By on January 27, 2010

Retro cars sell on looks. Take the Chrysler PT Cruiser as an example – automotive perfection it wasn’t, and yet it sold like iPods on a Black Friday. Others, like the Mini Cooper, proved that retro cars can look like the past and drive like the present. But worth driving or not, almost every retro car introduced over the last few years has been a marketing sensation, bringing easy revenue and much-needed customers into an otherwise dull product line, and reviving deserted showrooms. No surprise, then, that upon reviewing the stellar sales of the Ford Mustang, Mini Cooper and the Volkswagen New Beetle, Fiat’s chiefs in Torino decided that it was time to launch a true Italian vendetta. It didn’t take long to find inspiration: the instant choice was the Fiat 500.

The Fiat 500 is to Italy what the iconic Beetle is to Germany. A small, bread-and-butter car that put a shiny new automobile in every driveway in a country plagued by post-war trauma. Introduced in 1957 and produced through 1975, nearly 3.9 million 500s were made over the years – and some 400,000 of them still travel on the roads of Europe today.

So, Fiat’s designers put their retro hats on, and in 2007, the new Fiat 500 – or cinquecento, as the Italians call it – was born. The new 500 is remarkably similar to its predecessor with a flowing and harmonic design which softly mutters – rather than screams – retro. In flowing Italian.

The end result of Fiat’s effort is a car that people smile at – on the streets, in parking lots and in traffic jams. Not many cars can be called ‘sweet’, but the Fiat 500 can definitely satisfy any automotive sweet tooth.

Unlike BMW with the MINI, Fiat has decided to indulge in some clever platform sharing. Underneath the shiny bodywork of the 500 lies a much less shiny car – the Fiat Panda, also the cheapest car the Italian company currently offers. And they have a very good reason for this, as the 500 significantly undercuts the Cooper in its pricing.

Does it show? In a word, yes. The interior continues the retro trend with shiny plastic that is color-coded with the exterior – it does look like an original effort, but a quick touch reveals the sound of hollow, low-grade plastic that’s not at all satisfying to touch. The interior is, however, well put together and otherwise very pleasant to look at, with nice touches and attention to detail – like the chrome surroundings around the buttons.

There are also some obligatory Italian-engineering quirks included with the 500. Take, for example, the seat reclining lever which is awkwardly hard to reach or the unnecessarily-complex gearlever on our automatic tester.

Space up front is not bad and the funky looking seats are good, but getting comfortable in the rear is a challenging experience. Although, surprisingly, rear legroom and space is ample, our tester’s rear seats were more of a bench, providing an awkward sitting position that inspired backaches after mere minutes of commuting. You do pay – handsomely – for this relative comfort, with the trunk measuring a miserly 185 liters (6.5 cubic feet), so don’t go planning any road trips.

Under the hood of our Euro-spec tester was a 1.2 four-banger unit putting out 70 horsepower. Combined with a curb weight of 1900 pounds, you may have already guessed this 500 won’t win any drag races, completing the sprint to 60 in just under 13 seconds. There is also a more powerful 1.4 unit with 100 horsepower, and of course – the Abarth with its 1.4 TurboJet engine pumping out 133 horeses (and a more impressive 7.9 second sprint to 60).

Our tester was also equipped with an optional Dualogic automatic transmission. This is no regular automatic though – it’s a single-clutched, manual based, computer controlled unit. Although it’s not a bad effort for this kind of a gearbox, after Volkswagen has shown us how to execute the semi-autobox it with its DSG dual clutch gearbox, it’s hard to go back. This transmission offers slightly jerky performance in heavy traffic and doesn’t shift as smoothly as a conventional automatic or VW’s said gearbox. There is a clever Hill Hold feature, which will hold the brake pedal for you for 3 seconds to prevent rolling down hills, but we’d rather pick the stick or a conventional automatic which may or may not be added for the American market.

But perhaps the most disappointing part about the 500 is its ride. In its seemingly natural habitat – urban areas – this Fiat provided a jerky and uncomfortable ride, crashing over bumps and minor road imperfections with what appears to be very short suspension travel. This condition improved when taken to the freeway, but we’d gladly trade some cruising comfort to spare our backs in town, not to mention that the 500 doesn’t feel very much at home cruising on the highway.

