Mini vs. Fiat

Discussion in 'Shiny Things' started by Robert OK, Jan 6, 2012.

  1. Robert OK

    Robert OK Been here awhile

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    I know this topic has been covered, but am looking for anything new (especially experience with Fiat). I'd like to leave Ford, Subaru, Suzuki, VW, etc. out of the equation.

    I need a small car to be able to fit more bikes in the garage. Currently there is a long-of-tooth Prius in that space. Also must be able to do a bi-weekly commute on the I95 between New York and DC. Would like the car to be fun to drive to the grocery store and occasional 45 mile trips into Manhattan.

    It would also be nice if the vehicle was at least a little fun, because I'm not allowed any more bikes.

    Am considering convertible and non-convertible Coopers and the Fiats. Coopers are 8 to $10,000 more with similar options. Based on quick test drives, I liked the Fiat better. I felt less like I was sitting in a hole. On the other hand the Cooper seemed a little perkier. I'm going to to more extended tests this weekend. Would be happy to hear any yays and nays on either vehicle. Also on the Cooper front the Countryman is too big, so I'm not considering it.
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  2. UnderNewOwnership

    UnderNewOwnership Thread Slayer

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    IIRC Clarkson said that a 500 actually has better front seats than the Cooper (it has worse rear seats, but not by much).

    However, no matter which one you choose, don't get the sunroof. It eats a full two inches of headroom.
    #2
  3. bomber60015

    bomber60015 Anatomically Correct

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    I've driven both, like the Mini (Cooper S) much better . . . .

    I did hear a report on the radio a couple of days ago that the Fiat was greatly underselling the predictions, and the wag on the radio was predicting a Fiat retreat from North America -- this may or may not be true (the retreat part, I have read elsewhere that the cars are not moving nearly as quickly as planned), and may or may not bother you . . . . .

    + a bunch on the sunroof dealio.
    #3
  4. chazbird

    chazbird Long timer

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    Driven a friend's Cooper S a few years ago, and it is quite fun. The two people I know with them have complained about reliability /costs. I drove a Fiat 500 fairly recently, liked it at first then thought, it was merely OK. True, comparing the Cooper S vs the Fiat isn't all that fair. Anyway, I decided to try the Mazda 2. At least as nice handling, riding, braking, shifting as the Fiat. Not fast, but neither is the Fiat. The 2 gets the same mileage as the 500, and has a basic, although not over styled interior (like the Cooper & 500 does) and is rather comfy. Huge advantage: It has 4 doors and a usable rear seat, plus a little room left over behind the seats. A kinda neat car. Less than the Fiat, and way less than the Cooper. The Honda Fit has gobs more room, but rides harsh and has a noisy ride. The Fit's automatic is really sad, too. Didn't try the autos in the Cooper, 500, or 2.
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  5. Sniper X

    Sniper X De Oppresso Liber

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    I'd love to see both a Cooper S and a Fiat 500 Abarth on the track to see what's faster.
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  6. UnderNewOwnership

    UnderNewOwnership Thread Slayer

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    That's because the "predictions" were cloud cuckoo-lander cap'n insano hyperoptimistic. 50.000 in the first year, with the economy the way it is and over half the FIAT dealerships still unopened come summer was pure unobtanium.

    Nearly 20.000 cars sold, for a brand that has no history worth speaking of, entering a crappy market with a niche model, and having a crazy stupid bungled ad campaign (J-Lo? Who is she again?) is actually incredibly good, and pretty much everyone who's a real auto market analyst (that is to say all of three folks) said so.
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  7. bomber60015

    bomber60015 Anatomically Correct

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    fair enough -- no data is bad.

    I'm hoping Fiat sticks this time -- they make interesting prodcuts, and goodness knows we can use some of those.
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  8. Sniper X

    Sniper X De Oppresso Liber

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    More car enthusiast know Jeremy Clarkson than knwo or care who J Blow is. And the whole Jenny from Da Block thing has played out and was found to be bullshit anyway so why even go there anyway Fiat?
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  9. Robert OK

    Robert OK Been here awhile

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    A retreat would bother me. Didn't hear the radio report, but the New York Times in its 2011 Auto Bests and Worsts listed Fiat as one of the Worsts. Not for the vehicle but for the management and marketing. Apparently the North American president resigned, there was some brouhaha when J Lo couldn't get the car door open in some televised event (didn't see it) and they failed to have enough showrooms open for the introduction of the vehicle.

    Originally you were supposed to get 3 years free maintenance. As of Jan 3 that's no longer the case. Not sure where that fits, but I'll have to do further research.
    #9
  10. Robert OK

    Robert OK Been here awhile

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    Thanks for the tip. I've had moon roofs on the last 5 cars I've owned and never used them.
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  11. dlearl476

    dlearl476 Two-bit Throttle Bum

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    I'd take a WAG that Fiat (Chrysler) was tailoring their marketing more to 18-30 year olds who are very acquainted with J-Lo, as opposed to fat, balding old gits who follow Jeremy Clarkson. :dunno

    More good news from FIAT?


