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Old 04-17-2014, 11:18 PM   #1
CTScott
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Drove a 2013 Fiat 500 for a week; Love my Yaris even more

I was in New Orleans for the past week doing a little family vacation. I rented a car, as we planned on also making our way out of the city a bit. With my rental package I could choose any car on the lot, but with no surprise to my wife and kids, rather than a Mustang or Yukon, I choose the smallest car there - A 2013 Fiat 500. I could have grabbed a Yaris, but when I travel, I always like to try other subcompacts for comparison. We were traveling fairly light, so luggage space wasn't an issue, but immediately my kids commented on how much smaller and less comfortable the back seat was.

The car was a six speed automatic and as I pulled out of the rental car area I almost turned back around as the acceleration was weak and the shift points felt very strange. By the time I made it out of the airport and onto the freeway I realized that it was just the nature of the car. Revving it up a bit brought the acceleration to an acceptable range, where I could comfortably merge onto the freeway and zip through traffic. The 4 wheel disc brakes had a great feel and performed well. The suspension felt a bit tighter than a completely stock Yaris, but the narrow width of the car made it feel a bit less stable than a Yaris in the turns.

The shorter length made street parking a breeze in the city as well as in the tiny parking garage at our hotel. We put just over 200 miles on it by the end of our trip and that was just enough for me (and my wife and kids) to be mighty glad to hop back in our Yaris after flying home.

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Old 04-17-2014, 11:36 PM   #2
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there is a reason so many 500 buyers opt for the manual transmission. the automatic in the 500 is quite awful and suck much of the fun out of that car.
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Old 04-18-2014, 12:30 AM   #3
trunkout
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I'll take an Abarth!
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Old 04-18-2014, 12:40 AM   #4
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I don't like the look of those cars.

So, I'm glad to hear that it's:
- weak
- less spacious
- less stable
than my beloved Yarii.

It would have been a shame if you had said it kicked the Yaris in every category. I'd had to handle the fact that it's a chick car and I'd have to begin to accept that although it's a goofy looking girly car, it had our Yarii trumped.

Nice little review.
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Old 04-18-2014, 07:27 AM   #5
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to be fair, and having owned a 500 for 2 years, I would have to say it handles turns and twisties with much more stability than the yaris. its upright nature gives the illusion that it wont. the manual 500 is by far a more fun driving experience (and even more so in sport mode with the better throttle response and steering). I also got 40+ mpg's as easy, and probably a little easier, than I do in the yaris.

the yaris is bigger and I expect a few less issues with it.
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Old 04-18-2014, 10:28 AM   #6
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Fix It Again Tony.

It's obnoxiously small, and even though I like subcompacts, I don't like subcompacts that small. I mean, what's the point? I knew someone at work who had a Fiat 500, and she regretted buying it due to all the issues she was having with it. I don't think she's alone. Seems like I've read a lot of complaints about this car online. But hey, each to his own. Cars ain't cheap, and if you're a working stiff like me, money doesn't grow on trees and a major investment such as a car had better be reliable. That's one reason I chose the Yaris and another reason I'd never consider a Fiat or a VW.....
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Old 04-18-2014, 10:47 AM   #7
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Fix It Again Tony.

It's obnoxiously small, and even though I like subcompacts, I don't like subcompacts that small. I mean, what's the point? I knew someone at work who had a Fiat 500, and she regretted buying it due to all the issues she was having with it. I don't think she's alone. Seems like I've read a lot of complaints about this car online. But hey, each to his own. Cars ain't cheap, and if you're a working stiff like me, money doesn't grow on trees and a major investment such as a car had better be reliable. That's one reason I chose the Yaris and another reason I'd never consider a Fiat or a VW.....
This, exactly. And Yes, you've read a lot of complaints on-line I am sure.
Great looking little car, but you can't fix FIAT (even Tony hates them)
Take a look at Fiat 500 forums. Talk about trouble.
Great photo CTScott, like that a lot
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Old 04-18-2014, 10:52 AM   #8
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Originally Posted by bentjazz View Post
Fix It Again Tony.

It's obnoxiously small, and even though I like subcompacts, I don't like subcompacts that small. I mean, what's the point? I knew someone at work who had a Fiat 500, and she regretted buying it due to all the issues she was having with it. I don't think she's alone. Seems like I've read a lot of complaints about this car online. But hey, each to his own. Cars ain't cheap, and if you're a working stiff like me, money doesn't grow on trees and a major investment such as a car had better be reliable. That's one reason I chose the Yaris and another reason I'd never consider a Fiat or a VW.....
That is definitely true. When we were in Italy a couple summers ago I had the opportunity to speak with some Yaris drivers over there and in asking them why they chose a Yaris over a 500, they said that the Fiats have significant issues. I realize that the US ones have many differences from the Italian ones, but I would still be hesitant myself.

The Fiat I was driving had less than 40K miles on it and it did have some issues already. The side skirts were hanging loose at their front edges (likely rental abuse, but still). The passenger front seat tilt mechanism (for letting people in the back) had an issue where after tilting the seat it would slide all the way back, rather than going back to where it was originally positioned. My wife smacked my younger daughter in the knees at least 20 times thanks to this issue. The charger outlet was dead and unfortunately it was something more than the fuse.
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Old 04-18-2014, 10:54 AM   #9
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you will always read about complaints on a car forum. the fact is that based on data on the 500 that has been out since 2007 in Europe and the true delta data to this point, the 500 reliability really is not an issue. service, which is primarily being done at CJDR dealerships, has been more of an issue. even the cars with the highest number of problems (per 100 vehicles) in todays JD power long term studies would rank at or near the top in reliability 10 yrs ago with the same number of problems. most cars are pretty reliable these days.
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Old 04-18-2014, 12:48 PM   #10
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Originally Posted by bentjazz View Post
Fix It Again Tony.
But hey, each to his own. Cars ain't cheap, and if you're a working stiff like me, money doesn't grow on trees and a major investment such as a car had better be reliable. That's one reason I chose the Yaris and another reason I'd never consider a Fiat or a VW.....
THIS. otherwise i would have gone with the more fashionable Fiesta. Roughly the same price as a yaris here (if not cheaper), but with a lot more tech goodies inside.
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Old 04-18-2014, 02:22 PM   #11
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there is hyperbole, then there is reality.

