I <3 Fiat!Posted: July 21, 2011
I love this car.
It’s so cute, so fun, so zippy.
It’s way better than a Smart Car or a Mini Cooper. Much more stylish, and it gets a lot of attention.
I’ve had tons of people ask me this week what kind of car it is. The waiter at my favorite Malaysian restaurant chased my bud Sharon & me outside after lunch because she left her credit card. He took one look at the Fiat, parked right in front, and asked if it was electric. No, not electric but way cool. He expressed in his broken English that he lusted after the Fiat. Big love. I can’t count how many times someone has commented on the Fiat this week.
It’s a teeny little thing. Way smaller than my gas-guzzling SUV. It’s super fun to drive, with its tiny size and rockin’ engine, it feels and sounds like a high-performance sports car. I can’t help making the “nunnn nunnnn” sound when I hear the engine rev; this car is made by the same people who make the Ferrari after all. I feel like Mario behind the wheel. The other day with Payton in the front seat, we were just like Mario & Luigi.
Lest I sound like a traitor with all the Fiat love, let me state that I do like my SUV. It’s big, it’s comfy, it wraps me in a loving embrace of protection from any unpleasant jarring or ruts in the road. It allows me to tower over other drivers (something I secretly really dig), and I feel safe in it. But this little Fiat is something else. It possesses few attributes of my SUV but is so much fun I don’t even care. It’s zippy and carefree. Doesn’t everyone want to live a zippy, carefree life? (Get a Fiat, and you can!)
It has a super-tight turning radius and I can whip in and out of any parking space, even if I’m going “up the down staircase” as my sweet mama used to say. Sometimes I park my big ol’ Tahoe at the end of the row of parking spaces and trek to the door of the store, just to make sure I can get in and out easily. No such worries with the Fiat. Any parking space, any time, and no adjusting necessary.
The hatchback is so lightweight I can easily reach it and shut it with one hand, while the other hand is laden with my tennis bag, a cold beverage, bags of groceries, or the ever-present iPhone. My SUV’s hatch is so wide and so heavy it doesn’t even have a strap for shutting but rather a button to push to close it automatically.
This would be a great car for a teenager. I’m no teenager, but I covet it as my wheels when I’m free of kids, carpool, a Costco haul, baseball gear, and all the flotsam & jetsam that weighs down a suburban mom.
Man, even the wheels are cute on this little baby.
There’s not a car on the market that matches the 500 in stylistic expression. This car scores major style points. The interior is decidedly European, with the seat-adjusting controls on the right instead of the left. Never fear, though–the steering wheel is on the left side. You might start speaking with an Italian accent, but that’s up to you.
The gear shift on this particular Fiat is automatic, with the option to paddle shift, or shift gears without having to clutch. Personally, I like to clutch as it allows one to peel out if one so chooses, but the paddle shift is a nice option if your hands tend to be full while driving, or if you’re on an incline.
To paddle shift, you push the gearshift straight down, near the “D” and the plus and minus at the bottom, which allow you to shift and downshift. How many times can I use the word shift in my text? Shift, shift, shift. If you don’t want to paddle shift, push the gearshift down and to the right, and the smart little Fiat will shift for you. It’s the best of both worlds, really.
One word of caution about the Fiat 500: the gas tank is small. Like the rest of it. No junk in the trunk here. The tank is 10.5 gallons. I think my SUV uses that much gas just to get out of the neighborhood. Fuel economy is fantastic in the Fiat: upper 20s in town and mid-30s on the highway.
One of my favorite things about the Fiat is the round headrests in the backseat. How cool are those? Super chic.
Chic, and safe, too. The European version of the Fiat 500 was awarded a 5-star crash rating, and the US version has had several safety-minded upgrades, making it even safer than the 500s across the Pond.
I’m loving the Fiat. I haven’t even thought about driving my SUV for a week, and once I do, I expect to feel like a stranger in a strange land. I’ll be channeling Gulliver and wishing I was Mario instead.