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More observations on the Fiat

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More observations on the Fiat

ciddyguy
Yes, after a quick trip to Fry's for another external hard drive simply for backups, had computer problems, earlier in the week, thanks to a Trojan virus in the guise of Java 6 from Sun Microsystems...

Anyway, decided to go from there to Fiat of Kirkland to further peruse the car and although I didn't get the key to fully check out the audio system this time around, I WAS able to listen to the radio and while not an ideal source for truly testing out the Bose speakers, they did sound OK on regular ol' FM however.

I talked to another Fiat sales person named Ron as Erin was working with another customer and one thing I asked him was the steering wheel locking or not. It simply does not lock as the SKIS (Sentry Key Immobilizer system) is good enough in disabling other functions of the car to not require any physical locking of the wheel itself and yes, he was familiar with the Thatcham certification and thus the immobilizer used complies with the Thatcham specifications and is also the same system used on the Jeep Grand Cherokee since 1999 and perhaps other ChryCo cars as well.

Now for cars with keyless ignition and remote starting, that's another issue all together and at the very least the automatic shifter is physically locked until you perform a procedure, WITH the key in the ignition, turned to the ON position to release it once you enter the vehicle to drive off but since the Fiat has neither, it is not necessary, other than the shift interlock itself for the automatic to prevent putting into reverse or whatever without first putting one's foot on the brake. Systems DO vary according to what you have selected in the way of options but all will disable the ignition if the incorrect key is found to be used to start the car and WILL shut it down within 2 seconds.

As for the car itself, I'm still liking it, though the RAME still doesn't do me. There were 4 Primas on the lot, 2 Russo's, a Grigio and a Bianco, both the Grigio and the Bianco didn't do it for me, but the Russo, it's nice, love that shade of red and it's a red's red, with a touch of a blue undertone to it and definitely none metallic.

I discovered as I really worked the seats to my position that I wasn't using the height adjuster right the first go 'round and the seat was in its lowest position after all when I test drove the car, you have to PULL up more to get it to raise and the seat DOES have a fair amount of travel to its height and even I, a guy of 5'9"-5'10" in height, but with a 30" inseam, I can get the seat high enough that my hair can just barely graze the edge of the headliner in the sunroof equipped car and the seat is high for such a small car and you DO feel like your sitting in a chair, rather than something else low and slung. Ultimately I found that with the seat moderately raised, pulled up so I'm not straining to push the clutch pedal totally to the floor, the seat angle adjusted back a little, and got the wheel to where it just cleared 70mph on the speedo, I had the ideal position and was NOT too far from the wheel itself.

I can definitely see that the sun shade by itself isn't going to be enough, but it DOES help reduce glare however to an extent, but obviously not the heat. the temp, if I recall was 57 according to the car's outside temp reading but it was mostly cloudy with some sun seeping through the clouds from time to time.

I also got to root around the engine bay and it's crowded, but tidy and things well placed with the washer fluid bottle's neck just behind the right side headlight, the overflow reservoir behind it in plain sight and it's also where you refill the radiator when necessary as the radiator cap is ON the reservoir itself, no chamber for a hydraulic clutch mechanism that I could see so I think it may well be cable actuated as the only other reservoir is for the braking system as in the Euro owner's manual, they show the clutch reservoir next to the overflow bottle along the firewall, but due to the extra bracing, they had to redesign that I think, however, I could be wrong on all that.

As for the audio system, I found it not too complicated, the menu button gets you into the menus and it's easy to scroll around, just want to have things set in your driveway before you hit the road. Even without the key, I was able to turn on the radio but not use anything else, although I didn't have a CD handy, I might've been able to play one but didn't go retrieve one from the truck to try out. There do appear to be settings for individual sources, including the offset for the Aux and perhaps the USB port, as well as for FM and to access the menus means pressing the MENU button at the center of the tuning cluster on the radio itself to access and the up/down arrows scroll through the options, the left/right arrows adjust settings, not too difficult in my experience.

