Review: 2011 Mitsubishi Outlander Sport

Mitsubishi has received criticism in the past for not offering a complete line of vehicles, but the brand has been working on that front. The latest addition is the Outlander Sport, a new small crossover. Based on its big brother Outlander, the smaller Outlander Sport is a rookie looking to fight in a very hot and highly contested market segment. Does it have the chops to take on all comers? Read on…

The Outlander Sport certainly looks the part. I am a fan of the ‘face’ of Mitsubishi cars, the leaning forward, aggressive mien looks great and seems to work well on the latest Mitsubishi vehicles. From other angles, the Outlander Sport is more anonymous in appearance, but sporty nonetheless. The side sills and rear spoiler separate the Outlander Sport from the herd as well. To sum, the Outlander Sport manages to be sporty and aggressive yet rather cleanly styled.

Unfortunately, that sporty exterior does not translate inside. While the seats were comfortable, controls and gauges simple to use and easy to understand, the interior of the Outlander Sport is simply uninspiring. Apart from a few pieces of silver painted trim, there is nothing to break up the sea of blackness. I was grateful for our test car’s panoramic glass roof, lined with LED lights, as I feared without it the cabin would be a dark and depressing place. The quality of materials was simply average. I loved the meaty steering wheel and sleek metal shift paddles, but Mitsubishi has a long way to go to sell me on the sport being inside the car too.

Which brings us to the drivetrain. All Outlander Sports share a 2.0L four rated at 148hp. A five-speed manual is standard in the base ES model. Drivers can choose between front and all-wheel drive. The top-spec SE, and all-wheel drive Outlander Sports come with a CVT. It’s a combination that offers little in the way of driving excitement. The ride was comfortable, again, never felt very sporty. This was a shock, since the handling of the Outlander GT was one of the aspects that won us over.

The Outlander is available in ES and SE trims. Our test car was an SE with all-wheel drive. Starting with a base price of $22,995USD, the Outlander Sport SE comes standard with 18″ alloys, auto climate control, heated seats, auto headlights, rain sensing wipers, foglights and LED taillights. Our test car included the Premium Package, which added a panoramic sunroof, roof rails, a Rockford Fosgate premium sound system, Sirius satellite radio, and a Navigation Package with rearview camera. Total price of our Outlander Sport came to $27,575, including delivery.

If I seem harsh on the Outlander Sport, I don’t mean to be-it is not a bad car. My problem is the sporty exterior promises more than the car can deliver, so it’s like you are being set up to be let down. The notion of the sporty crossover is gaining momentum. Cars like the Nissan Juke, MINI Countryman, and Kia Sportage give credence to the demand, and given such intense competition, Mitsubishi had to come in with some heavy artillery. While the Outlander Sport may look the part, dynamically it simply does not have what it takes to compete on the same level as these cars.

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NASCAR – Stewart Takes His Fourth Checkered Flag of the Chase, With 2 Races Left It’s Definitely a Two Man Chase

Tony Stewart performs his burnout after winnin the AAA 500 at Texas Motor Speedway - Image courtesy and (C) of Mike Mezeul II Photography

Tony Stewart took his fourth race since the Chase began and shows no signs of stopping in his bid to overtake Carl Edwards in the points and make sure that he is the first man to win a championship that is not named Jimmie Johnson.  After all, he is also the last man to win it before Jimmie started his reign for the past 5 seasons.  While we all hear the quotes from Tony Stewart just 8 weeks ago, and how he thought his team was not running good enough to make a run at it, he is now only 3 points behind and showing that hard work, determination, and sometimes shooting yourself in the foot, can get you anywhere.

Now Stewart has definitely changed his tune from his words at the beginning of the Chase and has been trash talking Edwards making sure he knows that he is coming to get him.

Tony Stewart raising the Trpohy in Texas after winning the AAA 500 - Image courtesy and (C) of Mike Mezeul II Photography

“I don’t think we have to say anything,” Stewart said in Victory Lane. “I think our performance spoke for itself. He knows we’re there — trust me. … Carl kept us honest. We got all the bonus points we could get and we got the win, so we gained more than we needed to gain on the average for the week.

“It doesn’t take much right now. It’s one spot, if a guy wins the race. We’re doing exactly what we need to do. I’m really confident right now.”

Edwards, never adding fuel to the war of words, handled his second place finish with his usual smile and class.

