Wednesday – It’s a tiny Tardis!

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Jessica When you venture inside the ‘bubble’ that is the modern Fiat 500, you enter into a spacious little pod with buttons and surfaces that you want to explore with your fingers. Passengers are surrounded by the comforting sound of a sewing machine engine,  good for any fashionistas out there.

It’s particularly enjoyable when you put your foot down and find the TwinAir bombing up hills, passing bigger cars with hefty engines and a lot less flair.

I do admire the individualistic approach the Italians have to car design, not swayed by the well trodden features or layout of other manufacturers, they definitely take their own route.  One has to admire that when we are all in danger of becoming clones in dress, cars, gadgets and decor.

Talking of decor, the two tone finishings are retro but cutely modern and I loved the website where I could plan a Fiat 500 of my own and experiment with a range of possibilities. Very satisfying.

And finally, as if there was not enough going for this car, yes my pet hate, the manual! This one is cool, to the point and definitely designed to appeal to their particular target customers.

Go Fiat 500! Fun, zippy and a very pleasant surprise!

Friday – Cute Alternative

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The fact that I’m already looking for reasons to drive the 500 and it’s only Friday speaks volumes. A 875cc car with modest performance and a wacky paint job might not sound that exciting. However, the appeal of this tiny Fiat – based on the same running gear as the Panda – is much greater than the sum of its parts.

You don’t need to be a fashionista to be seduced by the retro curves and gorgeous interior either. Just look at the huge number of 500s there are out there. Fiat has taken a healthy slice of Mini sales from BMW and is now copying the German manufacturer with a stretched version and the racy Abarth too.

True, the 500 lacks macho appeal but it does put a smile on your face every time to climb inside. It’s not just ‘a girls car’ either, although you can sort of understand why hairy-armed blokes wouldn’t be seen dead driving one.

I’ve got an open mind on the supermini. I want to know if it’s a practical alternative to the lower-priced Panda and whether it’s worth the £12,000 price tag too.

Today Jessica and I will head down to the Pembroke Arms in Wilton, Wiltshire, with a large Hungarian Viszla on the back seat. Not sure many dog owners would choose a 500 for transport but nothing ventured!

Tuesday – On The Bounce

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I bounced around Mongolia once in a Land Rover Discovery. It was about the same time as the Mongol Rally, when people from the UK drive all the way there in cars which have to have an engine smaller than 1-0-litre. Oh and the cars have to be cheap – very cheap!

I’m disappointed that Chevrolet don’t make a 1.0-litre version of the Trax because it seems like the perfect Mongol Rally machine. The original Fiat Panda 4×4 has always been a favourite in the race but not many have survived the test of time.

Like most SUVs, the majority of Trax sold in the UK are going to spend their life on Tarmac. Today I had a chance to run it along some dirt roads and grassy fields – it performed really well considering it was on road tyres.

The short wheelbase and lightweight makes the Chevrolet perfect for uneven ground. OK, it may not be as comfortable as larger sport utility vehicles but with a decent set of off-road tyres, I reckon it would be unstoppable!