The plastics used don't look bad, about as good as is found in many cars, that is, hard and with a scratchy feel, but they don't come off as ultra cheap due to their textural feel, which is loads better than many cars sporting bargain basement materials although they WILL scratch if you aren't careful as the driver's door had some scratches, probably from the key as this WAS the demo I was prowling through. The tool kit WAS under the driver's seat, though NOT the tire repair kit (pump with sealant) but that is where it should be put.

I will say this though, the standard sport wheels DO look better with actual black inserts as found on the Primas, rather than the gray pockets but they are nice looking wheels none the less and look great with the car.

The license plate lights are indeed LED, and for a reason, when they redid the hatch to accommodate our license plates, they had to make the chrome brow smaller and thus the need to go with LED as they'd fit since the hatch has the soft touch release switch and conventional filament bulbs would be too large even if at their smallest size.

That said, I still can't discern if the side marker lights are LED too or not. If they burn out early, then they probably aren't and the phone app didn't list any bulbs for them so who knows.

Overall, a nice car and still would want to look at the various colors available and DID see a black, and it's a metallic black, rather than the standard black and it looks fine, but it doesn't show off the car nearly as well IMO as the red.

As for the dealer's showroom, it's behind the car wash building and is still, I think under construction as the dealer owns the building and is re-purposing it for the Fiat showroom and they are still working out of the main dealer building as we speak.

Overall, a nice afternoon was had.
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Re: More observations on the Fiat

sjmst
So, I have 1700 miles already. Years ago, one of Fiat's marketing tag lines was "the more you drive it the better it gets." That is still true. I use it as my daily driver, and I love every minute behind the wheel. it gets nothing but positive attention, though I am sure it is not to everyone's taste. It looked SO small to me at first, but now it is looking more and more normal. I guess this is my favorite car ever.

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: More observations on the Fiat

fredfrey
A few observations;
I passed the 2,000 mile mark - with most of it being the drive from Florida to New York that I just did!
I keep getting surprised by the build quality and quality of materials used. Just today I had to fold down the rear seats and I noticed how well designed the buttons on top were and the good grade of material used to make them. And how the seats fold down and latch back with perfection.

Now, done with the break in done, I'm starting to push the car much harder. Today on a very twisty road I drove it VERY aggressively and I was again surprised.

Yes, the car is very small - from the outside.  The inside is... again a surprise.

I was cut off on the road today and had to hit the breaks hard. Stopping was fantastic with none of the ABS shutter new cars often display.


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Re: More observations on the Fiat

Hannibal Faginni
In reply to this post by sjmst
Just wondering what your daily drive is like. Do you have a highway commute? How far? I do a 50 mile round trip. Been on two test drives so far, one actully in rush hour traffic right outside of Hartford, CT. My impression was that the car is very capable but driving position was noticibly awkward for me. I'm under 6 ft, and didn't really have the seat adjusted quite right but couldn't really adjust it on the fly due to lack of pwer adjustment. Second test was better, this time in a Sport with 6sp AT, so haven't had the perfect combination yet. Wheel tilts but doesn't telescope correct? Salesperson is bubbly and enthusiastic but said she taught pre-school before this job!
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Re: More observations on the Fiat

ciddyguy
In reply to this post by sjmst
sjmst wrote
So, I have 1700 miles already. Years ago, one of Fiat's marketing tag lines was "the more you drive it the better it gets." That is still true. I use it as my daily driver, and I love every minute behind the wheel. it gets nothing but positive attention, though I am sure it is not to everyone's taste. It looked SO small to me at first, but now it is looking more and more normal. I guess this is my favorite car ever.

I would think that their tag line may well still be true and I hope soon to get back up there and do another test drive. :-)

That said, this car never has felt too small as I once had a 1983 Honda Civic and I never felt it was too small and drove that little thing everywhere and it was roughly this car's size in most if not all dimensions even though I drove the larger '88 Honda Accord after that and now the Ford Ranger truck. The biggest adjustment wasn't going from the truck to the Fiat, was getting BACK into the truck after the first test drive, LOL.

