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Post Tagged with: "Fiat"

2012 Fiat 500: Gabriel and the Silver City Car [Review]

“Why on earth did my parents have to move here? There’s never enough goddam parking.” Gabriel muttered to himself coldly.

It was a wintery Sunday night in mid-January and Gabriel was heading to his parents’ place for dinner. His parents had just moved downtown not two weeks prior, having finally succumbed to the allure of the empty nest lifestyle and all that downtown Toronto had to offer. This, then, was to be Gabriel’s new “home”. Although the 25-year-old had never spent a night there in his life and probably never would, he knew that wherever his parents lived was his true home – everywhere else was just a lithe branch extending from the central tree trunk.

His parents’ new place was smack-dab in the middle of downtown TO and parking was nigh on impossible. Gabriel’s Law, however, ensures that anything that can go right will go right. So it just so happened that he was borrowing his roommate’s new Fiat 500 and that the little Italian runabout could fit in spaces normally reserved for strollers and tricycles; it’s smaller even than a snowflake. After a couple of fruitless loops around the block, a snug spot between a Dodge Journey and a Mitsubishi Lancer appeared right in front of his parents’ 20-storey tower as if by divine decree. Anything other than this back-up-sensor-equipped 500 would’ve kept driving in circles for another 30 minutes – even a Mini – but the Fiat just slid in like pesto linguini gliding into a contented mouth. Gabriel even pulled off the tight parallel park on his first try. Appropriately smug with his wheel-twirling achievement, Marco hopped out of the charming two-door, flicked the door shut behind him, locked the doors to the sound of the Fiat’s cheery horn, and buzzed up to #2000: the penthouse, and his new home.

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Fiat 500 vs. Honda CR-Z: Imagining Replacements for our Protege5

Let’s put our special hats on – y’know, the ones with the ostrich feathers and Swarovksi sparkles all dipped in yellow gold – and play “what if”.

Car enthusiasts play this game with alarming frequency, but rarely in public. The internal machinations usually happen in the wee hours of a weekend evening, on eBay and Kijiji and after a half-glass of scotch, as we rationalize, justify, and otherwise attempt to coerce ourselves and our significant others into successively wilder purchases. But cower in darkness no more! For it’s high time that we openly share our most bizarre (and reasonable) replacements for our current transports! Ok, as you’ve probably gleaned from the title, our imaginations haven’t led us too far astray, but that’s because these are cars we’d actually buy, not just ones we’d plunk down for if we accidentally inherited the Daryl Katz fortune. And it’s not like we’re in brow-furrowing contemplation between the Corolla and the Matrix here, the 500 and CR-Z are genuinely appealing cars, at least for hatchback-loving urbanites like us.

Regardless of budget (and in fantasyland, the budgets can get pretty wacky), we all have priorities that lean us one way or another, as well as allegiances to certain brands that inadvertently blind us to huge swathes of the marketplace. Personally, we’re proponents of buying used cars so that the most aggressive years of depreciation are allowed to pass harmlessly by. That new car smell? Doesn’t smell as good as saved money smell. Since we’re looking at the used market, it’s also worth mentioning that we’re staunch advocates of mechanical and electrical reliability. No one likes unnecessary trips to the stealer dealer less than we do, so we avoid it at all costs. As such, we personally like to steer away from German cars (an air-cooled 911 is the only car with any chance of breaking that rule of thumb), most American cars, and steer towards Japanese cars. Granted, the newer domestics, particularly Fords, have come a long way in terms of quality and reliability, but none of their current offering quite have the sparkle we’d put in our garage for good. Maybe the Focus ST will change that. The Germans, on the other hand, have almost no hope of changing our perceptions at this point. There is literally nothing scarier than a 5-year-old BMW without warranty.

Since there’s not much out there in the desirable 4-5 year old bracket (unless you’ve got one?) that meets our exacting criteria for fun, reliability, fuel economy, and attractive design, we’re going to have to make do with looking a few years down the road to replace our aging Mazda Protege5. So let’s take a look at what’s on sale today that we’ll want to pick up a good deal on in a couple years.

This series of hurdles pretty much leaves us with the Fiat 500, the adorable Mexican-built city car with character in picche (that’s “spades” in Italian), and the Honda CR-Z, the sportiest hybrid around. Both of these choices are perfectly sized for urban use, fun(ish) to drive, sip fuel like a Starbucks latte, and should prove more reliable than average. But which one should we choose?

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How Hard Can It Be? Fiat 850 Spider


An oldie from the depths of our surprisingly large archives. -Peter, Founding Editor

Welcome back to HHCIB, a game show in which you could win a giant box of suck a diamond in the rough needing only five gallons of gas and a match a new home and some elbow grease. In today’s episode we offer up a Fiat 850 Spider of indeterminate vintage. We only know it is not a 1967 because it doesn’t have glass-covered headlights.

More after the jump.

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Fiat Heir Lapo Elkann and IASIP’s Charlie Day Hate Canada

The electron microscope of the media has been firmly fixed on Lapo Elkann, heir to the Fiat car company fortune, since Tuesday night when Elkann tipped the basketball away from the Toronto Raptors’ Jose Calderon. The tip prevented Calderon from keeping the ball in-bounds and thwarted Toronto’s defence of its lead against Kobe Bryant and the LA Lakers. Kobe went on to make a 3-pointer at the buzzer for the win, despite being double-teamed. On a slightly unrelated note, Kobe Bryant is so amazing that Aston Martin is making a USD$550 limited edition shoe in collaboration with the all-star.

