Fiat 500 UK
Base 1.2 £9960
0-60mph 12.9 sec
Top speed 99mph
Average 58.9 mpg
Range 454 miles
Fiat 500 US
Base 1.4 $15,500
Americans don't quote performance figures much. Who are they kidding that they don't care?
Average 30 city/38 highway
Range 315/399 miles
I once had to dump an extremely handsome boyfriend because he was dull. I felt bad about it (and somewhat ungrateful). After all – let’s call him Colin - was a nice chap, and good at some things, but there were other people who were much more fun - and I wanted to be with them.
That’s just how I feel about the Fiat 500. It looks so cute my husband and I got the brochures and went for a test drive. The 1.2 we drove wouldn’t have threatened the skin on an average jug of custard, but more than that, it just wasn’t fun.
We bought a Mini and, although I don’t like design as much as the Fiat, it takes corners with more gusto and feeds back more about what the wheels are up to. You just feel more connected.
Recently my girlfriend and I took a six-hour trip in a Fiat 500 in Florida. We’d booked the smallest, cheapest car, hoping to get an upgrade or deal at the rental desk, but when we saw it was a Cinquecento we decided not to quibble.
Even in its Allegro brown metallic, the bambino was cute. Plus, I’d had to wriggle my case into the Mini on the way out, but it slotted easily into the 500’s rear.
I wondered if I’d like the car more in the US. It had a 1.4-litre engine, and there weren’t many bends on our route, so it didn’t need to handle.
Our first surprise was that we had to stop to fill up twice. Carole last did this trip in a Tahoe and it has such a huge tank, she didn’t have to stop at all. OK we did a lot of freeway miles, but the tank is just 10.5 gal, annoying.
Afterwards, we I agreed it had been comfortable and generally not bad, but not fun. So again, the American 500 was a bit of a Colin.
I really must try the TwinAir.
Green cars are getting sexy. I remember a special electric cars exhibit at the British Motor Show in 2008 when all the vehicles looked like Peel P50s with tails (plugs). Now we have the Tesla, and the Fisker Karma, starring at Ecovelocity until May 13. I'm going on Thursday and have booked a test drive in a Chevy Volt and a Honda CRZ coupe. Sadly the Fisker isn't on the list for test drives.
It will be interesting to see the European approach to green compared with the US. In America no one wants to downsize, so every house-sized SUV has a 'green' hybrid. In Europe, drivers are happy to drive small, light, conventional petrol cars, or diesels, so hybrid/extended electric is just one strand.
For more on Ecovelocity at the Excel, London see http://www.ecovelocity.co.uk
More details about how they do it on WhatCar.com
I was pleased to see the announcement of What Car?’s Truempg (in partnership with Tesco, I'm reading that as 'sponsored by').
Manufacturers' figures may be faintly helpful as a comparison, but don’t bother trying to achieve them. It will be a real boon to be able to get a realistic idea of what your fuel costs will be.
Back in the day, car magazines used to run fuel cards, where anyone filling a car with fuel had to note the mileage, how much they put in, who they were (so the person writing the test knew if a real lead-footer had been in the car) and where (which helped you remember if you’d been on lots of motorways, over the Alps or stuck on the M25). What Car? used to send testers out on an economy run, but stopped while I was there a few years ago due to lack of times and bodies.
Now they’ve been collaborating with boffins and have started strapping kit to the cars, that looks suspiciously as if it could make them jump through time at 88mph. It actually measures the emissions coming out of the exhaust pipe and calculates fuel consumption from that.
Have a look at http://www.whatcar.com/truempg/my-true-mpg to find what your next car will really do to the gallon.
See http://www.whatcar.com/car-news/what-car-true-mpg-the-best-so-far/262495 for their winners and losers. Glad to see the MX-5 is a winner again.
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Walt Disney’s Imagineering team is working with General Motors to redevelop the Test Track ride. From this autumn, guests will enter a sleek new ‘Chevrolet Design Center at Epcot’ to will create their own custom concept vehicle. Once they're happy they haven't created a 'Homer', they buckle-up into their six-person ‘SimCar’ to put their design through its paces on the thrilling hills, switchbacks and straights of the Test Track circuit. (Thanks to ©Disney for the image)
This blog is by a woman driver, for everyone to read