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RacerRon
06-29-2011, 03:03 AM
Winding Road has just posted a comparison test: Fiat 500 Sport vs. Mini Cooper. There have been several of these comparison tests from automotive websites and magazines. I thought this one was very objective. It pointed out the good and the bad from both cars, and even though they liked the Mini just a tad better than the 500, I'm OK with that. Neither car is terrible. It's just a question of taste. If all you want is a small car that is quicker than the 500, choose the Mini. But, if you like the 500's retro styling better than the Mini's, and paying less money for your car, choose the Fiat 500.

http://www.windingroad.com/articles/reviews/comparison-test-2012-fiat-500-sport-vs-2011-mini-cooper/

shil
06-29-2011, 08:58 AM
I liked the article.
I thought the 500's engine was from Michigan?

Fiat500USA
06-29-2011, 09:56 AM
That was a pretty good review. Very thoughtful and a lot closer than I thought it would be. The things that hurts the 500, in my opinion, are the high seating position and the body roll. Italian cars traditionally have more body roll but still handle great, however it is disconcerting to some. The 500's high seating position exacerbates the feeling, so compared to the MINI, with its low seating and tight suspension, the car can feel not as secure. As we have seen, the 500's cornering speed is usually the same or a little better in tests, but the seat height and the roll take some getting used to by some.

I would also say the cheapness of the door panels let the interior down. That would be an easy fix and put a point in Fiat's column.

Giallo Edizione
06-29-2011, 10:26 AM
That was a pretty good review. Very thoughtful and a lot closer than I thought it would be. The things that hurts the 500, in my opinion, are the high seating position and the body roll. Italian cars traditionally have more body roll but still handle great, however it is disconcerting to some. The 500's high seating position exacerbates the feeling, so compared to the MINI, with its low seating and tight suspension, the car can feel not as secure. As we have seen, the 500's cornering speed is usually the same or a little better in tests, but the seat height and the roll take some getting used to by some.

I would also say the cheapness of the door panels let the interior down. That would be an easy fix and put a point in Fiat's column.

Having come from a MINI S to the 500 Sport I can attest to the difference in perceived body roll. The higher point of view makes the roll seem more extreme and taking tight sweeps like freeway entrance ramps at full speed in the 500 is a scary ride at first. The steering in the 500 is faster than the MINI so corrections make it even more disconcerting. I'm still getting used to it. Now flip the cars around a street corner and the 500 is as good or better than the MINI IMO. The computer nanny is also more forgiving in the 500 than the MINI so you can accelerate out of the turn faster. The 500's are doing well against MINI's in auto-X. Just need a little power boost and they could dominate.

$5-6K difference in cost feature for feature is a lot. Add that kind of money in perfomance mods to a 500 Sport to make it a fair fight and it will blow off any MINI (oh right, that's called an Abarth). Then no one would notice the "cheap door panels".

PFVA63
06-29-2011, 12:33 PM
Thanks for the link. Its a nice article.

Regards

Pat

RLove
06-29-2011, 04:16 PM
It's interesting how the article is perceived by different groups. I had an '03 Mini S JCW and loved the car, and I'm still a regular on our local Mini forum. A member posted a link to the same article and the comments were what you would expect. "Fiat 500 another Mini? No way!", "Not near the car on the track", etc. The perspective is respective to the car the reader prefers apparently. The comments here seemed fair, while the MINI guys took away a condemnation of the 500 on all counts. :confused:

I like the Fiat 500 Sport, I suspect I'm going to love the Abarth, but I also loved my MINI. I don't understand why it has to be such a competition. Drive 'em both, buy the one you like the best and be happy about it.

kzod
06-30-2011, 10:03 AM
It's interesting how the article is perceived by different groups. I had an '03 Mini S JCW and loved the car, and I'm still a regular on our local Mini forum. A member posted a link to the same article and the comments were what you would expect. "Fiat 500 another Mini? No way!", "Not near the car on the track", etc. The perspective is respective to the car the reader prefers apparently. The comments here seemed fair, while the MINI guys took away a condemnation of the 500 on all counts. :confused:

I like the Fiat 500 Sport, I suspect I'm going to love the Abarth, but I also loved my MINI. I don't understand why it has to be such a competition. Drive 'em both, buy the one you like the best and be happy about it.