The upside to the harsh ride is the handling, which is good. It’s not as composed as say, well, the Mini Cooper, but the 500 is still a fun car in the corners, although we were limited in this judgment by the engine’s lack of grunt. The electrically assisted steering is a little too light and lacks a certain amount of feel, but all-in-all the result is fair enough. For tight parking spots and difficult urban maneuvers, Fiat has provided a magic button which makes the steering even lighter – frighteningly so.

So, what about the United States? Well, there are several question marks left, but the 500 is well on its way stateside as part of Fiat’s attempt to re-enter the American market after leaving with its tail between its legs back in the 80s. It will be produced in one of Chrysler’s North American factories, and the convertible version of the Italian mini car, called 500C, will also make it across the pond. There are also plans for a wagon-esque spinoff (read: Mini Cooper Clubman).

At least for the time being, however, Chrysler-Fiat have no intention of opening a separate Fiat dealer-network, so that the 500 will be sold in Chrysler showrooms, and well, we can see some problems with the idea, separate showroom floor notwithstanding.

But back to the car. The 500 proves that Fiat can do retro too. And although the obvious comparison to the Mini Cooper (fun fact: both cars were designed by the same man), the Fiat 500 is smaller and cheaper – and it doesn’t manage to hide it.

Financially, the 500 makes very little sense. It isn’t very comfortable, quality could use a brush up and it’s not the most rewarding car in the world to drive (the Abarth should fix that impression, though). Yes, it is cheaper than the Mini, but it’s by no means cheap. You could probably buy a modern, well-equipped sub-compact for the 500’s non-retro price, but that would be using common sense, and common sense just doesn’t apply here.

You see, the 500 has this sense of occasion to it. It’s a (relatively) cheap-and-(very) cheerful car, if you like – and it’s been a while since we could genuinely say this about any new car. It functions better as a fashion accessory than a practical solution, and if that’s your cup of tea, you might as well take a long sip. Did we mention that retro cars tend to sell on their looks?

This test drive made possible by iCar.co.il

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48 Comments on “Review: 2011 Fiat 500 1.2 (European-Spec)...”


  • avatar
    mtymsi

    Kinda surprising the 500 doesn’t have better suspension compliance being as how the platform is the same as the Ford Fiesta and I haven’t read any reviews complaining about the Fiesta’s suspension nor was I disappointed when I test drove one.

    As long as the 500 is reasonably priced I think they will do well with it. On another TTAC thread about the 500 it was stated the intention was to price it in the low $20k range which is way overpriced and will severely limit the sales. The 500 needs to be priced competitive to the Fiesta. No doubt a larger engine will be in the U.S. version.

    • 0 avatar
      PaulieWalnut

      It doesn’t share its platform with the Fiesta. The Fiesta sits on a Ford/Mazda joint effort platform and is a size class up from the 500.

      However, the 500 shares its platform and mechanicals with the Euro Ford Ka. Its ride was criticised in the the motoring press as well, despite Ford re-tuning the suspension.

    • 0 avatar
      Tal Bronfer

      The Fiat 500 is based on the Fiat Panda, and, as Paulie mentioned, shares its underpinnings with the Ford Ka. The Fiesta is significantly larger and competes in an entirely different class (not to mention it is devoid of any retro touches).

  • avatar

    With a curb weight much lower than a MINI or Fiesta, the 500 should have excellent handling. If it, instead, feels too much like a smart fortwo–another light car with an automated single clutch manual–it will likely have a similar sales trajectory.

    If the price is over twenty, they won’t sell many.

    Many Americans still remember the poor reliability of past Fiats. I’ll work on getting reliability stats for this one 4-6 months after the launch, as we did for the fortwo.

    http://www.truedelta.com/reliability.php

    • 0 avatar
      carguy

      Smart car comparison +1. The initial sales will most likely be driven by fashion motives just like the Smart. After that, the 500 will have a hard time competing with the Fiesta and the Fit even if the price is sub $20K.