    As to the OP, I rented a 500 for a day's drive from Montreal to Mont Tremblant. I liked it a lot, my passenger didn't. (Probably gone soft from driving Range Rovers?) I've also had occasion to Zipcar several Minis, along with a few VW Golfs.
    My impression would be the FIAT would be a great errand car, a nice weekend drive, or a trip into the city car, but IF I had to include the NY-DC commute, I might balk. To be honest, I think that would get me leaning towards the mini. But the be perfectly honest, based on my recent experience, I think I'd take a long look at the VW Rabbit (or whatever they call that new mini-car) first. The build quality and the "touchy-feely" quotient is much higher in the VW than either of the others.

    Still love the 500 though. And when the Abarth comes in, all that might go away.
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  12. UnderNewOwnership

    UnderNewOwnership Thread Slayer

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    Do keep in mind that the Abarth has a firmer suspension than the regular 500. Those of you who live on pothole farms might want to think twice before buying one.
    #12
  13. dlearl476

    dlearl476 Two-bit Throttle Bum

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    FIAT owns Chrysler, and between them they're the 6th largest manufacturer in the world right now. Them going away would be the least of my worries owning a 500.
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  14. dlearl476

    dlearl476 Two-bit Throttle Bum

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    The regular 500 I drove (in "sport" mode) was pretty stiff already. It was one of the complaints of my passenger. Me? What the fuck would I know, I think my 911SC has a "plush" ride. I enjoyed the hell out of it. :lol3
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  15. Robert OK

    Robert OK Been here awhile

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    The Abarth is a pretty big known/unknown. The dealer I talked to today didn't know much. He thought around $25K and March.

    The Rabbit is over a foot longer. Would prefer shorter. As to the passenger comfort, my wife (the passenger for the most part) is the one who has been pushing me on the Fiat (It's so cute!). We'll see tomorrow.

    I used to ski Tremblant in the '60s. Always stayed on the North side. It was very rustic. I understand now that it's very slick.

    Thanks for the suggestions.
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  16. PoundSand

    PoundSand Long timer

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    not much to say. cooper is faster and handles better, the fiat is cheaper and better equipped.

    i've heard anywhere from $19k-$25k for the abarth; there obviously hasn't been any confirmed prices yet. at $25k would be suicide - that's $10k over base (cooper s is about $3500 more than base cooper), and more than the cooper s. a cooper s starts less than a cooper convertible, so it'd be nice if the abarth were less than the 500c, but i doubt that's going to happen. my guess is ~$19k if fiat is smart, and $22.5k if they're dumb.
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  17. dwthump

    dwthump Been here awhile

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    I got a Nissan Versa a couple of years ago and I love it. I get about 37mpg and it seats 4. Being 6'2" I have no issues whatsoever with headroom or squeezing into it. It also has a trunk bigger than the Maxima. It does tend to blow around on the highway but so would any car in this class. BTW, I only paid around $11,000 brand new and a mini would be easily $20,000 with any extras. Plus, when you have to replace the tires and shocks you will be in for a big suprise, quite expensive.

    Darren
    KLR650
    #17
  18. jake28

    jake28 Riding to the horizon.

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    I've put 20K on a Mini S and a member of my household just got a Fiat. The Mini S is get and up go fun and practical around San Francisco gridlock.

    The Fiat is a gutless wonder. As in, turn off the Vehicle Stability Control, put it in Sport mode, and shift the gears manually, and it is still incredibly slow. Italian cuteness with Chrysler build quality. The Fiat is cute. CUTE. If that is worth something to you, then that is all you need to know.
    #18
  19. aquadog

    aquadog Dude Buddha

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    Coopers have had some reliability issues, the newer Fiats are hopefully better than the old ones - which were nevertheless fun. Let's suggest something different...I have a 2009 Cobalt SS that I put the GM power kit in. 290 hp, 340 torque, it will rip any of the above a new one without breaking a sweat. Lovely motor, civilized, you don't have to work it to have fun. Good suspension, Brembo brakes, Gertag transmission, Torsen differential, forged wheels, GM put a lot of thought into how to get the performance pieces into it while holding the price. Very clever exercise in content. Do I miss the wind blocker on the sunroof (which has enough headroom for 6'2")? Auto climate control (gee, I can adjust that manually)? No. When GM wants to, they have the engineering muscle. And it can be serviced anywhere. It may not have that European cachet, but cars like this have lots going for them - stealth being another attribute.
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  20. Robert OK

    Robert OK Been here awhile

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    The Versa and Cobalt are too long. I'm trying to make space in my garage for more bikes.

    Jake28, gutlessness is a problem. Thanks for your opinion. Probably more noticeable in SF with the hills. I test drove it in a relatively flat are in Larchmont, NY where the acceleration seemed OK.
    #20