“Although we would have loved to have won, to be three points ahead, and then to have the third- and fourth-place guys farther behind, it looks like it’s truly going to come down to Tony and I, and that’s going to be a lot of fun,” Edwards said.

“I think if I could have stayed in front of him, I’d have been able to get him,” said Edwards. “The restart before that, he spun his tires, and I felt really good about that one,  he timed it just right on that last restart and hung on my door.

“I give those guys credit. They’ve done a good job, but now we get to pull out all the stops here. We’ve been hanging on, we’re leading these points, we get to pull out all the stops these last two races, and there couldn’t be a better place to finish it than Homestead. I think folks ought to stay tuned. It’s going to get pretty exciting, and I’m just glad Tony and I are out there, and we can race for this thing.”

As the final laps drew to a close and Jeff Burton held off the field by not pitting in sequence, it looked like Tony was going to have to settle for second place after dominating and leading the most laps all day, but with 5 laps to go Burtons gamble failed as he ran out of gas and Stewart sailed past him, holding off Carl Edwards for the win.

“It was worth a try. We thought we could save that much. I don’t know if we weren’t quite full that time, if we got a false [fuel mileage] reading the time before, or something; but we weren’t even close.

“We saved a lot of fuel, and to be that far off — we were a lap-and-a-half off of our calculations. So something didn’t add up. We thought we had to save six laps and if we’d have saved six laps it would have been close.

“But it ended up we had to save a lot more than that.”

Kasey Kahne had a strong run ending with a 3rd place finish.  One of his best showings this year for the #4 Red Bull team.  With the Red Bull team folding at the end of the season Kahne is still showing that he can run up front and challenge for the win.

“I watched Tony and Carl,” said Kahne, who finished third behind Stewart and Edwards. “They’re going for it. Tony raced me as hard as he ever raced me. I had to race as hard as I could. They’re trying to get as many points as they can.”

“It’s intense, trying to win these races right now. It’s super close.”

“The Red Bull team just keeps doing a good job,” Kahne said. “They’re working hard. It’s pretty impressive for a lot of them — not knowing their future, not knowing what’s going on there, if there will be a two-car team or one-car team — to keep putting the cars on the track like they are.”

Dale Earnhardt Jr. - Image courtesy and (C) of Mike Mezeul II Photography

Dale Earnhardt Jr. also had a strong run finishing inside the top ten again and proving that their team, although not yet winning, is working hard to get that result.  Finishing in 7th place on the track allowed Dale Jr to move up in the standings to 7th.

This new points system has proven that NASCAR actually does know what they are doing sometimes.  Giving us some of the most exciting racing since every point counts, and making the chase even more exciting than is has been for the 2 seasons previous by tightening up the points race.   That, coupled with their strong punishment handed out to Kyle Busch has shown me that the powers that be actually do listen to the fans sometimes, and sometimes they even get it right.

The Abandoned BMW Dealership

I caught a story on Jalopnik that I have been following, and just had to share with our readers. It seems through BMW online forums, word got out of an abandoned BMW dealer in Oakville, Ontario. Apparently, the building you see above is the former Citation Motors, who, for some unknown reason, lost their license in 1988, and locked the doors. The business was reopened in Toronto under the name Downtown BMW, which closed in 2002.

Now, for a business that shut its doors twenty three years ago, it would be safe to assume the grounds are completely overgrown, the building falling down, and little to see, right? Wrong. Amazingly, the property has been maintained all this time. Those who found the property claim it looks as if it could open for business tomorrow. But it gets better-there are two cars-an E24 5-series and a 635CSi that were essentially rolled off the car carrier, onto the showroom floor, and have not moved since 1988.

It’s safe to assume both cars have only double digit kilometers on the odometer. It’s incredible to see this pair of cars completely frozen in time. From people who have made the trek to the former Citation Motors, the shop is also full of BMW’s, and apparently a black 635CSi in similar condition to the car in the showroom. There is also an underground level, and I can only imagine what lurks under that still clean showroom floor. Jalopnik reports that the property is now for sale, carrying a price tag of $3.6 million, with the assumption all the buildings contents are included.

I confess, I am an admirer of abandoned buildings of all kinds, but it’s typically for the slow, progressive decay that captivates me. Yet, there is something undeniably curious, and fascinating about a BMW dealer that closed its doors over two decades ago, but has been completely maintained, containing cars built in 1988, yet are essentially factory new and unused. It staggers the imagination.