  • avatar
    jpcavanaugh

    The retro factor is an interesting angle. The VW Beetle, Mustang, Camaro, PT Cruiser and all the rest sold well here because they reminded us Yanks of cars from our past. Even the Mini had a following here.

    Maybe I’m not quite old enough, but I don’t think that the Fiat 500 will remind many americans of anything. Of course it is a hit in europe, where lots of people are nostalgic for the little 500. But here? I’m not so sure that its popularity in europe will necessarily translate into popularity over here. To succeed here, the car will either need to be a great car or a great value. This review makes me wonder if the new 500 will possess either of these attributes.

  • avatar
    Mark MacInnis

    If they want to go retro, go the X-19….with higher-quality steel to avoid the rusty decomposition which plagued the original. Tighten the build quality, give it a modern 1.4 liter turbo, and a 6-speed manual, with near state-of-the-art small-car suspension and interior bits…price it under $25k….you’d have me.

  • avatar
    Detroit-Iron

    Not a fan of the retro stuff, but I am a fan of the existence of these vehicles. Diffr’nt strokes for different folks. And the people who pay a premium for the silly retro styling subsidize the sensible cars that I prefer.

  • avatar
    GrandCharles

    Don’t wanna brag but the Chrysler dealer here have two of those since December. One red base and one white fully loaded. They are really small when seen upclose, no space behind the back seat, nice design all around(cute as a bug!) They are euro-spec model that seems to be there for demonstration only. Anybody else have those?

  • avatar
    7

    First, the Panda is not the cheapest Fiat one can buy: the Seicento (600) is still on sale and costs 2/3 of a Panda. Not that it seems to sell…

    I once drove a 1.4 and it was quite fun, even if I still think the Abarth is certainly to one to buy if you want to do some serious city driving (ie going fast – though a smart Brabus is probably even better et that kind of game). The ride stays harsh but at least you’ve got the feeling there’s some power in the front. Fiat has even added a small button that, once pushed, is suppose to give you extra acceleration.

    It had a manual transmission (6 gears) and it was the first time I encountered a Fiat gearbox that wasn’t crappy, but smooth and precise.

    The 500 had also a very positive impact on Fiat image, making it less of a cheap dreadful Italian automaker.

  • avatar
    bmoredlj

    Makes me wish Toyota would make a retro Corolla…back when they weren’t so prone to accelerating out of control.

  • avatar
    Robstar

    What is the gas mileage of this thing?

    • 0 avatar

      The 1.2 reviewed here is reported by WhatCar as returning 55.4mpg average which sounds about right – my parents run a Panda with the same engine and dualogic transmission, and they get around that or higher.

      Possibly of interest is that much of their mileage is long distance (by european standards) highway driving, which might suggest these little italians will cope well with the kinds of highway distances you guys across the pond cover routinely.

    • 0 avatar
      Robstar

      Is that 55.4mpg where 5 litres = 1 gallon or 3.8 litres = 1 gallon?

      If it’s 5litres/gallon I think that would be 41.8mpg US. I’d figure it would do better…if it’s US mpg, then I’d definitely be interested at the ~ $15k price point.

    • 0 avatar
      geggamoya

      The official combined mileage is 5.0l/100km, which is about 47 US mpg and 56 Imp.MPG.

  • avatar
    Adamatari

    What about the fuel economy? That is one of the Mini Cooper’s big advantages – fun but frugal.

    I think the reason people buy Mini Coopers over Civics or Corollas is that there is a sense of occasion, style and fun to everyday driving that those don’t provide, but it still hits all the basic boxes for a car in that class (like fuel economy). It sound like the 500 is similar for a class down, so there is a good chance of success (as long as it isn’t TOO expensive). That is, just as long as it stays fun.

    When you say, “you could buy a modern, well equipped subcompact for the same price”, it reminds me of people saying, “for the price of that sports car you could get a nice sedan with four seats and room for luggage!”. For the potential buyers of the 500, the Fit or Versa or whathaveyou is a drag to own. Most people are only driving themselves, and it’s very important that it be fun. People will pay extra to enjoy the place where they often spend significant portions of their day.