Couldn't agree more. Even on the Fiat boards there's lots of Mini bashing. It's silly. I just did an invite only Mini test drive on a closed course (tiny parking lot course to be honest). But, still it was so much fun driving the different Mini's around. Even the Countryman handled better than I expected. Non S models felt dead at the pedal after several laps in the more powerful cars. It's a great handling car, gets great mileage and is a lot of fun. Of course those same attributes apply to the Fiat. But still people need to defend their choices to make themselves feel better apparently. It seems worse on the Mini side, but since they are paying so much more they have more 'invested' in the car.

Personally, I prefer the driving of the Mini, the Fiat's interior, and was won over by the huge price discrepancy especially since I wanted all the bells and whistles.

einy
07-04-2011, 07:45 AM
Good comparison test ... best, most 'informative' to date, I'd say!

One (minor) point - the engine is not from Italy, but instead built in the GEMA plant in Dundee, Michigan. Ironic that the author writes "You’ll forgive us for going on longer than normal before getting to the good stuff—we just read so many wrong/ill-informed comments about the basic facts concerning these cars that we felt the need to get the tale of the tape sorted out properly." then makes this error.

cogtooth
07-04-2011, 11:03 AM
Good comparison test ... best, most 'informative' to date, I'd say!

One (minor) point - the engine is not from Italy, but instead built in the GEMA plant in Dundee, Michigan. Ironic that the author writes "You’ll forgive us for going on longer than normal before getting to the good stuff—we just read so many wrong/ill-informed comments about the basic facts concerning these cars that we felt the need to get the tale of the tape sorted out properly." then makes this error.


I had the same understanding about the engine, but someone corrected me and stated that it is assembled in Michigan with Italian parts. The US content is very low in the Fiat.

einy
07-07-2011, 07:53 AM
Some engine content is imported from various European suppliers, but much is North American based manufacturing. If the 1.4L follows suit with the others assembled at the GEMA plant (in Michigan), the block and head are finish machined there (with basic "cubing" machining done elsewhere), and the entire engine is assembled there. That is the method used for the current Chrysler corporate larger (2.0L / 2.4L) I-4 and the current V6.

cmj912
07-07-2011, 01:38 PM
I perceive many MINI owners to be giving me dirty looks. ;)
Don't get me wrong, its a fine car and such a marketing success but I never considered one as some of the very things listed about the MINI were detractors for me. It was too low for me to get in and out of comfortably, the ride was very harsh on our bad roads and the seating position wasn't high or soft enough. The very things that make the 500 Sport less attractive to these testers may very well be the reason I like the 500 Pop so much. It is soft, yet still fun to drive, has great style IMHO and was very configurable while being less expensive.
Perhaps if I lived beside the Nurburgring (sp) and the weather was always nice a MINI might be a great deal of fun for me. But sadly, I live in pothole-filled city with aging traffic infrastructure and I needed to see higher than the bumper of the SUV in front of me. While still having some fun.
Oh yeah, and I didn't want to cough up the extra money for something I didn't really like.
So - to paraphrase - buy the best fit for your needs and wants.
Are there any reviews (even from outside the USA) that test the Mini against the Abarth SS?
Jeremy Clarkson seemed VERY fond of the 500 Abarth when he drove it...

steve88
07-18-2011, 02:36 AM
Really interesting topic and i got a lot from this topic, It's really great review.

ciddyguy
07-19-2011, 12:31 PM
Winding Road has just posted a comparison test: Fiat 500 Sport vs. Mini Cooper. There have been several of these comparison tests from automotive websites and magazines. I thought this one was very objective. It pointed out the good and the bad from both cars, and even though they liked the Mini just a tad better than the 500, I'm OK with that. Neither car is terrible. It's just a question of taste. If all you want is a small car that is quicker than the 500, choose the Mini. But, if you like the 500's retro styling better than the Mini's, and paying less money for your car, choose the Fiat 500.

http://www.windingroad.com/articles/reviews/comparison-test-2012-fiat-500-sport-vs-2011-mini-cooper/

I could've sworn I commented on this post a while back but DID read the article however at the time and just re-read it again just now and have to agree, it's a fantastic overview of the difference between the 2 cars and really, they are SO close in most things but price and HP that it really boils down to which one you liked better.