NASCAR – Biffle Leads a Roush Sweep in Texas, Stewart Winning The War of Words With Edwards, Kyle Busch Gets Grounded For the Weekend

Greg Biffle with Crew Chief Matt Puccia earlier this year at Michigan International Speedway - Image courtesy of JDTImages

This week we head to Texas with only 3 races to go in the schedule and everyone has something to prove.  Greg Biffle wants to prove that he can still win races, and do what he said was his job after the race in Loudon.  “My job as a race car driver is to go out there and give it my best shot to win the next 8 races”.  So with credit being given to his crew chief Matt Puccia, Biffle will lead the field to the green flag today for the AAA 500 at Texas Motor Speedway.  Biffle, the last driver to make a qualifying attempt, scorched the 1.5-mile track with a lap at 193.736 mph edging his teammate David Ragan by just one thousandth of a second at the line.  Ragan won the pole the last time at Texas as Roush showed how dominant their cars were on that trip to the track as well.

For Biffle, this is his 9th career pole, and his third of this season.  He gives the credit to his Crew Chief Matt Puccia for turning around his qualifying efforts and for giving him the edge he has been lacking.

“Ever since Matt came on board [in July], we have put a little more emphasis on qualifying,” Biffle said. “The draw for qualifying goes off of practice speeds. It kind of forced our hand to come here on Friday and start in qualifying trim, which we never [did before].

“The rules have forced us into getting a good draw for qualifying, so it’s up to us [rather than by random draw]. I made a total of seven laps today — now eight. That’s all I’ve done today.”

Carl Edwards - Image courtesy of JDTImages

Carl Edwards thought he had a shot at the pole, but was disappointed with his lap. As he got loose coming to the green, Edwards ran conservatively in a lap he called perhaps “too timid.”

“The Fords are so great here, and Jack Roush’s Fords run so well,” Edwards said. “I’m the odd man out there. I got shown up by my teammates pretty bad, but hopefully we’ll have a good, solid race.”

After trash talking Carl Edwards all week, Tony Stewart showed he was putting his car where his mouth was by qualifying 5th, 2 spots ahead of Edwards, and by running 3rd fastest in practice.  Now he can concentrate on staying out front instead of getting up there.

Tony Stewart - Image courtesy of JDTImages

“To be third in practice and top five in qualifying, that is exactly the way you have to start the weekend off,” Stewart said. “We’ll get a pretty good pit spot out of this, hopefully.”

“We’re not having to fight through all the crowd to get up there [to the front]. We’re going to be up there, hopefully all day, and just keep tweaking on it versus having to get there.”

So with Biffle on the pole the top 5 round out with David Ragan in 2nd, Matt Kenseth in 3rd, Paul Menard in 4th and Tony Stewart in 5th.

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Kyle Busch - Image courtesy of JDTImages

Kyle Busch has been grounded by NASCAR following an on track incident Friday with Ron Hornaday.  NASCAR has been soft on their rulings in regards to incidents like these since issuing their “Boys have at it” edict earlier in the year.  NASCAR President Mike Helton has been very clear though that should someone cross the line that “They would know when they saw it” all season, no one had come close to it, until now.

“The responsibility over the past two or three seasons we’ve given back to the drivers came, I think with a very clear understanding that there could be a line that got crossed,” Helton said. “As annoying as the comments that I’ve made personally in the past about ‘we’ll know it when we see it’ might have been, we saw it [Friday] night. Obviously after the event, a lot of folks put their heads together to decide what, if anything, we would do.”

“The volume of occurrences or reactions like I’m talking about, the rarity of those times that we’d make a step like this speak to the uniqueness and the severity of the topic. We understand the ramifications or the ripple effect of us making this type of a move, but we also take our responsibility very serious as to maintaining control of the event in all the garages; so it’s a balance there that we ultimately have to make a decision.”

While racing for position early in the race, Hornaday got loose and slid up into Busch causing him to brush the wall.  Kyle Busch took exception to that, and regardless of the fact that Hornaday was running for a championship, Busch lost his temper and spun Hornaday causing him to go head on into the wall as they exited turn 2.  This sent both cars into the garage where Busch was black flagged by NASCAR for “aggressive  driving” and parked for there remainder of the race with officials stating that they would “Revisit the situation” on Saturday morning.

Immediately after the incident Kyle was unapologetic about what happened on the track.

