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2013 Fiat 500 Pros and Cons at TrueDelta: Fiat 500 Pop with five speed manual. by LittleJohnny

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Introduction

A great little car - but not for most Americans.

Reviewed: 2013 Fiat 500

2dr Hatch 101-horsepower 1.4L I4 5-speed manual FWD

Why the 2013 Fiat 500?

Handling

These are fun to drive cars! They aren't as fast as most subcompact or compact cars. My previous Mazdas and Nissans have all been much faster - but this thiing puts a smile on my face most of the time. It keeps up with traffic and usually leaves most folks behind! Handles well enough although the ultimate grip is not great or up to modern sporty car standards. But it is very nimble, stops well, and is always egar to please. Probably one of the perfect cars to scoot around town in since it is so direct and easy to drive. If you drive a Fiat 500 you are not going to be bored!

Exterior styling

The exxterior of the car is almost jewel-like in its details. The paint has some orange peel like almost every make and model under $50K, but it looks good and stands up well to careful looks from folks interested in seeing one in the flesh so to speak. By the way, if you don't like being picked out in a crowd or being stared at, this might not be the car for you. The ONLY other car I've ever own that got slightly more attention from the guys was my Porsche (a rare model). And nothing attracts the ladies more than my Fiats lately. I have had women in mommy vans roll their windows down and shout out how they "love the car!" I've had many folks stop me in parking lots to ask about both my 500's. My wife is stunned at the attention the cars draw down here in Alabama. Maybe it isn't like this in California or New York - but it there aren't a lot of Fiats where you live, buy one and find out what it is like. Now many folks might not like the attention or the fact you can't blend in with one of these cars, but I find it a welcome change from all the bland or over-the-top Asian style these days. Great counterpart to the MiniCooper.

Fuel economy

Cheap to Keep! My Fiat 500 Pop with Manual transmission gets 42.5 mpg recorded on my notebook computer over the first two years of ownership. This includes the first day I got the car from the dealership until I stopped bothering to keep records since the on-board computer mpg calculations are with 5/10ths of my own record keeping. To keep this in perspective, I do little straight highway driving. I prefer using back rural roads when possible (highway driving is SO boring!). A couple times a week I drive 20 miles each way and the trip contains 16 full stops at stop sighs or intersections. The terrain is rolling up and down and on these trips without trying the car gets 42 to 43 mpg. If I work at getting the best mileage, I've gotten over 50mpg. True city stop and go traffic hurts and I rarely get over 31mpg until the road opens up a bit. Pure highway driving at 70 mph brings about 40 mpg and slightly less if I hold near 80 mph (maybe 38 mpg but don't do this often enough to get a real average). My wife drives a Nissan Sentra with the Variable Ratio transmission and drven carefully on the highway it can get 36-37 mpg from a bigger and more comfortalbe car. Yet while the Nissan is a very good automobile, it isn't like my 500 for just fun and smiles.The

Reliability & durability

The car has had one failure so far in over 20K of mostly local driving only. One of the tire sensors failed, but I got a local tire shop to fix it and didn't waste a long drive to the dealer. My wife's old Honda had more failures and repairs per mile than either of my Fiat 500's - so I am pleased that they always work and drive perfectly every day like most decent modern cars. I was a bit worried since I'd owned Fiats in the past that were really NOT very good cars. But these new ones seem quite good. I think the dealer service is very poor in my opinion and will hurt sales in the long-run. These are not "main-stream" cars so how the dealers treat their few customers make a big impact on how the car is viewed and its success in the market.

Interior styling

I really like the fact that the car comes in so many colors and the interiors have options besides the dreaded "Black-Everything!" I have a gray one with red seats and accents that I added gray wheels and red stripes. The interior is where I spend my time in the Fiat so the red and white trim helps break up the boring black. I traded a perfectly good Mazda 3 because the all black interior started to drive me nuts. The Fiat is much better although the interior plactics are rather hard and cheap looking. Still, this is an inexpensive subcompact that is very well put together and is certaily competitive within the same size and price band. Rear seat leg room is in very short supply but you can put two full size people in the front seats and have room for two smaller folks, (kids) in the back. Access isn't great but the fact that you CAN get four into the car is a real advantage compared to something likea Mazda Miata MX-5. And the hatchback makes it easy to use the trunk. The seat fold so when the wife and I go to Sam's Club or the like, we can fit all our bulk buys in my 500 without worry. I've had four in the car for short hops to lunch or the like and it is more problem getting folks into and out of the rear seat than the space back there.

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