  • avatar
    pgcooldad

    Chrysler will build Fiat’s “FIRE” (Fully Integrated Roboticized Engine) in Dundee, Michigan, starting in 2010, for use in the Fiat 500 and possibly other vehicles.

    The engine produces 100 hp at 6,750 rpm and 95 lb-ft of torque at 4,250 rpm; a turbocharged version goes to 170 horsepower (170 hp @ 6,750 rpm and 170 lb-ft of torque at 3,000 rpm). The engine includes MultiAir, a variable valve timing and lift technology which allows for separate timing of each cylinder. The system uses electro-hydraulic valve actuators; a solenoid energized with each rotation of the camshaft regulates the amount of oil sent to the actuator, which controls the amount of lift from completely closed to completely open. The valves can also vary the timing

    http://www.allpar.com/mopar/14.html

  • avatar
    Canucknucklehead

    Will this thing sell in America? Well, America is the land of Big People who drive Long Distances. That excludes like 80% of buyers right there. And a Fiat at a Mopar store? Who is going to train the mechanics to fix them? When I worked for the, we had only one guy of seventeen who could touch a 300. Not surprisingly he was also the only one who could work on Cummins stuff.

    Kill it, let it die, Studebaker all over again.

    • 0 avatar
      Robstar

      I guess by European standards Americans are generally large.

      At 5’11″/202 I consider myself on the big side. Wife is 5’1, 140. We plan to trim 20 pounds each by december. We both ALREADY comfortably fit in subcompacts here, I imagine this should be big enough for both of us, no?

    • 0 avatar
      GeneralMalaise

      Eh, hoser! … go back and smoke your meats, eh.

      a friend drove one of these that had been imported over here to support a charity drive and he got anywhere from 46 to 52 mpg driving it from SoCal to Nashville, Tenn.

  • avatar
    mjz

    I’ve seen a white one with manufacturer plates testing on Woodward Ave. here in the Detroit area and I’m here to tell you this thing is cute as a button. It literally puts a smile on your face when you see it. It will sell based on looks alone providing they don’t go wonkers on the pricing. If it starts around $12,000 and you can get a well equipped model for no more that $15,000 (Abarth/Cabrio maybe $18,000 max) it should do well. It is considerably smaller than the Fiesta, and needs to undercut Fiesta prices if its going to be successful. But this little baby has HUGE potential fo Chrysler/Fiat with the right pricing.

  • avatar
    criminalenterprise

    If Fiat want to succeed they’ll steer away from MINI and smart comparisons as much as possible. The 500 goes after cars in Europe that are smaller than the Fit, Versa, and Yaris but those three will need to be the competition it aims for in the U.S. The marketing message needs to speak the truth: would you rather have an anonymous chintzy Toyondassan appliance or a chintzy Fiat with Italian flair?

    The 500 has a backseat and is not miserable to drive, so I doubt it will arc like the smart offerings.

    Plus you get to say Cinquecento.

  • avatar
    Sinistermisterman

    I can understand the ride being poor. I test drove the new Ford KA and was similarly put off. The old Ford KA was well planted and a great little car by comparison.
    And the 1.2? Utterly, utterly gutless. I test drove the Fiat Grande Punto (similar size, same engine) with a manual transmission and it has no ‘get up and go’ at all – lots of noise and absolutely NOTHING happened. This engine would not appeal to the North American market.
    For Fiat/Chryco to make this car a success they cannot sell it for a similar price as other retro-mobiles like the Mini. The Mini is a well built, sorted, sporty little hatch, while the 500 feels cheap and doesn’t go fast. Yes it’s got character like the Mini but… it will have to sell at Nissan Versa prices to get people interested.

  • avatar
    T2

    Well, that mention of the Panda woke me up.

    When our reviewer covered the FIAT 500 DIESEL 1.2L MULTIPORT earlier last May, I commented that I would like to see Fiat bring their Small Generation Engines over here. SGE’s would certainly give hybrids a run for their money and green creds for Chrysler.