They aren't the only ones who've come to this basic conclusion either and that says A LOT about Fiat's overall design ethos with this car.

I sat in what I think was the 2011 MINI back in 2010 at the Seattle Intl Auto Show and didn't like it's dash layout AT ALL, it's a jumble of components that layer on top of each other in a very busy way and with what looked to me to be a lot of doodads for switches and the audio head unit looked to be disjointed with parts of it overlaying the lower speedo cluster and parts of it below it. The Fiat's dash was MUCH cleaner looking and MUCH better laid out overall I think.

So while I haven't driven a MINI, I have driven the Fiat Sport and did like it a lot but the cluttered dash in the MINI leaves me cold and its price is just too much for what I can realistically afford anyway.

Freedomland
08-06-2011, 01:17 AM
Just got my light green white interior with brown/white seats 500 Pop..and its a lot of fun. Yes the steering is VERY light almost twitchy.. but I also have a 2003 mini (not S) with 147K on it and love how it drives..
one thing,,, the 500's ride is MUCH softer.. but not just the price...
anyone price the brake parts AFTER the 3 years???? here on LI Brown's had them for $290 for 4 rotors and 2 pad sets.. HALF the price of Mini. plus the Fiat rotors CAN be cut.. When you do brakes on a mini.. you change the rotors.. thats the design. while the Mini only uses fully synth oil the fiat uses 5w30..ok the Mini requires premium (even the plain none S one) the Fiat recommends 91 octane but you can use 87. Also.. my Mini is the 1st Gen model.. nice classic round speedo in the middle... radio/ac/toggles down below..at 2007 that all changed to the larger "in your face" pod style which i have never liked... (if you research it was a design originally suggested but rejected by the designer.. Frank Stephenson.. oh wait thats right he also did the Fiat 500..and it shows.. radio controls in the same place as 1st gen.. (back of steering wheel)

So i guess i have the best of both worlds

btw next time the mini guys bash the fiat.. ask how much is a brake job or other parts AFTER warrenty... and watch them wince.. I have

Fiat500USA
08-08-2011, 07:07 PM
Just got my light green white interior with brown/white seats 500 Pop..and its a lot of fun. Yes the steering is VERY light almost twitchy.. but I also have a 2003 mini (not S) with 147K on it and love how it drives..
one thing,,, the 500's ride is MUCH softer.. but not just the price...
anyone price the brake parts AFTER the 3 years???? here on LI Brown's had them for $290 for 4 rotors and 2 pad sets.. HALF the price of Mini. plus the Fiat rotors CAN be cut.. When you do brakes on a mini.. you change the rotors.. thats the design. while the Mini only uses fully synth oil the fiat uses 5w30..ok the Mini requires premium (even the plain none S one) the Fiat recommends 91 octane but you can use 87. Also.. my Mini is the 1st Gen model.. nice classic round speedo in the middle... radio/ac/toggles down below..at 2007 that all changed to the larger "in your face" pod style which i have never liked... (if you research it was a design originally suggested but rejected by the designer.. Frank Stephenson.. oh wait thats right he also did the Fiat 500..and it shows.. radio controls in the same place as 1st gen.. (back of steering wheel)

So i guess i have the best of both worlds

btw next time the mini guys bash the fiat.. ask how much is a brake job or other parts AFTER warrenty... and watch them wince.. I have

Great post Freedomland! Paying BMW prices for parts definitely gets old quick.