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I have had my Fiat 500 1.2 Pop since March 2011 and I am in love. I never thought it would be possible to be in love with a car, but seriously, if I could marry this picture of perfection, I most certainly would. Prior to this I had VW Beetle 2.0 - which I equally loved, but after 10 years of being faithful to it, it started to fall to pieces and so I thought I deserved a new model. Out with the old and in with the new!
I'm going to be honest and admit that I know very little about cars and generally what attracts me to a car initially is the way it looks. And wow....this car looks so cute. It reminds me of what the offspring would look like between a Mini Cooper and a VW Beetle as it has a very distinctive small and bubble like frame and is full of character. It is small - there is no getting away from that - but if you sit inside one, it actually feels a lot bigger on the inside than you would imagine. It comes in a variety of colours and you can individually configure your Fiat 500 to look as you'd like it - but be warned that this comes at a cost. I opted not to have anything configured (alas, no racing stripes!) but I still have a Fiat 500 1.2 which is a beautifully shiny and rich red. I know I may be being a little biased here, but I think the colour schemes and the richness of the colours on the Fiat 500 range are one of the best on the market - and being able to configure your car accordingly says a little about you as a person (and your bank balance!). The car has alloy wheels with a Fiat centrepoint (also in red) which make it look quite sporty and nifty. It certainly is eye-catching. The inside of the car looks equally gorgeous! The dashboard is reminiscent of the original Mini except that it is decked out in two-tone metal and good quality plastic. As my car on the outside is red, the inside dashboard area is red and cream (or strawberry and cream as I like to think) and it looks very sophisticated. The steering wheel is also cream and is adjustable depending on your height and arm length. There is a panel with speed, revolutions, range, time etc. on a round disc behind the steering wheel which is illumiscense varies depending on the ambient light and therefore the digits are always easy to read. The inside furnishings can also be configured, but I opted for the standard design for my car which is dark grey and cream and again looks really great together.
From appearances and size I do think that many would think this is a woman's car, but funnily enough I have had a number of male friends comment on how they would consider switching to this car - and don't forget that the God that is Jeremy Clarkson gave it 5
Pictures of Fiat 500 1.2
**Please note: The photo isn't of my car as I'm 200 miles away from it at the moment, but it looks just like this but without the white stripes. ***
stars saying that it is "Cute, well made, practical, charming and hard to resist".
The controls are all easily accessible and easy to use, most of them being situated on the steering wheel or on the panel which is immediately behind the steering wheel. The indicators, windscreen washers, and lights are all operated from controls coming out from the steering wheel and are as standard as in most cars, whereas the temperature controls, MP3 player / radio etc. are all operated from a panel on the dashboard to the left of the driver. The speedometer, rev counter, range display, time etc. are all read from the panel immediately behind the steering wheel.
The indicators on the car are fine and turn off automatically once the manouvere has been made - although you can cancel it if you need to. Their are windscreen wipers on the front windscreen which have 3 speeds - but I do think that there should be a slower speed than is available as when it is just drizzling sometimes the slowest speed is still too quick. Their is also a windscreen wiper on the back window which is operated by turning a nozzle. Both windscreen wipers clear the windows, but they are a little noisy. The lights are fine also, although a little dimmer than I'm used to, but still bright enough. One particular thing I like though is that the lights automatically turn off when I remove the keys from the ignition and so there is no chance of leaving my lights on and having a flat battery! Yay! There is also the option of using the "follow me home" lights so that the lights will stay on for a specified time after you get out the car and then turn off to allow you to reach your front door safely. The external mirrors are operated electronically and they have a great range of movement to get them exactly where you want them. However, the internal mirror is operated manually, but again is easily adjustable.
The gearstick is a typical H style gearstick and is responsive without any sticking. I also like the position of the clutch, accelerator and brake pedals as they are not too high and so I can drive without ever getting ankle ache (am I the only one that gets this!?). I also love that one of the options is for the display to tell you when you should move up or down a gear in order to get the most efficiency out of the car. It will also tell you when you're exceeding the speed limit although....ahem....I've turned this beeper off.
There is a stop/start function on this car which means that the car will power down when stuck in traffic or at a traffic light etc. and then will start again once you engage the clutch. I do find this function to be a little hit and miss as sometimes it seems to work and then other times it doesn't kick in and I'm yet to understand why this is. If you want to turn this function off then you can, but I'm not sure why you would. There is also a "city mode" which means that the car has a lighter weighing to assist with parking - although the car is so small that parking is pretty uncomplicated anyway!
