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      04-19-2018, 02:40 PM   #1
mfindigital
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Thinking about getting a fiat 500 daily

I drive in stop and go traffic every day, about 40 miles round trip (live in Northeast LA and commute to Santa Monica, those that know will know).

The 135i is getting about 17 mpg doing this type of driving, and probably suffering wear and tear with all the stop and go.

I currently have a 2003 g35 sedan as a "Daily" that I basically stopped driving because it's an old pos when compared to the 1er. Car is a money pit, japanese reliability is extremely over stated (my mazdaspeed 3, honda s2000 and g35 have been the 3 most unreliable cars I've ever owned). So yes, looking at a Fiat is probably the wrong answer as a daily as reliability goes, but they look fun.

I missed out on the 80$ a month with 0 down deals we had all over so cal last year on the fiat 500e. My work has free charger stations, the parking here is terrible, so the size and money saving on gas is very appealing, I've also heard the 500e has amazing handling.

But I'm an idiot that likes fast cars, and I've always loved the Abarth (especially after Michael Schumacher said it was his daily and favorite car on Top Gear).

Low mileage 500e's and 500 abarths are selling for under 10k here (40k miles and under).

Anyone have any experience with either? I'm going to buy (or lease if the deal comes back) one or the other, I can't deal with putting this much stress on the 135i (and the hundreds of dollars a month on gas, both cars will pay for themselves in gas savings alone).
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      04-20-2018, 01:57 AM   #2
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Sometimes you can find a sweet lease deal. The electric carpool sticker might offset the reduced horsepower. Plus, less wear and tear on your BMW.

What went wrong with your s2000?
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      04-20-2018, 02:48 AM   #3
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My wife has a 500 as a town car and it's fantastic for very short trips and nipping in and out of parking spots, but I wouldn't want to travel longer distances in it as the space inside does get to you after a while.

Also, we tested the abarth at the time and didn't find it to be as good as everyone made out, slow, very loud and quite a hard ride for a run around.
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      04-20-2018, 09:16 AM   #4
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Why not a Volt if gas is a concern? It's a better car in nearly every way possible.
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      04-20-2018, 10:01 AM   #5
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Pass on a 500. I'd do what I did & take advantage of the stupid cheap 0 down lease deals on the Jetta.
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      04-20-2018, 10:15 AM   #6
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My coworker had a 500e. He hated it and lost about 10grand when he traded it in cause of recalls.
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      04-20-2018, 11:29 AM   #7
mfindigital
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Alfisti View Post
Why not a Volt if gas is a concern? It's a better car in nearly every way possible.
the 500 is way, way cheaper than the Volt. The goal is to offset the cost of gas on the 135i, which is about 180$/mth now. The Volt is about 300/mth with 3k down.
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      04-20-2018, 12:10 PM   #8
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No way would I use any 500 for any drive.
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      04-20-2018, 12:15 PM   #9
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They used to do like $99/mo leases for the 500e. I wouldn't mind an Abarth as a daily but my commute is about three miles. If I didn't have a "hell or high water" work environment, I would probably rock one of those and they can be had SUPER cheap. Hell, even a used 500e is under $10k.
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      04-20-2018, 01:10 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mfindigital View Post
the 500 is way, way cheaper than the Volt. The goal is to offset the cost of gas on the 135i, which is about 180$/mth now. The Volt is about 300/mth with 3k down.
$180??? You'll never ever offset that. Ever. Purchase price, gas on the second car, insurance etc ... makes no sense.
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      04-20-2018, 01:52 PM   #11
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Originally Posted by Alfisti View Post
$180??? You'll never ever offset that. Ever. Purchase price, gas on the second car, insurance etc ... makes no sense.
insurance quote is 40$/mth, the electric lease deals on the E have been under 100$ month several times with zero down, and no gas costs. Factor in wear and tear on the BMW, and yes, I will definitely make money and it does make sense. 180 is also a conservative estimate, I'm getting 17mpg and do roughly 42-50 miles a day, $4 a gallon is about 10$ a day, so it's more like 180-230 a month. LA is pothole city, so wear and tear is actually more important in this equation than even the gas. Driving the 135 through stop and go every day for 2-3 hours a day is going to cause issues with the car.

So yes, it makes sense.
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      04-20-2018, 01:55 PM   #12
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Originally Posted by eluded View Post
Sometimes you can find a sweet lease deal. The electric carpool sticker might offset the reduced horsepower. Plus, less wear and tear on your BMW.

What went wrong with your s2000?
Engine blew, soft top is a pos that will rip very quickly, axles are a pain, they very frequently burn oil, suspension is weak and prone to blowing shocks, axles are weak, driveshafts snap when boosted. It's not nearly as reliable as people would lead you to believe.
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      04-20-2018, 02:16 PM   #13
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A good friend of mine has an Abarth and loves it. I went for a ride in it and it was definitely quick for what it is. He raves about it, and this is not his first 'fast' car that he's owned. He hasn't had any problems with it at all to this point.
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      04-20-2018, 02:19 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mfindigital View Post
Engine blew, soft top is a pos that will rip very quickly, axles are a pain, they very frequently burn oil, suspension is weak and prone to blowing shocks, axles are weak, driveshafts snap when boosted. It's not nearly as reliable as people would lead you to believe.
My S2000 was perfect. No issues-just regular maintenance.