I will agree that this car may NOT be everyone's cup of tea as it IS a car to be engaged in while driving and I would imagine the automatic equipped version will be similar.

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Re: More observations on the Fiat

ciddyguy
In reply to this post by fredfrey
fredfrey wrote
A few observations;
I passed the 2,000 mile mark - with most of it being the drive from Florida to New York that I just did!
I keep getting surprised by the build quality and quality of materials used. Just today I had to fold down the rear seats and I noticed how well designed the buttons on top were and the good grade of material used to make them. And how the seats fold down and latch back with perfection.

Now, done with the break in done, I'm starting to push the car much harder. Today on a very twisty road I drove it VERY aggressively and I was again surprised.

Yes, the car is very small - from the outside.  The inside is... again a surprise.

I was cut off on the road today and had to hit the breaks hard. Stopping was fantastic with none of the ABS shutter new cars often display.

Love the photo comparo of the car to the golf cart!

Gotta ask, how was the car on the trip from Florida to NY?

Having driven an 83 Honda Civic from Tacoma Washington to Medford Or (an 8 Hr drive down I-5 and back, not once, but twice in the same year) in 1995, I never felt it a fatiguing car to drive as it's similar in size to the Fiat and had working AC at the time and a nice cassette deck that I had installed in 1992, a few months after I bought it to keep noise at bay.

The seats were good, with the addition of a lumbar pillow under the sheepskin seat cover and the ride while not glass smooth, wasn't bad for a short wheelbase and was perfectly happy tootling along at high speeds and over the mountains into Roseburg and then again before dropping down into the Rogue Valley before driving the final leg into Medford. While living down there, did a day trip to Crater Lake and had fun driving that car long distances and before that shuffled up and down I-5 from Tacoma to Seattle commuting a lot as well and never felt the car was too small for long distance traveling.
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Re: More observations on the Fiat

ciddyguy
In reply to this post by Hannibal Faginni
Hannibal Faginni wrote
Just wondering what your daily drive is like. Do you have a highway commute? How far? I do a 50 mile round trip. Been on two test drives so far, one actully in rush hour traffic right outside of Hartford, CT. My impression was that the car is very capable but driving position was noticibly awkward for me. I'm under 6 ft, and didn't really have the seat adjusted quite right but couldn't really adjust it on the fly due to lack of pwer adjustment. Second test was better, this time in a Sport with 6sp AT, so haven't had the perfect combination yet. Wheel tilts but doesn't telescope correct? Salesperson is bubbly and enthusiastic but said she taught pre-school before this job!
My commute right now is roughly 20-30 minutes depending on the time in the mornings, can be double that in the evenings although now that my shift starts and ends a half hour earlier, the commute coming and going is much improved and I drive most of the way across Lake Washington via I-90 into Bellevue from Seattle. Coming home, a lot of the time is spend in slow moving traffic it it's not actual stop and go for much of the way back into Seattle and surface streets the last 1/3 of the way home.

As for the steering wheel, it doesn't telescope but does adjust for rake though and I was able to get it adjusted so it was comfortable for me, but again, do this before you go driving. I find that most seats are too upright for my back so knocking the seat back angle back a notch or 2  usually solves that issue pretty well and move the seat up enough to make pushing the clutch in comfortable is also crucial IMO.

Otherwise, the clutch itself isn't heavy like in many cars so that helps a great deal as well.
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Re: More observations on the Fiat

sjmst
Here's an observation: I have 3,000 miles on my car. In that time 2 cars almost went right into me. They moved into my lane so that I had to swerve. That happens maybe once every two years, normally. You'd think that though the car is small, it should not be that hard to spot. Maybe just bad luck (I hope).
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: More observations on the Fiat

jamesday24
In reply to this post by ciddyguy
I have over 1100 miles on my Bianco PE.  I haven't yet been cut off, but the white color should be easier to see.  The clutch is very soft and the distance is too long, but I'm getting used to it.  I find I like the more upright seating position compared to my 2004 MINI Cooper.  I'm getting as many, if not more, questions, comments, and thumbs-up as my first MINI did in 2003.  People like this car, the 16" PE wheels especially.

