Gallery: TEST DRIVE: Inhabitat Takes a Summery Yellow Fiat 500 For a Sp...

The front of the Fiat Euro stylish, but big enough that we felt comfortable driving on the highway for long periods. The car feels like a scaled down high-quality compact, not like screaming along on a tractor mower as we expected.

The most amusing thing about the Fiat would have to be the attention it garners in an out-of-the-way place like northern Michigan. Older men shook their heads as the little yellow rocket passed them on the street, while the younger set smiled and seemed intrigued. Women of every age seemed to fall in love with it on first sight. Suffice it to say we were the only Fiat for several hundred miles in this land of General Motors and Ford allegiance, which made for many amusing conversations. We only shook our heads when we discovered that Sport mode, which gives you a little boost of power, got the same 40-mpg gas mileage as Eco-Drive over long distances, and that the car wanted to stay in second gear all the way up to 50 miles per hour for no apparent reason. The second problem is fixed with the manumatic shifting function, which allows you to change gears when you want by flicking the automatic gear lever back and forth. It’s a lifesaver for anyone who wants to make this car move.

“Should I buy one?” That was the question on everyone’s lips – even at a wedding we attended at the end of the week. The answer is, that depends on what you expect. If you want a reasonably efficient, small car with tons of style, the Fiat 500 is your ride, no question. If you’re looking for something sportier, you could opt for next year’s 175-horsepower Abarth model, or for more interior room, go for a MINI instead. All we know is there’s nothing like northern Michigan in the summer, and there’s nothing like the Fiat 500. They’re both one of a kind.

+ Fiat


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