Car and Driver June issue

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Car and Driver June issue

cogtooth
June's Car and Driver compared a MINI to the Fiat.  Of course, being a Fiat owner I disagree with much they say.  
Bianco Perla Sport
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Re: Car and Driver June issue

RacerRon
I read that review. The reviewers gave points on each area of both cars (Mini and 500). Some of it was based on hard data. The 500 lost big on acceleration and braking. It won on interior space and a few others. Ultimately, it is up to the individual to determine which car they will be happy with. Right now I like the Fiat 500.
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Re: Car and Driver June issue

jamesday24
In reply to this post by cogtooth
I own both cars and look forward to reading the article.

Bianco Prima Edizione 345 from Fields FIAT
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Re: Car and Driver June issue

sjmst
In reply to this post by RacerRon
RacerRon wrote
I read that review. The reviewers gave points on each area of both cars (Mini and 500). Some of it was based on hard data. The 500 lost big on acceleration and braking. It won on interior space and a few others. Ultimately, it is up to the individual to determine which car they will be happy with. Right now I like the Fiat 500.
Right, same here.
Sam

Prima #499... Rossa.
Original Owner, 81 Fiat Spider.

Past Italians:

1991 Alfa 164b
1991 Alfa 164L
1994 Alfa 164LS
1995 Alfa 164LS
1991 Alfa Spider
1982 Ferrari Mondial
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Re: Car and Driver June issue

RacerRon
In reply to this post by jamesday24
jamesday24 wrote
I own both cars and look forward to reading the article.

I would like to hear your impressions of both cars.
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Re: Car and Driver June issue

ciddyguy
RacerRon wrote
jamesday24 wrote
I own both cars and look forward to reading the article.

I would like to hear your impressions of both cars.
Also, keep in mind that in Europe, they tend to compare the Fiat with the MINI One, which slots below the base Cooper and we don't even get that model here in the states, so when you compare the base MINI One with the Fiat, they are much closer, while the MINI has more HP, the Fiat is somewhat better in cornering and such and it actually can do the track a bit faster overall, though not by a wide margin and while the MINI felt a bit more composed, the Fiat came out much more fun and lively due to being a bit lighter than the base MINI.

A really good comparo is from Firth Gear from a year ago where Vicki Butler does a race around the track with both cars and the Fiat came in 1 sec faster due to its handling.

You can view the clip here.
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Re: Car and Driver June issue

jamesday24
I haven't really pushed the 500 too hard yet, but I can't imagine it handling better than my first-generation Cooper.  
Bianco Prima Edizione 345 from Fields FIAT
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Re: Car and Driver June issue

ciddyguy
jamesday24 wrote
I haven't really pushed the 500 too hard yet, but I can't imagine it handling better than my first-generation Cooper.
Remember James, the MINI One sold in much of Europe isn't the same as the MINI Cooper in that I don't think it has a powerful a motor and doesn't have the same setup as even the base Cooper but as far as the Cooper is concerned, it may have the upper hand, but even there, from one of the posters here who tracked the car recently against a Cooper MINI and found it in some ways a bit better in the corners especially despite having a taller center of gravity, but again, the differences were not huge.

The thing to remember, the MINI will out gun it in acceleration, but the Fiat will give the MINI a good run for its money in the turns as it's all about how fast you can negotiate the corners without losing control and that seems to be where the Fiat shines, especially in the Sport trim.


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Re: Car and Driver June issue

SeaDawg
In reply to this post by jamesday24
jamesday24 wrote
I haven't really pushed the 500 too hard yet, but I can't imagine it handling better than my first-generation Cooper.
Isn't the Mini version you have more akin to the Abarth than the Cinquencento?
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Re: Car and Driver June issue

RacerRon
I would like to see a handling comparison between the Mini and 500 with identical tires. We will see that soon as some people will start racing it in SCCA's Solo II competition. Both cars will be in the same class, G Stock. I believe Grassroots Motorsports Magazine is going to do a test report on the 500 soon.
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Re: Car and Driver June issue

jamesday24
My MINI is a normal Cooper (non-S), so it is close to the FIAT 500.

Both of my cars have Continental all-season tires, although not the exact size (15" vs 16").

