Monday, August 22, 2011
First Impression: Fiat 500
Fiat has been around since 1899. FiatS first came to the United States in 1908. However, Fiat had a reputation for making poor quality cars and the running joke is that FIAT stands for "Fix It Again Tony." After poor sales figures in America, Fiat pulled out of the American market in 1983. However, two brands under the Fiat banner were still being sold in America, Ferrari and Maserati. Alfa Romeo made its return to America in 2008 with the Alfa Romeo 8C Competizione. In 2009, Fiat acquired 20% of Chrylser. The Fiat 500 is the first Fiat sold in America in 25 years.
I saw the FIAT 500 at the 2011 Houston Auto Show. The owner of Northside Houston Fiat brings a few 500s to the Houston Cars and Coffee events. The owner of Northside Houston Fiat brings a few 500 at the Houston Cars and Coffee events. I like this small car. I have sat in the interior of the car and it feels like it was built with car, unlike some other small cars. The interior does not look cheap. However, there is very little space in the back.
The American version of the 500 is powered by a 1.4L 16v I4 gas engine, paired with either a five-speed manual or a six-speed automatic transmission, that produces 101 hp and 98 lb-ft of torque. That is not much power, but the 500 only weighs around 2400 lbs. It goes from 0 to 60 mph in 9.2 seconds and reaches a top speed of 114 mph. Prices for the Fiat 500 start at $15,995. That is very low for any new car. It is not particularly fast.
The Fiat 500 has been reviewed by Motorweek. James May raced BMX bikers through Budapest during Top Gear Series 10, Episode 9. Jay Leno featured the Fiat 500, Prima Edizione on his website, www.jaylenosgarage.com. The Fiat 500 is playable in Gran Turismo 5.
Final Thoughts: Fiats were known for being unreliable, but the quality of Fiats have improved over the years. The Fiat 500 is one of the better subcompact cars on the road. The 500 is one of the better looking subcompact cars. It is an inexpensive car, yet the interior does not feel cheap. However, there are quicker and faster subcompacts on the road. I look forward to seeing more Fiats come to America.
Photo taken from a camera phone
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