But wait, who is that to the right of Calderon? And why does he hate Canada’s only NBA team, and the whole country by association?

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1st Official Shot: Alfa Romeo Giulietta/Milano


While word on the Milanese street is that the Milano name has been dropped, it’s not entirely clear what name will be used in its place. Giulietta? Perhaps. But you’re no more likely to guess it correctly than you are to guess when Ovechkin will be returning from his “day-to-day” knee injury. All I care about is his on-ice presence when the Capitals come to Edmonton on December 19th. I have tickets, so he’d better be there. Or I’ll start flinging my feces onto the ice. Oh, I’d do it.

Getting back to the new Alfa, this will be one of the first models that parent company Fiat brings to North America through its newly-acquired Chrysler network. From what we can tell from this first (and only) shot, the lines aren’t too bad. Maybe there’s too much current-gen Subaru Impreza in the profile, but at least the MiTo’s unlovable front end looks have been toned down into something more digestible. Petrol powerplants are expected to be range from a 120hp 1.4L to a 235hp turbo 1.7L, although it remains to be seen which models we’ll get on this side of the pond.

We’ll have more edge-of-your-seat Chrysler/Fiat/Alfa news, whenever someone else decides to leak it.


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Is Saab Done?

saab_crash_27_04_05 As we all know, GM’s been anxious to get rid of Saab for some time. The Swedish car manufacturer has been hemorrhaging dollars and Swedish crowns since GM took it over. A deal had almost come through when Koenigsegg, backed by the Chinese company BAIC, made what seemed a fairly solid bid. However, that’s now fallen through as well…and currently, no one else is in line waiting for a swipe at the Saab piñata.

Does this mean Saab’s done? Follow the jump for more info.

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Alfa Romeo 169 To Be Built in Ontario, Maybe

Screen shot 2009-09-26 at 4.56Alfa Romeo hasn’t made a mid-size executive sedan in a couple years now, and now is the perfect time to resume doing so. Alfa is coming back to North America, where the executive sedan is king. While it has been confirmed that the 169 is to be built in North America, Inside Line expects the production to happen in Brampton, Ontario along side the Chinese Rolls-Royce knock-off Chrysler 300. The 169 won’t just be a pretty 169 though. Hit the jump for a summary of the rumour mill.

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Nashville, TN: Highlights of Viva Italia Concours D’Elegance

Yesterday was the Nashville Viva Italia Concours D’Elegance. Which is basically just a fancy way of saying that there were rare Italian vehicles, a classically trained singer, and a guy selling pizza. While th singer was pretty good and I was too cheap to try the pizza, the cars were simply stunning. The majority were Ferraris, which is never a bad thing, but there was a good showing from Alfa Romeo and Maserati, as well as a single Lancia, and a single Lamborghini. Here were my top five picks.

5. Lancia Fulvia Zagato
The Lancia Fulvia was ahead of its time both technologically and stylistically. A sporty little Italian 2+2 with a body designed by Zagato and a hatch for practicality. That sounds more or less how I would describe the ideal day to day car today. Sadly, this car is both old and Italian, and therefore has probably been repaired twice since I last saw it… yesterday. You just have to love that color and the way the hood opens though.
4. Ferrari 599
With its 12 cylinders, 611 horses, 3.7 second 0-60, and Pininfarina looks, I love the 599. While this isn’t a classic yet, the 599 is both the archetype of Pininfarina’s current design style for Ferrari and Maserati, and an absolute track monster. What it all really comes down to is the “flying buttresses,” which at first appear to be the c-pillar.  It is such an elegant way to increase airflow to the lip spoiler. If those were on a Yugo 65 I’d want one of those too.
3. Ferrari Testarossa
There were actually two Testarossas at the event, but I decided my favorite of the two was the one in slightly worse condition. Why? Because it’s not yellow. Not only do I usually hate yellow cars, but black paint just shows off the Testarossa’s lines so well, there is really not other option worth considering, except of course the classic scarlet.
2. Ferrari Dino 206 GT
A gorgeous curvy targa-top Ferrari with a tiny 2.0l V6 serving as a power-plant. All in all, this is a stunning car. I honestly with that Ferrari would create another Dino. A small, ultra-light, cheaper Fezza with a smaller engine could be some sort of super Lotus. The California doesn’t count, that more of a super Mercedes CLK.
1. Lamborghini 350GT
Here is a car that just oozes passion. The first Lambo was born out of a classically Italian vendetta against Enzo Ferrari. Ferruccio Lamborghini made tractors out of old military parts, and owned a Ferrari, which had clutch problems. When he took it to Maranello, Enzo simply told him that “the problem was not with the car.” Being insane, Ferruccio went home and decided to stop making tractors and start making sports cars. The first one to hit the market was the 350GT of which 120 were sold. This is one of them.


Yesterday was the Nashville Viva Italia Concours D’Elegance. Which is basically just a fancy way of saying that there were rare Italian vehicles, a classically trained singer, and a guy selling pizza. While the singer was pretty good and I was too cheap to try the pizza, the cars were simply stunning. The majority were Ferraris, which are never a bad thing, but there was a good showing from Alfa Romeo and Maserati, as well as a single Lancia, and a single Lamborghini. My top five after the jump.

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