    But thirteen seconds to 60, albeit with only 70Hp, sounds like someone doesn’t know how to drive stick. This ‘aint Mini Cooper that’s for sure, more like Mrs Cooper. Good fuel economy and reasonable performance are not mutually exclusive you know. My ‘yota Echo at just over 2000 lbs with its stock 1.5L engine does 0 to 60 in 8.5 secs no problem.

    I am not familiar with Fiat’s “FIRE” engine, however going back to Sept 2007 I remember Fiat unveiling the Panda Aria concept in Europe with its Small Generation Engines. SGEs come in the form of 2 cylinder parallel twins.

    These 900cc engines were to be released in both naturally aspirated and turboboosted versions generating 65 and 105 bHp respectively and be 25% smaller and 20% lighter than comparable 4 cylinders. I would think it reasonable to assume that the reduction in the total number of machined parts acheived by reducing the number of cylinders is the best way to cut engine costs and make smaller vehicles competitive. So where are they ?

    The current Panda, btw, comes with a 1.368L with 72mm x 84mm bore and stroke.
    It spews 154g/km of CO2 while in contrast the Aria concept only 69g/km.

    • 0 avatar
      Tal Bronfer

      The specs come straight from the brochure – I didn’t time it. It may be slower or faster in real life, but this is what Fiat says. Besides, it was a Dualogic automatic, as I clearly stated in the review.

    • 0 avatar
      T2

      Ok TAL, I got confused

      “Our tester was also equipped with an optional Dualogic automatic transmission. This is no regular automatic though – it’s a single-clutched, manual based, computer controlled unit.”

      But a computer controlled manual threw me. That lower accelleration than expected explains everything. I bet it is being very gentle with the clutch !! In which case I guess they probably have a shaft sensor on the output side of the clutch so the ECU can match shaft speeds before releasing the clutch. Easier said than done if you don’t have the cushion of a torque converter.

      I remember in 1983 that Eaton Corp had a two-ratio gearbox with hydraulic actuator on an electric vehicle. The best their microprocessor could do was 2.2secs when shifting. In one of their White Papers they admitted that though they gained the expected better accel in the 0 to 30mph range, the subsequent 2.2 sec shift delay threw all the advantage out the window compared to using a fixed gear single ratio drive.

      In this case I expect that 13 secs requires you to still be in second gear at 60mph.

    • 0 avatar
      Tal Bronfer

      I’m not sure the blame for the acceleration figure lies solely in the gearbox – it shifts fairly swiftly, albeit uncomfortably. It’s just not a lot of horsepower on a fair bit of car – this isn’t the original 500, and (in the higher-spec’ed versions) with a curb weight figure nearing one ton, it isn’t exactly featherlight.

  • avatar
    Robert Schwartz

    “Maybe I’m not quite old enough, but I don’t think that the Fiat 500 will remind many americans of anything.”

    I agree. I am old enough, and my only memory of the 500 was reading about it in Road & Track.

    It won’t sell on nostalgia in the US, and I am not sure that cute is enough. They may be able to sell on price/economy, if gasoline goes over $3 and stays there and the MSRP is well under $10K.

    • 0 avatar
      Roundel

      Forgive me for being blunt… but what is it with people thinking that since the car is small, it should automatically sell for less than 10 large. This is no Nano, and neither is the smart. But I guess Americans only can equate size to price, not quality, engineering, safety kit, features or anything else.

    • 0 avatar
      wsn

      Roundel, it’s not just the size. Ferrari cars are small, but expensive. But this is no Ferrari. It looks to be inferior to a Nissan Versa in many ways. And since the Versa can be had for a bit over $10k. It’s entirely expect this car to sell for under $10k. That is, if they are serious about selling in quantities. If it costs $15k, then it will likely sell 500/year, as the name indicates.

  • avatar
    NickR

    I liked the styling of the Honda’s EVN concept more. A fresh but cute design that doesn’t rely on nostalgia.

    Oddly enough the old 500 with its slightly more upright pillars looks like it was roomier.

    I am waiting for the first tuner to put a Hayabusa engine in one of these like they did with a Smart.

    Speaking of nostalgia, can BMW resurrect the Isetta please? Now that would be a hoot.