If you can do all those things to what’s normally a very reliable and durable Japanese car, what do you think you’ll do to a Fiat that consistently has the worst reliability record of all cars sold in the U.S.?
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      04-20-2018, 02:23 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mfindigital View Post
insurance quote is 40$/mth, the electric lease deals on the E have been under 100$ month several times with zero down, and no gas costs. Factor in wear and tear on the BMW, and yes, I will definitely make money and it does make sense. 180 is also a conservative estimate, I'm getting 17mpg and do roughly 42-50 miles a day, $4 a gallon is about 10$ a day, so it's more like 180-230 a month. LA is pothole city, so wear and tear is actually more important in this equation than even the gas. Driving the 135 through stop and go every day for 2-3 hours a day is going to cause issues with the car.

So yes, it makes sense.
No, it doesn't.

You're already at $140 month, add maintenance and the loss of time to buy, maintain and service another car for what, $50 a month and a shitty commute experience??

Just enjoy the 1er and be done with it IMHO.
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      04-20-2018, 02:30 PM   #16
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OP, I drove a friend's 500 Sport from Dallas to San Francisco a couple of years back. It was great fun -- the engine can take quite a bit of abuse: though it doesn't sound like it wants to rev, it will ... and you'll need to), and I didn't have a single issue on the trip save for running out of gas on I-20 just east of Abilene (A guy named Jim Bob -- no foolin' -- gave me a ride to the service station.)

It's a defensible choice for towns like SF because of its size and style, as well as because it's relatively cheap to run and fairly roomy in the front seats. All that said, the 500 is one of the least-reliable cars on the market. It's built just above the quality standards of a tin can. It's paint is horrible. Its badging is known to fade after 2-3 years. Its audio system is roughly on par with My First Sony in quality. Its switchgear and interior bits are made from plastic that's more suited for a model airplane kit than a car interior. And oh. My. GAWD it rattles.

There are better choices. Mine at that price point would be a Chevy Sonic hatchback. Those are fun little runabouts. Reliability is much better, as is build quality. You can easily find a 2-3-year-old LTZ (top-line) for under 10k. If I move to a colder climate (somewhat likely in the next year), I may very well get one myself as a winter beater second car.
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      04-20-2018, 02:42 PM   #17
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Originally Posted by Viffermike View Post
OP, I drove a friend's 500 Sport from Dallas to San Francisco a couple of years back. It was great fun -- the engine can take quite a bit of abuse: though it doesn't sound like it wants to rev, it will ... and you'll need to), and I didn't have a single issue on the trip save for running out of gas on I-20 just east of Abilene (A guy named Jim Bob -- no foolin' -- gave me a ride to the service station.)

It's a defensible choice for towns like SF because of its size and style, as well as because it's relatively cheap to run and fairly roomy in the front seats. All that said, the 500 is one of the least-reliable cars on the market. It's built just above the quality standards of a tin can. It's paint is horrible. Its badging is known to fade after 2-3 years. Its audio system is roughly on par with My First Sony in quality. Its switchgear and interior bits are made from plastic that's more suited for a model airplane kit than a car interior. And oh. My. GAWD it rattles.

There are better choices. Mine at that price point would be a Chevy Sonic hatchback. Those are fun little runabouts. Reliability is much better, as is build quality. You can easily find a 2-3-year-old LTZ (top-line) for under 10k. If I move to a colder climate (somewhat likely in the next year), I may very well get one myself as a winter beater second car.
Thanks for the useful feedback. I rented a sonic once, good little car. I guess I'll be leaning that way, looking at used civics, yarises (yari?), priuses (prii?,lol), and I'll add the sonic to the list. I can't deal with my 1 series taking this type of beating anymore. Gonna list my g35 for sale this weekend and move into a small fwd used car to beat on. The fiat was very appealing due to the small size and how much that would help with Santa Monica parking, but it sounds like the rumors of their terrible quality are true.
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      04-20-2018, 02:45 PM   #18
mfindigital
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No, it doesn't.

You're already at $140 month, add maintenance and the loss of time to buy, maintain and service another car for what, $50 a month and a shitty commute experience??

Just enjoy the 1er and be done with it IMHO.
This isn't a maybe thing, I care about my 1 series, and the wear and tear and exorbitant repair and maintenance costs on a BMW means having a daily does make sense.Perhaps some people enjoy needlessly abusing their 1 series, I do not.
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      04-20-2018, 02:53 PM   #19
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      04-20-2018, 03:32 PM   #20
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Honda Fit, twice the space, none of the running costs and more fun than all but the Abarth. They were closing out 17's when I bought my GTI and it was hard to pass on. $13k for an EX manual.
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      04-20-2018, 03:35 PM   #21
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The Honda Fit is very reliable, has decent ride and acceleration - plus an incredible amount of room for carrying stuff once you fold the trick back seats. Good luck!
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      04-20-2018, 03:40 PM   #22
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mfindigital View Post
insurance quote is 40$/mth, the electric lease deals on the E have been under 100$ month several times with zero down, and no gas costs. Factor in wear and tear on the BMW, and yes, I will definitely make money and it does make sense. 180 is also a conservative estimate, I'm getting 17mpg and do roughly 42-50 miles a day, $4 a gallon is about 10$ a day, so it's more like 180-230 a month. LA is pothole city, so wear and tear is actually more important in this equation than even the gas. Driving the 135 through stop and go every day for 2-3 hours a day is going to cause issues with the car.

So yes, it makes sense.
$40/month for insurance in Los Angeles? How'd you manage that??

I used to lease a Smart car ($99/mo) but it's insurance was like $140 a month. Made no sense whatsoever. But for $140 (incl insurance) a month having a second electric car isn't a terrible idea. You probably break even $$ wise but just having a tiny car is a blessing for street parking.
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