“If you consider Ron was in the championship maybe Ron could’ve played it a little bit smarter on Lap 15 and checked-up a little bit and given room to everybody around [him],” Busch said. “Obviously if you make it a three-wide situation — I can’t go up in the dirt. I’m already on the outside lane and there’s not three lanes out here right now. It’s the first race here this weekend.

“So If I just lay over and give up everything for Ron Hornaday, that’s not Kyle Busch’s fashion. I’m out here to win a race just as much as anybody else is. When he races up on my inside, gets loose and takes me up to the fence — I ended up losing my cool.

“I’ve been wrecked four weeks in a row [including two Sprint Cup races] and finally I’ve just had enough of it. Sorry it was Ron Hornaday and he’s going after a championship, but the fact of the matter is you can’t place all the blame on one person — there was two people that got into it to begin with and there’s two people that ended it.”

After the meeting on Saturday morning and his subsequent grounding for the rest of the weekend events, Busch was singing an entirely different tune as he issued the following apology to Hornaday, NASCAR, and to the fans for his actions.

To all,

I’ve had a lot of time today to sit and reflect, and try to put my thoughts into words as best I can.

I want to sincerely apologize for my actions during Friday night’s Truck Series race at Texas.

I apologize to my fans, all my sponsors, everyone at Joe Gibbs Racing and Kyle Busch Motorsports.

After talking with my team, it’s great to have their support and encouragement to assure me that there are better days ahead. Even though this took place while driving for Kyle Busch Motorsports, I am sorry for how difficult this has been for everyone associated with Joe Gibbs Racing’s Nationwide and Sprint Cup Series teams.

I’d also like to apologize to Ron Hornaday Jr., and everyone associated with the No. 33 team in the Truck Series.

I understand why I was taken out of the car for the rest of the weekend. NASCAR officials had to act, and I accept their punishment and take full responsibility for my actions.

As a racecar driver, the hardest thing to do is to sit on the sidelines listening to cars on the track when you know you should be out there competing. For this, I have no one to blame but myself.

Through a lot of support from the people around me, I feel like I’ve made a lot of strides this year, but this was certainly a step backward. Moving forward, I will do everything I possibly can to represent everyone involved in a positive manner. However, I know my long-term actions will have more of a bearing than anything I say right now.

Sincerely,

Kyle Busch

Many had commented on how Busch was showing a lot more maturity this year and how his demeanor has improved to the point where he was looking like a champion, but his actions on Friday reminded a lot of NASCAR fans of why they hated him so much since his arrival in the sport.  Hopefully Busch will learn something from this incident, since his championship hopes have been destroyed by his own actions, just as he wrecked Hornaday’s championship efforts in the truck series.  It’s one thing to wreck some one in a racing incident, but intentional actions which cause a wreck like that could have led to a much worse outcome that there was.  Thankfully all involved were uninjured and able to race another day, but with the recent passing of Dan Wheldon, the mortality of the drivers is still fresh in everyone’s mind.  NASCAR ruled with an iron fist on this one and set their position on where that line is, and hopefully no one will cross it like that again.

NASCAR – With Stewart’s Win at Martinsville is the Chase Down to a Two Man Race?

Tony Stewart - Image courtesy of JDTImages

Tony Stewart was asked as he stood in the Victory Lane at Martinsville if he thought that Carl Edwards was worried about his chance snow.  Stewart’s answer, with a huge smile on his face was “He’d better be worried. That’s all I can say. He’s not going to have an easy three weeks.”  And when we take a look at how Stewart and his teams from past season have run, he may be on to something.  Tony Stewart is one of the streakiest (is that really a word?) drivers in the NASCAR garage.  Once he gets on a roll he is very hard to stop.  This years chase has had a few bumps in the road for Stewart so far, but he is the only chaser to have more than one win since the chase began, having now racked up 3 marks in the W column since Chicagoland.

Carl Edwards - Image courtesy of JDTImages

But what does the points leader Carl Edwards have to say about all this trash talk?

“He’s wound up — he won the race,” Edwards said. “We’ll see what happens at Texas. I feel like we’re going to go there and we’re going to have as good a shot to win as anyone. This track [Martinsville] has been really, really tough for me.”

“Tony and those guys have obviously won three Chase races. When I sat in here on Friday (in Martinsville), I told you guys that I thought he was one of the guys that could win this race and be a guy that you have to beat for the championship, and he’s proven that. We’ll have fun. We’ll go race hard. They’re going to have to race us, too. I’m excited about the next three races.”

