're both driving Alfa Romeos now. Don't get me wrong! If I had the garage space there would still be my 2013 500 Abarth parked in it right there, reliably waiting for me to take the little bugger out for some glorious exhaust thrashing!

It's sadly easy to modify Alfa Romeo exhaust systems to sound just like an Abarth, but it just doesn't seem to be a thing to do, for us, anyway. I can make my Alfa Romeo ride just exactly like my Abarth, which makes me ask myself, "why in **** would I choose that option!?" We still smile and wave at Fiat 500s, and realize the owners have no idea why, since we don't drive Fiats, but it's still the SAME PARENT COMPANY! ****, half of Alfa owners we wave at are clueless!

We sincerely hope that this new Stellantis merger abomination results in keeping Peugeot and Citroen away from North American shores, because that would needlessly dilute the Italian brands like Fiat and Alfa Romeo! Sad truth is, North America is not going to be a continuing market for tiny Fiat city cars. Americans like brute size and excessive consumption! Maybe Lancia with chassis and engine crossover with other Stellantis brands, could become the "beginners" Italian brand to lead buyers to Alfa and Maserati? I'm way too old to know the answers to these rhetorical questions, but I'll never lose my love for Fiat automobiles, and especially my dearly departed 2013 500 Abarth! Thanks for keeping the faith, Smark!!!!!!!!! (I ride a 2015 Ducati Hyperstrada, which is perhaps scary at age 70+, but it's just the smallest fun bike made in Italy that's sold here, and I love every freaking mile I put on it!)
 

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LOL,

The 16 year old girl comment made me laugh. I was asked if I stole it from a 16 year old girl when I first brought it to work.

People have told me it's cute, I tell them I'm secure in my mascuIinity. It's a little (ok, a lot) more rounded than my old 126 that I drove from the '70s into the '80s and loved much, but it is the same formula, jacked up some with the turbo. Small, handles well and has Italian flare and quirks. I wish the plastic interior was a little more upscale, but then I kick it and its song makes it all better.

It is a lot more fun to drive slow car fast than it is to drive a fast car slow.

With the manual you have to drive it and it is built for that. Has anyone every had a better car for heel and toe shifting? I haven't.
 

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The 500 is like the minimalist approach. It has just barely enough of what you need (except in my case, it's a bit less as I don't have ac). It's manners are a bit rough around the edges but it's honest to a fault and it has no fear of hiding behind something it isn't. It's something you fall for. The Mini is far more advanced and refined. But it has that bit of something it's trying to be that it isn't. The Mini, imo, would be a lot more fun if it was kept smaller but it grew trying to be a "bigger" car, which it isn't.
 

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You can buy a 500 without a/c?
 
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