Jun 30th, 2011
Let’s get this out of the way up front. The Fiat 500 Sport does not compare favorably to the MINI Cooper in ways an enthusiast would appreciate. The steering is light and the clutch lighter. The manual transmission is vague at best and any propulsion out of the highly acclaimed 101 hp Multi-air Fiat 1.4L four cylinder feels like a happy coincidence. Within a half block behind the wheel of the 500 I was in ‘leisure’ mode whether I liked it or not. Yet it didn’t take long to really come to appreciate the meandering quality of the performance and the confident (and unfortunately cheap) ambiance of the Italian style inside and out.
But let’s not lose focus on what this car is. Clearly Fiat isn’t trying to out-do the MINI in terms of driving dynamics. Instead it’s focused on bringing costs down to deliver a stylish small car at an affordable price. Case in point the Fiat 500 Sport we tested came to $19,500 with Rosso Brilliante exterior paint, sunroof and the safety and convenience package. It’s a pretty impressive value proposition when you consider a standard Cooper with no options in the US can’t be had under $20k these days. And the Fiat 500 Sport comes with eight airbags, a better than good Bose Stereo and the cutest little red painted brake calipers I’ve ever seen. continued →
Jun 29th, 2011
The MINI gets compared to a lot of other cars, both here and in Europe. The comparison de jour for the Cooper is the newly stateside Fiat 500. The MotoringFile review of the Fiat 500 goes live in a few hours. In the meantime, we wanted to share this fantastic comparison from Winding Road. Unlike many surface-level, mostly sensationalized comparisons we’ve read in the past few months, Seyth Miersma does a great job of comparing the two cars objectively, on their actual merits. I like the conclusion, because for once it’s not about one car “beating” the other.
Drive both, buy one, be completely satisfied, no matter which you chose; thatâ€™s the prescription here. We canâ€™t wait to see if the upcoming Abarth version of the Fiat 500 has got what it takes to finally top the Mini, in Cooper S form, too. Hereâ€™s to the delicious pain of waiting, and some great small car driving in the meantime.
The full article is definitely worth a read.
Jun 13th, 2011
With a small fleet of press vehicles out for review at the moment, it’s no surprise that we’re seeing more and more reviews of the Fiat 500 online. This one from the New York Times caught our attention because of their take on the inevitable MINI comparison. Read their excerpted summary after the jump. continued →
May 26th, 2011
The Nissan Juke one of the more obvious cross-shop vehicles for the MINI Countryman. It’s small. It’s sportish. It’s funky. It’s got a turbocharged engine. It’s got all-wheel-drive. So it’s inevitable that the two cars would go head-to-head in the automotive press. John Leblanc of the Toronto Star gives the edge to the Juke, but upon reading his review, I almost can’t tell why. continued →
Apr 24th, 2011
We’ll be spending and entire week with the little Fiat in early June. However MF correspondent Brendan Nystedt just couldn’t resist the temptation of a quick spin so we present you MF’s very first quick spin in the latest MINI competitor that has made it’s way to North America.
Today, I found myself somewhere I never imagined: an American Fiat dealership. And I didn’t even have to hop in my TARDIS to get there. On sale, the new Fiat 500. As evidenced recently here on MF, the rivalry between the micro Italian Stallion and the Limey Wonder is just now heating up. Does MINI need to check itself before it wrecks itself? continued →
Apr 15th, 2011
Hot on the tail of our story about the 3rd generation MINI codename, the F56, Autocar is reporting this morning that ailing automaker Saab has made “an audacious bid to buy the rights to the outgoing BMW MINI platform.” The Swedish automaker wants to get into the premium small car game, but without all that pesky engineering. continued →
Apr 12th, 2011
WorldCarFans is reporting that chinese automaker Geely will unveil their new Emgrand EC6-RV at the upcoming Shanghai auto show. They also point out something probably completely obvious to most MotoringFile readers. Does this car look familiar? Let’s take a closer look. continued →