I've bought lots of cars over the last 35 years or so - mostly FIATs and Alfa Romeos. I'm a dedicated Italian car fan.
My very first car was a tiny FIAT 500 with a tiny air-cooled motor in the rear (trunk). It was a 1967 car - they first appeared in 1957. It was cheap to run, slow, and very basic - but I just loved it!
Only recently, I bought my first Japanese car - a Mazda MX-5 (Miata to you guys in the USA). For anyone unfamiliar with this iconic car, the Mazda is a 2 seater sports car that drives really well (rear wheel drive). It doesn't have a big engine - mine is the fastest 2 litre petrol, with lowered suspension. The car is all about the handling, which is quite superb.
With this incredibly cold winter here in Scotland, with the most snow falling in living memory, RWD cars struggle to get anywhere (without snow-chains). So, I need to have a 'sensible' car, as well. A 4x4 would make sense, but I prefer a more economical car to get around in. Our fuel prices are amongst the highest in Europe, so MPG is a big factor. So is car tax - based on engine size and emissions.
Anyway, my wife thinks I'm mad to have bought the Mazda, so I've ordered a brand-new FIAT 500 TwinAir, 2 cylinder front wheel drive 3 door hatchback with the lowest carbon emission engine in the world - under 90g per Km. The car can take 5 people in reasonable comfort. This means that I can pick up my grandchildren when necessary. They also produce a semi-automatic gearbox, but I prefer the tactile feel of a full-manual gearbox. The new technology comes at a price, though - just over £12,000 on the road.
I believe that FIAT are only making the 500 1.4 engine available in the USA - they reckon the 0.9 engine will not go down well. But, I wonder if this is really true?. What do you think? Will the constant drive for low-emission engines eventually lead Americans to buy into this clever technology?
Any thoughts, or comments would be welcome.
Happy new year to everyone posting, commenting and reading on JWN/JWD for 2011!