Our Cars: FIAT 500 1.2 Lounge

5 June 2012: Amazingly Stable in Standing Water

The Details

Current mileage 15,890
Lifetime average mpg 48.37

'My' long-term BMW 328i is taking a long time coming through. So my spare FIAT 500 has been pressed into quite a lot of work lately.

In the last month it's done more miles than in the previous year: 1,770 v/s 1,207 from May 2011 to May 2012.

Now you'd think that would be painful. And sheer purgutory on the motorway.

But, actually, it isn't.

Though the car is completely gutless on motorway inclines and long hills, it's only revving 3,000rpm at 70 and the long squab seats with cutaway rear side bolsters are remarkably comfortable.

No squeezed shoulders and no dead legs after 300 miles and 5 hours driving.

Then, in Sunday's torrential downpours on the A1, M18 and M1, it showed another quality: rock steady stability.

It seems that the combination of electric power steering and 185/55 R15 Michelin Energy Savers are perfect for these sort of conditions. 

While others were spinning off on the standing water (there was a spun Megane II on the M18), the little 500 seemed to grip through it, stiffen up and endow confidence.

This might be a characteristicc of the type of steering and the tyres, because a Hyundai i20 felt the same driving down to Poole Harbour three years ago. The roads were like rivers, yet the car seemed to increase grip rather than lose it.

Of course, ploughing through torrents of water does no favours to the fuel economy, which took a bit of a hit after rising to an average of 52 in the warmer weather.

But I'm not complaining.

At the launch of the Chrysler 300C on Friday, FIAT's head of PR told me they had now sold more than 100,000 500s in the UK alone.

While at letters@honestjohn.co.uk complaints keep failing to flood in. 

Grouches are very few indeed for the sheer numbers of these cars now on the roads: FIAT 500: The Dirt.

And for me, even after paying full whack to buy the car, depreciation is looking like around £500 a year.

 

 

 

« Earlier: 4th Year Service     Later: FIAT Turns 17,000 Miles »

Updates
HJ's 'spare' FIAT 500 doesn't get out much and barely covers 500 miles a year. Now approaching its 11th birthday it sailed through its MoT, got treated to a service and also a new set of Continental AllSeasonContact tyres.
After a mammoth 1,248 miles, HJ's FIAT 500 gets its 8th Annual Service
HJ's FIAT 500 spends most of its life locked away in a garage, kept in case it's ever needed. Well, last week it was needed.
After not quite 400 miles over the last year, HJ's 'spare' Fiat 500 goes in for its annual service and MoT.
Another year and my 2008 FIAT 500 has spent almost all of it locked up in a lockup, emerging only for 30 mile runs to charge the battery.
HJ's FIAT has been busy recently and has now covered 17,234 miles
5 June 2012: Amazingly Stable in Standing Water
FIAT 500 on 15,000 mile tyres complately unfazed by torrential rain on the motorway.
Honest John's little used 500 gets its fourth year service and MoT and in that time nothing at all has gone wrong with the little Fiat.
Took the opportunity of a mild day to get the winter wheels and tyres fitted.
HJ's FIAT 500 finally gets to use its cold weather tyes.
HJ goes looking for snow in his Fiat 500.
HJ cleans his paintwork then coats his 500 with Autoglym High Def wax
Fiat 500 starts its Winter Tyre test.
Winter wheels arrive, winter tyres ordered.
FIAT 500 gets some winter tyres on its winter rims, and turns in a summer fuel economy of 56.2mpg.
Most recently I've had the opportunity to compare my 500 with the new, super-eco TwinAir version. On paper the TwinAir is much better, but what's the reality?
During my second year with the little Fiat 500 I drive the newer 500C cabriolet and the hot Abarth 500, both of which had their suspension improved over my older model.
My company bought the car for me in March 2008 for £9,470, including side bump strips and Italian Tricolor side stripes. Because it emits 119g/km of CO2 I was immediately able to write down 100% of the purchase price.
 

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