Tuesday, February 20, 2018

The Neutral Blog & Car Reviews

A collection of stories, reviews and rants

Review - Fiat 500 Pop - Page 2

fiat-500-8It’s the interior that brings the circles of life to the Fiat 500 Pop; naturally there’s the tiller however there’s the speaker frames, the dash design and the rubber foam headrests. It’s a smart mix of classic retro and modern, a colour scheme that looks straight out of the late sixties (black and cream) highlighted by the subtle integration of LCD and technology.

The radio controls on the dash have their own circles, flanking the CD slot and rise over the circles of dials for the aircon controls. It’s a cohesive, enjoyable look and ergonomically well laid out. Unfortunately down below it’s not quite as easy to deal with as the clutch and brake pedal are just that little too close, leading to a clutch foot overlaying the stop pedal on too many occasions.

The steering has two settings, Normal and City, which takes away just about any weight the wheel would normally have, replacing it with a lightness of spin, swirlable with just a finger. The wheel itself is in the same shade of cream as the rest of the trim and is backlit with a soft red at night, as is the main dash display.

fiat-500-3Bluetooth, under the quirky name of Blue&Me, paired easily although the radio had an odd habit of going to a different station than the one that was on when the ignition (an old fashioned and still worthwhile key) was turned off. Roomwise, it’s ostensibly a four seater…..nup.

Even with my 178cm frame in a comfy enough position the rear leg room…. wasn’t. The seats themselves were sat on, not in, with slabs of foam rubber being used and there’s barely any give in that stuff anyway. Seat adjustment too is akin to pulling the teeth of a goldfish with pliers, it’s just too tight to have any real flexibility.

fiat-500-10When, in a former life, I sold cars, I was fortunate enough to be at a place that sold these. Cute yes, but cute is nothing without spirit, without soul. The 500 has that in bucketloads. Although understandably lacking in torque, giving the 1.2 a rev and matching it with the manual ‘box lends itself to fun driving.

Tossing it through corners, with its sub-tonne weight and feeling the tail slide out, listening to the rorty engine note, looking at the simple circle design theme and the surprisingly well integrated colour scheme and once in the right driving position, the 500 exudes an old fashioned and increasingly rare part of driving and for $14K it’s a cost efficient form of that missing element in life and on the road: fun.

[This blog \ review was published with aproval by Dave Conole of a wheel thing, you can read more of Dave's reviews at a wheel thing]

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