was Toyota considered one of the most reliable makes in 2003? darn right they were. the long term dependability study (not the quite useless 90 day initial study) had Toyota #2 at 196 problems per 100 vehicles. http://jacksonville.com/tu-online/ap...D7S5IAI00.html

in 2014, in the same study, the make that comes in last is Mini, at 185 problems per 100 vehicles . http://autos.jdpower.com/ratings/201...ss-Release.htm

This supports the assertion by most experts in the automotive industry that the least dependable cars of today are more dependable than the most dependable from several years ago.

It is even more telling that todays cars have far more electronic gadgetry to go wrong than they did 10+ years ago, yet the problems per vehicle continue to go down year by year.

so, I say buy whatever suits your desires. modern cars are all relatively reliable these days.....what has changed is the proliferation of social media and with it the amplification of every problem known to man.

Last edited by roxy1; 04-18-2014 at 02:44 PM.
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Old 04-18-2014, 04:11 PM   #12
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Great photo CTScott, like that a lot
So do I.

Scott, you have a good eye for composition.

Greg
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Old 04-18-2014, 05:54 PM   #13
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So do I.

Scott, you have a good eye for composition.

Greg
I agree . I've spent about 5-6 weeks (a bit under half of it volunteering in Orleans Parish) in the New Orleans area (in St. Bernard Parish, Orleans Parish, the eastern part of Jefferson Parish, and in the eastern part of St. Tammany Parish). The beauty encapsulated in CTScott's picture elicited a pang of regret that I have yet to make it to any of the plantations. I must do so sometime in the next few years....it's too close (about 350 miles....closer than SF to LA....not close to some people, but it is in my mind ) to not take advantage of the opportunity.
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Old 04-18-2014, 06:46 PM   #14
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I love, love, love the Abarth. I'd own one in a heartbeat. I also really dig the 500L (styling is growing on me, at least in Trekking guise). However, I can't say I'm a huge fan of the regular 500. The driving position is weird and I very much dislike the gauge cluster.

The Abarth's seats are different than the regular 500, and it makes it more tolerable. And when a car makes a sound like a Ferrari stuck in a shrink ray, I'll overlook the gauge cluster. :D
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Old 04-18-2014, 07:38 PM   #15
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Originally Posted by roxy1 View Post
there is hyperbole, then there is reality.

was Toyota considered one of the most reliable makes in 2003? darn right they were. the long term dependability study (not the quite useless 90 day initial study) had Toyota #2 at 196 problems per 100 vehicles. http://jacksonville.com/tu-online/ap...D7S5IAI00.html

in 2014, in the same study, the make that comes in last is Mini, at 185 problems per 100 vehicles . http://autos.jdpower.com/ratings/201...ss-Release.htm

This supports the assertion by most experts in the automotive industry that the least dependable cars of today are more dependable than the most dependable from several years ago.

It is even more telling that todays cars have far more electronic gadgetry to go wrong than they did 10+ years ago, yet the problems per vehicle continue to go down year by year.

so, I say buy whatever suits your desires. modern cars are all relatively reliable these days.....what has changed is the proliferation of social media and with it the amplification of every problem known to man.
While those numbers are nice, they miss the most important thing of all, how much the cars cost to fix said issues. Cost of ownership is so much more important.I wouldn't give a damn how many issues per 100 my brand of car has if I have an issue that is going to cost me several grand to fix, or has a required maintenance item that is absurdly expensive.
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Old 04-18-2014, 08:36 PM   #16
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While those numbers are nice, they miss the most important thing of all, how much the cars cost to fix said issues. Cost of ownership is so much more important.I wouldn't give a damn how many issues per 100 my brand of car has if I have an issue that is going to cost me several grand to fix, or has a required maintenance item that is absurdly expensive.
sure. depends on the car. depends on the part. mini was just the example because they were last on the list. there are plenty of parts/repairs on Toyotas and Hondas that I think are absurd. (price wise). I agree that on certain makes, preventative maintenance will take a bigger bite out of ones pocket.
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Old 04-19-2014, 07:31 PM   #17
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Roxy, u ever driven a JDM Vitz RS? Drive one & compare it to the 500. That I think is a better option to compare than a standard Yaris. Stock RS handles very well, better than most other subcompacts.
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Old 04-19-2014, 07:57 PM   #18
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Roxy, u ever driven a JDM Vitz RS? Drive one & compare it to the 500. That I think is a better option to compare than a standard Yaris. Stock RS handles very well, better than most other subcompacts.
yep. I actually lived in Japan for big chunks of 3 years. I still have more fun driving the 500, even the basic one sold here (Pop). the steering in sport mode is (imo)still better than in the RS, and with that short wheel base it is a blast to drive. interestingly, I never cared for the abarth. the ride is too jarring, and the extra power, for me, just isn't necessary in such a small car.

still, I moved to a yaris because I absolutely needed a little more room and I was no longer willing to have my closest dealer 2 hours away. I can still enjoy driving the yaris. give me a small car and a stick and I can have fun.
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