I drive in Sport mode 100% of the time.  My fuel efficiency is still improving with the current tank showing 36.0 mpg and I'm 33-34 mpg overall in mostly city driving.  The 500 was very nice driving on the one longer highway trip I made last week.

Unlike my first MINI, the FIAT has no rattles.  The sunroof is smooth and opens quickly.  It lets in just the right amount of air either tilted up or open all the way.  Still my only complaint on build quality is the variance in the white paint color from car to bumpers.

I haven't pushed the FIAT too hard in accelerating or cornering yet, as I break the car in.  But I will do that more this weekend to really see how the handling compares to my MINI.
Bianco Prima Edizione 345 from Fields FIAT
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Re: More observations on the Fiat

cogtooth
I can't really complain about the color difference of the bumpers in person, and is only visible here because of the camera angle.  My bianco perla has 4 coats of Zaino wax on it and really shines.  I am still in the break in period, and have left it out of sport mode.  I wonder if Fiat has made changes to the steering since I find the regular handling just fine.  My cheap phone won't pair it's contacts, but I don't use it much anyway.  Sirius radio is better in the Fiat than in our Mercedes, since you don't have to keep pushing the info button if you want to know the song and change programs.  The steering wheel radio buttons are easy to use, similar to an old Chrysler I once had.  The horsepower concerns are overrated as I seem to travel as fast as any other vehicle, but easily outpace them around corners.  I would not be able to use the faster acceleration of an Abarth since one should wait for an engine to warm up before having the turbo engage.  My only accelerations come when I am driving an un-warmed up car.  The Fiat climbs hills in the same gear as my old turbo Saab (which was faster than an Abarth in acceleration).  I think the Abarth comes with an upshift gauge, which I disliked and had disconnected in the Saab.  The Fiat may not be as fast as many other cars, but it is way more fun to drive and I'm glad I did not wait for an Abarth.  

 





Bianco Perla Sport
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Re: More observations on the Fiat

sjmst
In reply to this post by Hannibal Faginni
Hannibal Faginni wrote
Just wondering what your daily drive is like. Do you have a highway commute? How far? I do a 50 mile round trip. Been on two test drives so far, one actully in rush hour traffic right outside of Hartford, CT. My impression was that the car is very capable but driving position was noticibly awkward for me. I'm under 6 ft, and didn't really have the seat adjusted quite right but couldn't really adjust it on the fly due to lack of pwer adjustment. Second test was better, this time in a Sport with 6sp AT, so haven't had the perfect combination yet. Wheel tilts but doesn't telescope correct? Salesperson is bubbly and enthusiastic but said she taught pre-school before this job!
Update:

I drive a 100 mile round trip each day, and now have 3,000 miles on my car. I have to go from Long Island NY to Elizabeth NJ during rush hour each way. Highway and stop and go. MPG 37+ Comfortable at 70 MPH. And I have lost track of how many waves, smiles, stares, thumbs up, questions & compliments I have gotten this past month. More than 50, easily. My Ferrari did not get this much attention.
If I had to do it again, I might have gotten a POP with its softer ride. The sport is blast, but a little jittery over rough roads. Actually, I'm wanting a Pop cab badly. Saw them last night at the NY auto show. The entire Fiat display was first class, and the cars look like jewelry. These cabs should fly off the shelves. Oh, and add in Abarth and Abrath Cab? Nice.
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: More observations on the Fiat

Giallo Edizione
In reply to this post by cogtooth
But you Could put a red Abarth stripe ( sans abarth script) and red mirrors on that Pearly White and install some lowering springs when they beocme available and feel like you have the real thing...

