Would you buy a 2 cylinder, 875cc petrol car that returns almost 70mpg?

by lifelong humanist 26 Replies latest jw friends

  • lifelong humanist
    lifelong humanist

    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!

    lifelong humanist

  • Quirky1
  • designs

    Show some pics. It reminds me of the BMW 3-wheel with the hatch door on the front.

  • TD

    Like the idea, but not at that price...

  • james_woods

    I don't think it would be very compatible with the freeways of Texas, so I would pass on it.

    Two questions:

    How fast can it go?

    Surely you did not get rid of the Miata for this???


    BTW - I will confess that I have owned a Fiat 850 Spyder (twice - two different cars.) Beautiful little roadster, but slower than a VW Beetle.

    Edit to add: Are you sure the Fiat 500 was air-cooled? The 850 Spyder was rear-engined but had a tiny radiator there in the back alongside the engine. I thought the 500 was made the same way?

  • nelly136


    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dJfSS0ZXYdo i'd even like one of these but 14 thou is a bit steep to drive something the size of a suitcase.

  • lifelong humanist
    lifelong humanist

    Thanks for your reply, Quirky1 - the web pictures seem to indicate to me that FIAT are keen to get Americans behind the wheel of the 500. As far as this eco-friendly engine development is concerned, Maybe this is too soon for the USA to take on board at present?

    Thanks also james_spader - the car has a claimed top speed of 108mph. 0-62mph in about 10.5 seconds seems reasonably fast for the roads in the UK - no ball of fire, but pretty good fun. This car will be in addition to the Miata (to please my wife). I'm happy about having 2 fun cars that don't cost a lot to run, and are environmentally friendly to boot!

    Thanks TD - new technology always seems to command a price premium, but I'm OK with that! When the time comes to sell, hopefully the resale value will be higher?

    lifelong humanist

  • Little Imp
    Little Imp

    We live halfway up a valley in West Wales and though we had very little snow it then froze into ice and made getting in and out of the village impossible for two wheel drive cars. However, four wheel drives are gas guzzlers if you don't need one very often and therefore if you look at the following link for snow socks. Apparently, a car with snow chains or socks is better than a four wheel drive in snow. Snow socks are quick and easy to put on and remove. Has anyone tried them?


    I would definitely buy an economical car but I have to have an automatic because of problems with my leg and unfortunately you lose some economy with an automatic.

  • lifelong humanist
    lifelong humanist

    Sorry, james_woods - why on earth did I addres you as james_spader? My profound apologies! I'm trying to cook up and serve a meal right now, so , that's my (lame) excuse!

    lifelong humanist

  • lifelong humanist
    lifelong humanist

    Hi james_woods

    Yes, my original FIAT 500 was indeed air-cooled.

    As you probably know, the 'new' 500's are all front-engined, water-cooled cars. Since the launch of the eagerly awaited replacement, they have quite a following in Europe - non-driver people don't seem to feel 'threatened' by them. To me, this speaks volumes of the way cars might progress into an (uncertain) future.

    I can comfortably live with that!

    lifelong humanist

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