I've never autocrossed, but I wondered about loaning my 500 to someone who does to see how it does against the MINIs in H-Stock (I think that's the correct class).
Bianco Prima Edizione 345 from Fields FIAT
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Re: Car and Driver June issue

RacerRon
Yes, you are right, H Stock is the correct class for autocrossing. I would like to see how both cars do with sticky r-compound tires.
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Re: Car and Driver June issue

sracer5
In reply to this post by cogtooth
  I read the article and quite a few things jumped out at me . 1st , there was no mention of the fact that many chrysler dealers will have a fiat tech so the 500 can be serviced if your not close to a studio. When I test drove a 500 with a sunroof ( I'm right at 6ft tall ) my head didn't come close to touching the ceiling ! The big point for me though is that at the tested cost of the Mini you can allmost buy a lounge loaded ! The mini cost a lot more than a similarly equiped 500. Some questions though , Why does the 500 Sport come with such a bland interior and  why no 5sp for the lounge! I'm on the verge of ordering a 500 convertible for my daughter  - POP , white with red & White Int.Alloys and Bose with a 5sp. List should be around $21300. $2300 less than the Mini in the test.  :-) and WAY Cooler ! And she will have 3 years and 36K miles to perfect her shifting technic . By the way a base Mini Conv. with Harmon Kardon stereo package is a whooping $27300 list . Thats $6000 more than the 5sp POP Conv. I described above. Ouch , Double Ouch !
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Re: Car and Driver June issue

Giallo Edizione
In reply to this post by jamesday24
jamesday24 wrote
I haven't really pushed the 500 too hard yet, but I can't imagine it handling better than my first-generation Cooper.
I had an '03 G1 MINI S till last winter. I have pushed the 500 and it scares the bejeezus out of me on curves that the MINI just cruised through. Best example is a tight downward sloping highway entrance ramp-where MINI just wailed around it, the 500 feels like its going to fall over. It wobbles as I try to get it in control. Its gripping the road OK (no squealing tires or understeer into the thicket) as the test report G's seem to confirm, so I realize its perception and a matter of getting used to the high point of reference and more tilt, but nerve-wracking nevertheless.  Now in tight turns, like whipping around a right hand street corner, I find the 500 to better than the MINI, which is probably the weight advantage and quicker steer. Also I find the computer nanny cuts in sooner in the MINI than in the 500 in those situations. That could translate better to faster autocross on a super tight course, even with nanny disengaged. Bigger turns and more straights and the MINI will win hands down IMO. I wish I still had my MINI for a real-time comparo. Sigh.
Giallo Sport "Enzo" (formerly PE 311. We don't need no steenkeeng badges)
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Re: Car and Driver June issue

kzod
Seems there's plenty of bias in this thread.  I don't own either car but have test driven them both several times extensively.  Personally I found the comparo dead on with their assessments.  The Mini is truly a tiny BMW, while the 500 definitely offers more bounce and wobbling around.  Moreover, the Mini is much faster, although seat of the pants feel didn't realize how huge the mini's advantage is.  

So, the 500 doesn't handle as well, is ridiculously slow, and to add insult to injury gets worse observed fuel economy!  Yikes.

But at the end of the day these are two of the coolest cars around.  Personally, I much prefer the 500's interior, and while c&d boasted that the mini had more amenities, I have no clue what they mean!  The stuff I care about all costs a significant premium on the mini.  In fact in Canada a comparable mini outfitted to match the lounge would cost a good $10,000 more (most cars are more expensive in Canada, the fiat less so despite our dollar being worth more than the US's.)

Personally I chose to buy a 500c Lounge and saving $10,000.  I have no problem admitting that the Mini is a better car.  It's just not that much better.  It's possible that my perceptions are biased by the fact that I truly didn't expect to enjoy driving the 500.  WIth only 101 hp, I expected a boring drive (think Prius / Insight), and was thinking I'd wait for an Abarth.  Instead it exceeded my expectations by a huge margin, much more so than when I first drove the Mini.  4 Follow up drives did nothing to change my mind either.  It's just zippy fun, and has the fantastic ability to feel faster than it truly is.   It's always seemed to me that it's much more fun to drive a slow car fast then driving a fast car slow.  And when that slow car is as light and eager as the 500, it's just about perfect.  I'm now at the point that I think I'll still prefer the base engine to the Abarth, which at 170 hp will probably appeal to the adolescent urge to burn out the tires, but not much more.   Although, if I had access to closed routes to really let er rip, then I'd be all gung ho to get the abarth!  
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Re: Car and Driver June issue

RacerRon
kzod, thanks for your insights on both cars. I wonder what other small cars people will consider, besides the Mini, when they are shopping for an A or B segment car? Toyota Yaris? Ford Fiesta? Mazda 2? Smart Car (ugh)?
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Re: Car and Driver June issue

cogtooth
In reply to this post by kzod
500 Sport with bianco perla paint, sunroof, safety, sound, convenience, and manuel transmission without destination lists for $19450.