( man when I see the pearl I keep aking myself why I didn't do that - then I see my wifes white car and remember why: too much white in the garage).
Giallo Sport "Enzo" (formerly PE 311. We don't need no steenkeeng badges)
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Re: More observations on the Fiat

cogtooth
I like your stripes.  I think I will do some tinting first, even though Maryland only allows 35% to be legal.
Bianco Perla Sport
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Re: More observations on the Fiat

Giallo Edizione
cogtooth wrote
I like your stripes.  I think I will do some tinting first, even though Maryland only allows 35% to be legal.
Yes, my tint was limited to 35% here in Mass too. Some shops will do more but my tint shop is very reputable and high quality and they stay in the legal limits.
Giallo Sport "Enzo" (formerly PE 311. We don't need no steenkeeng badges)
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cogtooth
I did not get a flat repair kit in addition to the spare tire and Jack of the convenience package.  The windows will close for 2 minutes with the engine off, but the sunroof does not close.  I stalled a car for the first time in years because I have it in hill start assist and it takes more gas to overcome the power of the hill holding brake with a manual transmission.  I would not know how to use all the features of the car if I hadn't read the posted PDF manual, because I did not get anything as complete. None of these are problems for me, just interesting quirks.
Bianco Perla Sport
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Re: More observations on the Fiat

Giallo Edizione
cogtooth wrote
I did not get a flat repair kit in addition to the spare tire and Jack of the convenience package.  The windows will close for 2 minutes with the engine off, but the sunroof does not close.  I stalled a car for the first time in years because I have it in hill start assist and it takes more gas to overcome the power of the hill holding brake with a manual transmission.  I would not know how to use all the features of the car if I hadn't read the posted PDF manual, because I did not get anything as complete. None of these are problems for me, just interesting quirks.
Yer pretty quick on the clutch if hill assist crashed your takeoff!

I find hill assist sort of cool-never experienced it before. Can take my sweet time. Maybe I'm just getting old....
Giallo Sport "Enzo" (formerly PE 311. We don't need no steenkeeng badges)
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Re: More observations on the Fiat

sjmst
Giallo Edizione wrote
cogtooth wrote
I did not get a flat repair kit in addition to the spare tire and Jack of the convenience package.  The windows will close for 2 minutes with the engine off, but the sunroof does not close.  I stalled a car for the first time in years because I have it in hill start assist and it takes more gas to overcome the power of the hill holding brake with a manual transmission.  I would not know how to use all the features of the car if I hadn't read the posted PDF manual, because I did not get anything as complete. None of these are problems for me, just interesting quirks.
Yer pretty quick on the clutch if hill assist crashed your takeoff!

I find hill assist sort of cool-never experienced it before. Can take my sweet time. Maybe I'm just getting old....
Yeah, same here. Though I drove my 81 Fiat Spider over the weekend, which of course doesn't have hill assist (or any type of assist). Didn't miss it of course, and it was fun as ever to drive. When I pressed the clutch pedal in on the 81 though, I thought it was frozen! I had gotten so used to the 500's super easy clutch.
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: More observations on the Fiat

Giallo Edizione
Yeah, had my 74 TR6 out too. Same thing, rassled with the clutch for a good while till I got used to it. Plus it had been sitting for a while so the disk probably had some rust build-up as well.
Giallo Sport "Enzo" (formerly PE 311. We don't need no steenkeeng badges)
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Re: More observations on the Fiat

Fiat500USA
Administrator
In reply to this post by Giallo Edizione
Giallo Edizione wrote
Yer pretty quick on the clutch if hill assist crashed your takeoff!

I find hill assist sort of cool-never experienced it before. Can take my sweet time. Maybe I'm just getting old....
It is kind of cool.  I still beat it some times, but all in all, it makes for a really easy drive. It can always be de-activated if it is found annoying.
Prima Edizione  29
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Re: More observations on the Fiat

sjmst
In reply to this post by sjmst
Update: Almost 5,000 miles. Only issues are slow clock and maybe a dash rattle..though rare.
I would also say no less that 3 people wave, smile, ask questions, etc per day.
Can't keep track of how many heads turn. A woman in a Mini actually backed up down a long parking lot ramp to ask me about the car. A guy in traffic yesterday asked me to roll down my window to ask me quesions and admire. These are daily events.
Avg almost 39 MPG, driving anyway I want.
Here is a pic from today.
A down-n dirty daily driver.
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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