Stewart’s response? “I don’t care what he says. We’re going to go after him for the next three weeks.”

Edwards simply dismisses such trash talk.

“I’m fine with it because I don’t participate,” he said. “My job is to go out here and do the best I can, win the championship. I just got done talking to Tony. We joked around about it a little bit.”

“It is kind of fun. It’s fun to go back and forth, give each other a hard time. At the end of the day, though, I think Tony and myself would both be foolish if we thought all we had to worry about was one another.”

“I think you’ve still got three or four guys behind us that are just as dangerous, maybe even more, in this championship.”

So who could these 3 or 4 other guys be?  Well lets take a look at the standings and find out.  Stewart sits only 8 points behind Edwards and is the odds on favorite to knock Edwards from teh top spot and spoil his chances at a championship, that’s the obvious.  When we look at 3rd place back the field may still have a surprise or two lurking in the wings.

Kevin Harvick - Image courtesy of JDTImages

Sitting in third place in the points right now, 21 points behind the leader,  we have Kevin Harvick, Mr. “Where did he come from”.  This year Harvick has proven that hs is more than able to come from no where and take the lead at the end of the race.  Can he capitalize on that and do the same in the points race?    He was close at the end of last season coming on strong through the last 5 races and making it a 3 way chase between himself, Hamlin and eventual winner and 5 time champion Jimmie Johnson.  Harvick knows how to deal with the pressure of being up at the top this late in the season and has as good a shot as anyone to get there without making too many mistakes that could cost him his chances.

In fourth place we have Brad Kesolowski.  Brad raced his way into the chase as a wild card racking up 3 wins to get there.  He has been very consistent through the latter half of the season and all the way through the chase, running up front and showing that he is a strong contender, with the will and the drive to get there.  He is more focused that we have seen all year and has that fire to win burning in his eyes.  Although he has not been a Sprint Cup champion before he has a Nationwide Championship to back his credentials, and to show that he has dealt with the pressure before.  Being fourth in the points and only 27 behind the leader he has an excellent shot at it if he can remain as strong as we have seen him be in the second half of the season.

Matt Kenseth climbing out of his car after winning in Texas in April - Image courtesy of JDTImages

The fifth place driver, and the only other one I see as having a chance to upset the tool cart, is Matt Kenseth, 36 points behind his teammate Carl Edwards.  Kenseth has won a championship before as well and definitely knows about the pressure.  Although Kenseth has struggled in the past few races, his team is strong and has the same engines and chassis selection as Edwards does.  Kenseth has actually won a race since the start of the chase and that puts him in a better class than, Edwards who is still winless throughout the chase so far.  Kenseth also won the last race in Texas and has the ability to repeat that win and change the course of this years chase, of course it all depends on what happens to the rest of the field.  It’s a long shot but it is mathematically possible still.

Edwards may have been on to something, but the reality is that no driver has made up more than 12 points in a single race since the chase began.  When you are a full race in points behind like Jimmie Johnson is right now with only 3 races to go it is hard to visualize anyone that far back getting back into the game at this late stage.  Looking at it that way it really comes down to a 2 man race, with a chance of Harvick becoming the spoiler, a position that Harvick wants desperately to improve on after coming so close last year from the same position.

 

 

Chevy Discontinues HHR

Conspicuous by its absence from Chevy’s 2012 line of crossovers, the HHR has been dropped. The HHR (Heritage High Roof) first arrived as a 2006 model, and was left largely unchanged through its lifespan. Enthusiasts may recall the HHR SS introduced as a 2008, a neat little hot rod boasting a 2.0L turbo four rated at 260hp, a five-speed manual and racy bodywork. The HHR SS was dropped after 2010. Apart from that model, the HHR was a fairly unremarkable, but capable vehicle.

Personally, it is a car I am not sad to see go the way of the dodo. Chevy, as a brand, is moving forward with interesting new product, and the HHR was a reminder of Chevy’s recent misguided past. Spurred by the raging initial success of the Chrysler PT Cruiser, and with no original idea of their own, Chevy poached the guy who designed the PT Cruiser and charged him with designing basically the same car, but this time drawing inspiration from the 1949 Chevy Suburban. And he did just that, but by the time the HHR arrived, the PT Cruiser was in its sixth year of production, and the hype had long since faded. While the HHR did outlast the PT, such a retro design left little or no room for the HHR to evolve. The Chevy of today was smart to let the HHR quietly die.

