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Friday, November 26, 2010
The Fiat 500 at the 2010 LA Auto Show: A reader's report
We have the good fortune of having a reader write in and report on the LA Auto Show's Fiat display. The reader with the user name of Peterjerome has written in on this blog numerous times and has contributed a lot of thoughtful, interesting comments so I want to thank him for that and also for taking the time to write up this report.
My wife and I went to LA for opening day of the car show. As you can see from the photos, the FIAT display was very innovative. It was something of a large red and white tube. To enter you passed three 500s; a Pop, Sport, and Lounge. Behind them was a classic 500 that was garnering a fair bit of attention itself.
The three modern cars were the real deal. You could sit in them, open hatches and adjust seats. The new seats seem comfy on first sit. They do fill the snug cabin a bit though. The sun roof that was on the Sport and fixed glass roof on the Lounge went a ways to open up the interior space.
The locals that were at the show were smitten by the 500. They were impressed with the comfort and safety equipment, and the warranty went a long way to calm their concerns with reliability. Like me, they kept stepping back and looking at the shape of the car.
Most of the interest seemed to come from the 40 to 50 something crowd. Every conversation I struck up got around to the subject of what value these cars represent compared to the MINI. In Canada, the starting prices differ by seven thousand dollars. Most observers preferred the interior of the 500 to that of the MINI as well.
The Sport model on show was red. The wheel /tire combination adds to a very attractive package. Supposedly the Sport has a modified suspension. I think the other models are softened a bit for North America and the Sport sports the European stock settings. It would be the one for me if the Abarth wasn't coming. The body colours and interior materials display that will be in the dealers is awesome.
If there were any disappointments it was that the display was somewhat hidden in the large hall. Also, the woman giving the monologue was really having a hard time with it. This was annoying considering the amount of information that people need to learn about this car. My wife said that I could have done a better job. I reminded her that FIAT is from Italy where sex still sells. She agreed that the white dress was getting more attention than the flaws in her speech.
In a nutshell, the 500 is worth the wait. When you see it live you will know what I mean.
Thanks again Peterjerome for sending us that!