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Thread: Chrysler Fiats almost here...

  1. #21
    Senior Member misterdecibel's Avatar
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    Okay, here's an example of the ugly side of the Fiat/Chrysler takeover:

    http://news.drive.com.au/photogaller...125-1a3rd.html


  2. #22
    Vulture of The Western World Eric's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by misterdecibel View Post
    Okay, here's an example of the ugly side of the Fiat/Chrysler takeover:

    http://news.drive.com.au/photogaller...125-1a3rd.html

    Just another superfluous, unneeded "crossover"... when will it stop?

  3. #23
    Senior Member misterdecibel's Avatar
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    Looks like they're working on an AWD version of the 500:

    http://www.autoblog.com/photos/spy-s...0-awd/#3841077

  4. #24
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    I'll be checking that puppy out at the Chicago Auto Show.

  5. #25
    Vulture of The Western World Eric's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by misterdecibel View Post
    Looks like they're working on an AWD version of the 500:

    http://www.autoblog.com/photos/spy-s...0-awd/#3841077
    Just my cranky fifty cents here - but I think AWD is being oversold. In this case, it will add weight to a car that's ostensibly built for economy. Mileage and performance will suffer; the car will cost more to buy and to maintain.

    Why?

    AWD is something most people could easily live without and never miss having.

    But damn, the car company PR people have done a helluva job convincing people otherwise!

  6. #26
    Senior Member misterdecibel's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Eric View Post
    Just my cranky fifty cents here - but I think AWD is being oversold. In this case, it will add weight to a car that's ostensibly built for economy. Mileage and performance will suffer; the car will cost more to buy and to maintain.

    Why?

    AWD is something most people could easily live without and never miss having.

    But damn, the car company PR people have done a helluva job convincing people otherwise!
    Well, the Fiat 500 is based on the (cheaper) Fiat Panda, and there has been an AWD version of the Panda for some time now. So putting it in the 500 would surely require next to zero development.

    Looking up the specs, looks like a regular Panda weighs 980 Kg and the 4x4 weighs 1090 Kg, a weight penalty of 110 K. 242 pounds. That's not too bad as far as those things go.

  7. #27
    Vulture of The Western World Eric's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by misterdecibel View Post
    Well, the Fiat 500 is based on the (cheaper) Fiat Panda, and there has been an AWD version of the Panda for some time now. So putting it in the 500 would surely require next to zero development.

    Looking up the specs, looks like a regular Panda weighs 980 Kg and the 4x4 weighs 1090 Kg, a weight penalty of 110 K. 242 pounds. That's not too bad as far as those things go.
    Well, I can tell you from my test driving that the AWD version of a car is often noticeably slower and also heavier feeling than the FWD/RWD version. In a compact (or even mid-sized car) an extra 250 pounds of deadweight is something you're gonna notice, at the pump, in the curves and 0-60.

    Again, I come to the question.... why?

    The world managed to turn ok when AWD was something a few Audis and Subarus offered and almost no one else did.

    Today, AWD is probably 50-plus percent of the market (either standard or as an option).

    I can see it if you live in a place like Vermont or Minnesota, places that have routinely severe winters and lots of snow. Even in those cases, a good driver in a FWD car equipped with a set of Blizzaks will usually be ok. The truth is that ground clearance - whether the roads have been plowed recently - is probably as much a factor as far as whether you're gonna get stuck or not as having AWD (or 4WD). And most AWD-equipped cars (excepting a few models like the Volvo Cross Country and so on) don't have all that much ground clearance - or more, at any rate, than an equivalent FWD or RWD version of the same car. Ride up on piled-high unplowed snow and you're not going to get where you're going - AWD or no AWD.

    Most of the time, most roads are plowed. Yes, there are the occasional Big Storms - but (for one) you probably ought to stay home anyway and (for two) does it make sense to buy a car based on needing its capability maybe a handful of days out of the year - and he rest of the year, paying more for gas, getting less in the way of acceleration and handling - and knowing that it's going to cost more to maintain/fix it as it ages?

    But what about the handling advantages of AWD the rest of the time?

    Yes, AWD offers a theoretical cornering advantage on dry pavement - but this only becomes a real-world cornering advantage if you are driving at a much faster than legal (and much higher than most people's skill level) rate of speed.

    The baseline handling limits of any new/late model FWD or RWD car are already much higher than both the skill set of most drivers in terms of their ability to reach the "limits" of the car's chassis.

    And even if the driver in question is a high-skilled one, the reality is you have to be really moving to approach the built-in limits of grip in almost any new car, even a basic economy car.

    On the streets, within the envelope of legal speeds - even with a margin of say 10-15 MPH over the typical posted limit - AWD is an irrelevance.

    And: All new cars come with some type of traction/stability control, which to a great extent obviates AWD. The electronics keep the car in line. Back in the days before stability control, having AWD did increase the car's controllability at real-world/legal speeds, during the occasional situation that might crop up such as hitting a slick spot in a curve. But today, the stability control will tae care of such situations 99 percent of the time as effectively as having AWD and for much less money (and weight and loss of performance and decrease in fuel economy).

    The PR flacks have convinced the public otherwise, of course, by getting them to envision themselves as the cool dude in the commercial, getting sideways on an always free-of-traffic (and cops) Pacific Coast Highway that's (small print at the bottom of the screen) "closed to the public... professional driver... do not attempt."

    But in the real world, it's a waste for nine out of ten drivers, just like 4WD.

  8. #28
    Senior Member misterdecibel's Avatar
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    I agree in principle.

    However, in the snow belt, if an AWD subcompact gives people a non-truck option for a 12-month vehicle, then I'm all for it. I think it makes more sense to have a feature on your car that is senseless for 10 months out of the year, than to have a whole vehicle that is senseless for 10 months out of the year. And there are people who buy trucks just because of those two months.

  9. #29
    Senior Member misterdecibel's Avatar
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    Hey Eric, are there any early sales figures out on the Fiat 500 yet? Seems to me they've done a good job of getting the word out, I encounter more people who are curious about them, the Fiat is an automotive talking point. I don't think as many non-car-people were even aware of Fiat back in the '70s.

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