I was a little worried that going from a 2.0 litre engine to a 1.2 litre engine would be a problem for me - but it really hasn't been. I have driven other 1.2 litre engines and the simple fact of the matter is that this doesn't feel like a 1.2 litre engine at all. It actually accelerates quickly and I can drive at fairly high speeds without any issues. Driving on the motorway the car manages to stay at high speed for long periods and holds its own on the road. Yes, it may take an extra couple of seconds to get up to 70mph - but really, so what!
The can manouveres well - although when exceed speeds of 80mph (not that I do!) I do find that the car doesn't respond well to sudden movements to the left or right as it feels a little unstable. The moral of the story is not to drive too fast and then the car will remain your faithful friend. The car feels smooth even over bumpy roads and at high speeds - and the engine is quiet and sounds like a quiet electrical hum. The brakes are very responsive - although for sudden breaking you do literally need to floor the pedal - but importantly, they do respond well.
As you would expect, this car has power steering which makes driving so much easier (how did we ever cope without it?). As I said earlier, there is a "city mode" which is good for driving where you will be nipping in and out of lanes - or for driving on twisty country roads and, as I mentioned earlier, for parking. I'm not really sure how good this function is as I always forget to engage it because the car seems to be sharp anyway.
This car received 5 stars from the EuroNCAP for adult protection as it boasts seven airbags and means that in a crash you're more likely to be protected. As the drivers seat is adjustable and the steering wheel is adjustable, it means that the driver can have everything necessary set at the optimal position for them and this is going to make their responses much quicker. In addition to this, the windows are large and there really doesn't seem to be any blind spots when driving. ABS is fitted as standard, as is an electronic brakeforce distributor which prevents the wheels locking in a spin. There are a number of safety functions that have been put in with children in mind. The passenger airbags can be deactivated in case you have to install a baby seat. There are also ISOFIX child seat attachments in the back which is really useful for those of us with kids to cart around.
The car has a Fire Prevention System (FPS) installed as standard which will isolate the fuel pump on impact which means that petrol cannot escape and increase the risk of fire. The seats are all flame resistant.
This is where I have found one of the major advantages to be. Seriously, petrol consumption is ridiculously low and I've already saved a packet just on this alone! I have averaged my car to do about 57 miles to the gallon - which is pretty remarkable considering my Beetle used to just do about 32 miles to the gallon. In addition to this, I am probably driving my car much more economically because of the use of the optimal gear indicator and the stop/start function. I'm saving around £100 a month just on petrol alone.
Car tax is also a big saving. Because of the low carbon emissions of this car, my car tax is just £30 a year - another saving for me of £230 a year!
On top of this, I have a 2 year unlimited mileage manufacturers warranty - and a 3 year dealership warranty as long as I have done below 60,000 miles.
***Comfort and Storage***
Sitting in the front of this car is very comfortable. Despite it being a small car, there is plenty of leg room and space and it feels surprisingly roomy. The seats are comfortable even on long journeys. I was a little worried that the back seats would be uncomfortable as the back looks really small, but I am assured by people that have used it that the space is fine. There are fan heaters / coolers as standard which are controlled from the dashboard - although air-con is extra (I do miss my air-con!), and there is an MP3 player for entertainment with speakers in the front and back of the car.
Storage is surprisingly good. The boot is a good decent size and big enough to get two medium sized suitcases in it, along with various smaller bags. The back seats can also be put down if you need a bigger boot area. There is a "secret" storage compartment under the passenger seat where you can store a sat nav etc. And there is a hidden dashboard compartment in front of the passenger door. There is storage in the drivers and passengers doors also.
The price of near perfection is about £10,500 from a Fiat dealer. I have mine on a finance plan where I pay £149.00 a month for 4 years and then I have the option of returning the car or paying £3,300 to buy the car outright. If the car is worth more than £3000 at that time (they guarantee it will be worth at least £3000), then they will take the extra amount off a new car should you choose this option.
I LOVE my Fiat 500 and, at this moment in time, I can't imagine wanting any other car. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!
I drove an 800cc two cylinder (the Twin Air) one of these yesterday and it changed my opinion of the 500 - Fiat have done a lot of work, particularly on the suspension since launching it here and it is now a much better car than it was.....still don't like the driving position though. R. xxx