  • avatar
    Kristjan Ambroz

    Another thing you forget to mention is that the 500 is actually quite a bit roomier thant the new MINI, in spite of being smaller on the outside.

    I would also be very surprised if they brought the 1.2l version over, or the curent automatised manual – especially since a dual clutch transmission is just about to be launched on the Punto Evo for the same engines as in the 500.

    All in all, the 500 will be leagues ahead of a Smart however you look at it but it will not be uite as polished as a MINI. If everything goes OK it should cost quite a bit less than the latter, too, so it could actually work.

    • 0 avatar
      Tal Bronfer

      I didn’t have a MINI nearby to make space comparisons, but I did mention it was pretty roomy in the back. The problem isn’t much about space, it’s about those seats themselves – I reckon higher trim levels have a more comfortable setup.

      Besides, you wouldn’t want to have an adult riding in the back on a regular basis. He could kill you. This really isn’t the car for a family and the back seats are for special occasions only, like the third row in a compact MPV.

  • avatar
    Wheely

    The dash material may be cheap, but at least it looks better than the MINI. When I was looking for a small car but relatively fun car, the sheer ugliness of the MINI interior (combined with cheap materials) put me off and I went for an Audi TT instead.

    There was, and I think there is still is, a market for small cars that don’t scream “economy” or “bland”, and it looks like I’m not the only one. But make it crappy, and I’m no longer interested. Not having seen the 500 in person, I couldn’t say where it falls.

    • 0 avatar
      Tal Bronfer

      Well, looks are a matter of personal taste. But you can’t expect a MINI Cooper to match the trim level of an Audi TT – these are two very different cars, for very different people and for very different budgets.

    • 0 avatar
      Wheely

      That’s fair. The cars are in different price ranges, although the base level 1st generation TT was a lot closer to the top level MINI than it is today.

      I think the 1st gen TT (especially the FWD, 180hp one) is a good example of a small “premium” car. The platform is shared with less expensive cars and to many the car is an underperformer when compared to, say, a Boxter, Z3/Z4, etc. But… it sells.

      Just saying that there’s a market for this approach. A Fiat 500 that’s a a few thousand more expensive than it’s pure competitors on specs, but is more interesting/fun/cute/unusual/whatever, may sell well, even in this economy.

  • avatar
    krhodes1

    +1 to Roundel!

    Americans seem conditioned to buy cars by the pound. It costs money to make a clever, small, car. Any idiot can make something like a Tahoe, but to make something the size of a 500 takes actual engineering expertise, and expensive materials. After all, most of a bigger car is just air, the actual difference in materials is quite small.

    I think the 500 WILL sell on cute over all other factors. Afterall, NO ONE in thier right mind would buy a New Beetle over a Golf, yet VW sold many times as many NBs in the US as Golfs. Cute sells. And it is not like Chrysler has huge aspirations for sales of the 500, it will be a showroom traffic generator, and meets some requirement of the Fiat takeover deal. I have heard 20K a year as the target.

    • 0 avatar
      paulbob

      krhodes1 seems like quite a character. A bit of a curmudgeon. But so am I.

      I think that he is on to something here. I really don’t think that many people looking at a Fiat 500 is going to be shopping the Nissan Versa, Toyota Yaris, etc. Those cars have no panache. Even a shopper who has never seen the original 500 (and most people never saw an original Mini either) you can tell that this car is something special.

      Here’s what grinds my gears about car reviews in general: it seems that if it doesn’t seat 7 people, haul a bunch of luggage, go off-road, and tow a boat, then it gets criticized. People forget that some of us don’t have children and live in the city where we need to find on-street parking. We need small.

      As for ride complaints, I don’t find the ride of a car to be very important around the city, where I make almost all my trips. How many long trips do most of us make? I probably get out of the city limits once a month and then I’m driving to Chicago, where the 500 would also be handy to park.

  • avatar
    cherrera

    Fiat specializes in small cars, so you’ll be surprised by the interior room in their smaller cars, the 500 is no exception.

    I saw one 500 yesterday, in black. People stared at it, some of them smiling. I was pleased to see that there are cars out there that can still provoke this reaction.