MINI pricing to have the equivalent options:

base                            $21000
white silver paint              $500
anthracite headliner          $250
premium package            $1750        auto ac, sunroof, Harmon Kardon sound system
sport package                 $1250        16" wheels, traction control, fog lights, spoiler, sport seats
heated mirrors                 $100
alarm system                   $500
bluetooth, USB/Ipod          $500
Chrome exhaust tip           $107
Floor mats                       $119

total for MINI:              $25176        

The MINI may be a better driver, but for $5726 over the Fiat it should be.  One thing I could not get with the MINI was the ability to put my road bike inside easily as I can with the Fiat and that was the biggest factor in allowing the purchase of such a compact vehicle.  I live in a hilly area and no way can I come close to needing to use as much as 29 mpg even though I do have to keep the rev's up.  Some manufacturers want the car to have great grip on the turns, but as a safety factor, let the suspension tilt the car so the driver has feedback.  Maybe they had a preproduction car, but the manuel shifter is about as easy as they come, especially with hill-start.  Did their MINI have a sunroof to do an accurate headroom comparison?  One of the best features of the Fiat is the dashboard gauge layout being totally ergonomic, which of course C&D did not really like.  I'm not sure if the MINI can be used like the Fiat as a high mileage vehicle.  For a change, I tried the shift points that ecodrive suggested, most being under 2000 rpm, and I was pleasantly surprised that it can be driven at a very low rpm.  It is kind of cool that one can rev it up, or be eco minded depending on the mood.
Bianco Perla Sport
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Re: Car and Driver June issue

RedVespaBlur
In reply to this post by kzod
kzod wrote
Personally I chose to buy a 500c Lounge and saving $10,000.  I have no problem admitting that the Mini is a better car.  It's just not that much better.  It's possible that my perceptions are biased by the fact that I truly didn't expect to enjoy driving the 500.  WIth only 101 hp, I expected a boring drive (think Prius / Insight), and was thinking I'd wait for an Abarth.  Instead it exceeded my expectations by a huge margin, much more so than when I first drove the Mini.  4 Follow up drives did nothing to change my mind either.  It's just zippy fun, and has the fantastic ability to feel faster than it truly is.   It's always seemed to me that it's much more fun to drive a slow car fast then driving a fast car slow.  And when that slow car is as light and eager as the 500, it's just about perfect.  I'm now at the point that I think I'll still prefer the base engine to the Abarth, which at 170 hp will probably appeal to the adolescent urge to burn out the tires, but not much more.   Although, if I had access to closed routes to really let er rip, then I'd be all gung ho to get the abarth!
+1

I too bought 500c and am waiting for it arrive in a couple of weeks.  Priced out comprable Mini at the Canadian site at north of 34K before destination etc.  I was happy to save the money but also really loved the drive of the 500 Lounge we tested- it feels lively and fun even with the automatic.  At 6'4'' and coming from a Land Rover LR3 I managed not to feel cramped or lack road visibility in the 500 things I felt in the Mini.
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Re: Car and Driver June issue

kzod
Where did you buy the 500c from?  And what type of deal offered?

Cog ->  You misunderstood me I think.  I completely agree that for the price difference, the Mini isn't that much more fun.  But your other points seem a little silly?   Why exactly would you believe that the Mini wouldn't be as good for a high mpg daily driver?  It's quicker, better ride, feels much more solid on the highway and apparently offers better real world mileage.  

As far as the displays go, it's a toss up.  they both try to honour the original design elements.  The Mini's looks crazier, but frankly I can't imagine that anyone could clearly get a good sense of speed and rpm's from a quick glance at the crowded concentric rings display.  

Ron ->  Frankly I don't expect that too many people would cross shop much further than these 2 cars.  The Mazda 2, Honda Fit, and Ford Fiesta are all solid values.  The Honda Fit's possibly the best of the bunch.  But none of them match the upscale cachet of these 2 cars.  Frankly I didn't even bother testing the Fiesta or Mazda.   If the Honda offered some of their tech like Bluetooth and Navigation built in here in Canada, it could've been a tougher choice.  The Honda's fast, gets even better gas mileage, and has an incredibly versatile interior.  But it is also much cheaper, and seems less refined, much louder road noise too.   That made me appreciate how the Fiat doesn't feel like a downgrade from my A4.
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Re: Car and Driver June issue

cogtooth
I don't consider Car and Driver to be the definitive real world mileage judge.  What they test is not that important for day to day driving.  They focus on performance, the opposite being Consumer Reports which focuses on practicality and reliability in the short term.  High mileage does not depend on quickness or ride quality.  Prius is a high mileage car.  Does a MINI have drivability at 1500 rpm along with its great pickup and handling so that it can be used as an economy vehicle (ecomode driving)?  Try comparing forum responses for the answer to the real world mileage question. The concentric rings display is sure easier to use than a MINI or Yaris central speedometer display which makes one turn their head.  Plenty of drivers owning MINIs are using automatics (who really shifts them?), and does it make any sense for them to have a tach right in front of their vision, but the speedo is off to the center of the car?

I, too, did not like the lack of tech in a Fit.  As for a Fiesta, it felt like an inexpensive Ford and was not very exciting to drive.  I did not like the small back window view, seeing only the lower grill of SUVs.  If one has only one car, than the Fit would be best with its cargo capacity.
Bianco Perla Sport
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