  • avatar

    The Fiat 500 we’ll see in the US will have a 1.4L MultiAir engine with 100hp, so you shouldn’t worry about the car being slow like the 1.2L.

    Here’s a little bit more info on the Dualogic trans.

    The Dualogic gearbox technology is derived directly from the Ferrari 355 F1 system. This is a manual 5 speed with an add on hydro electric servo that controls the dry clutch and shift lever. You can drive it as an automatic, with shifting done automatically or use it as a manual transmission.

    This maintains all the advantages of a dry clutch and a mechanical gearbox (weight, sturdiness and reliability, low energy consumption)but offers an automated driving experience at a low cost.

    Fiat is producing a dual dry clutch trans like was mentioned in the road test, which might find its way into the future 500, but is not listed as a current option.

    By the way, the 500 Abarth will have a 1.4L MultiAir Turbo with 170hp! You can read about it here:

    http://fiat500usa.blogspot.com/2010/01/us-fiat-500-abarthhow-much-horsepower.html

  • avatar
    fred schumacher

    Read the book Traffic. Seven-eighths of the time we drive alone. The most important seat in the car is the driver’s. The back seat can be a board for all the use it’s going to get. If you have to haul a lot of passengers, that’s what minivans are for.

    Chrysler, unlike Ford and GM, made money with its small cars, like the Neon and PT Cruiser. It was Daimler that ruined that record. Fiat knows how to make small cars. They should be a good fit for Chrysler. Americans don’t like diesels, so Fiat’s Multiair gasoline engines will be more important over here than in Europe.

    I would like to see them make the 900 cc. two-cylinder available in the U.S. — break the cookie-cutter four cylinder mold with an engine that gets 25% better fuel economy at the same horsepower — and sell them at $12,000 or less. Fuel economy of a Prius at half the price, and it’s super easy to park. A station wagon version could end up dominating the urban courier/light delivery vehicle market.

  • avatar
    Moparman426W

    I can’t really see much of a market for these cars in the US. But i’m sure that when they first come out a lot of young females will want them just because they’re small and cute.
    Nine times out of ten when I see a beetle or mini there’s a younger female driving it, so it will probably be the same with this car.

  • avatar
    joeaverage

    I’d propose that young women may be some of the only Americans who are “confident” enough to drive small cute cars.

    American guys “gotta” have big and tough and fast cars.

    We American males apparently have limited tastes in transportation.

    I hope they sell as many 500s as BMW has the Mini.

    I’m tired of the cartoon character muscle cars (Camaro) and monster trucks (like the one I saw yesterday with fangs – literally).

  • avatar
    Buckshot

    You americans will someday realise that a car doesn´t compensate for the lack of sexual ability, and choose cars that suit you needs.

  • avatar
    Moparman426W

    I’m not sure where you live, Buckshot, but I’m going to assume maybe Italy? Here in the US we have wide open spaces, and some of us happen to own homes, unlike some other places where people live on top of each other and bang around on tiny crowded streets in little boxes on wheels.
    Owning a large car or truck has nothing to do with a person’s “sexual ability.” The reason some of us own them is because we need them, or simlpy can afford them and should not have to settle for something we don’t want.
    It would be a real pain for a homeowner to have to pay to have something delivered every time he needs a new appliance, or furniture, because it won’t fit in a little tin box of a car.
    Some of us can afford things like boats, and ATV’S. How would you get them around with a little car like that? And if you decide to remodel your kitchen, or do landscaping around your property, how could you possibly get the things you need to your home in a small car like that?
    It gets old hearing people that have nothing put down those that buy things that they can have.

  • avatar
    Buckshot

    It´s true that some people needs big cars, but here(Sweden) we have a large number of single commuters that don´t need a land yacht or a monster suv.
    And who said that you only can have one car for all your possible needs?

    Moparman426w: Here in Sweden we also have wide open spaces, and some of us happen to own homes.
    I assume that you own a big car?

  • avatar
    d503kemp

    “Retro cars sell on looks. Take the Chrysler PT Cruiser as an example – automotive perfection it wasn’t, and yet it sold like iPods on a Black Friday.” That is a nice turn of phrase there.


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