Review: 2012 Fiat 500C

I confess-I am an Italian car nut. I still curse the cruel winter blizzard that was so harsh it cracked the engine block of my beloved Alfa Romeo Spyder. Around that time, the idea of someone in North America of average means owning a new Italian car went up in smoke when Alfa left the market here. Fast forward to the present. Fiat comes to save troubled Chrysler, and my prayers were answered when the news arrived the fashionable Fiat 500 would be sold on our shores. Once again, an affordable, fun, stylish car with an Italian accent is available to the masses here in North America. Yes-Fiat left here with a horrible reputation for selling rust-buckets, and being hopelessly unreliable, earning the infamous Fix It Again Tony moniker. But that was three decades ago, and the young, hip, trendy crown Fiat targets could care less.  That said, what’s it like to live with the 500C? Read on….

Cute as a button barely describes the 500C. The car is positively tiny, but seems massive next to the original 500. For a tiny car built to a price, the Fiat 500 packs flair its rivals cannot match.  But like a MINI Cooper, the 500C does not look cheap. This is just a fun car to look at from any angle. I appreciated the fine attention to detail, like the chrome exterior mirrors and other accents that added flair that at once recall the micro-car revolution in 1950’s Europe, yet the 500C never seems hopelessly retro. Our test car, finished in Bianco Perla (in other words, pearl white), and Bordeaux soft top gave the 500C an appearance that seemed to befit South Beach Miami than southern Connecticut. Yet, attending this year’s Fairfield County Concours d’Elegance, I noticed my little Fiat was getting as much attention as the million dollar cars parked on the field.

The interior of the 500C shows that you can offer a lot of style, but not at the expense of being ergonomically friendly. Take note, MINI interior designers. Even so, I did have to consult the owner’s manual to answer some questions about controls. So, if you were expecting Toyota Corolla simplicity, get real. The trade-off is an interior chock-full of character. Sure, the abundance of hard plastics and bargain basement carpet reminds you this is, after all, an economy car. But our car, fitted with Rosso leather seating offers a premium look and feel its rivals cannot match. The gauge binnacle includes concentric speedo and tach gauges, along with all other functions lit in a funky orange glow-all interior controls are displayed and backlit in the same hue. Different? Yes, but easy to get used to.

The 500C was my ride to the annual International Motor Press Association’s Test Days event, this year held for the first time in the Catskill Mountains in New York, hosted by Monticello Motor Club. Was I a little skeptical of the tiny 500C’s ability as a road trip car? For sure. The trunk is a joke, barely holding a soft duffel bag and my suit for a two night stay. But that complaint faded once I hit the button to peel back the roof and hit the road. On a comfortable September evening I carved my way up CT’s Route 25, enjoying the sounds from XM Radio pumped through Bose speakers. Once on Interstate 84 headed for New York, I opted to close the roof, and cruised comfortably and quietly on my way to the Borscht Belt.

Motivation for the 500C comes from a 1.4L four cylinder, good for 101hp. Depending on trim, you can have your 500C with a 5-speed manual (Pop only) or six-speed automatic. We had the top-spec Lounge model, and the automatic is the only tranny available. Despite its, um, anemic power, the 500C manages to get around quite nicely, thank you. Cruising at 80mph was basically effortless, and even when I reached higher elevations, the Fiat was never wheezing or hunting for the right gear. I was disappointed in the lack of steering feel, but otherwise the ride and handling of the 500C was comfortable, but not very sporty. Also, for a car of this size, the fuel economy ratings are a let-down, with 27/32 city/highway MPG are practically shameful when you compare it with four-door Hyundai Accents and Chevy Cruze’s that can get 40mpg on the highway.

The Fiat 500C is available in Pop and Lounge trim levels. Our test car, as mentioned, was the Lounge. Fitted with the optional Bianco Perla paint, 15″ alloys, and Luxury Leather Package (adds leather, heated seats, auto dimming mirror, Rosso red seats and Bordeaux top) for an as delivered MSRP of $26,050USD. Pricey for such a small car? Maybe, but try getting a MINI Cooper convertible equipped the same way at this price, and the Fiat looks like a bargain.

The 500C is a sunny, and delightful car to grace our roads. It’s no sports car, but it simply oozes charisma in a way other cars cannot match. Are there compromises to be had with the 500C? Certainly, but when you’re dealing with such a small, beautiful Italian thing as this car, wouldn’t you be disappointed if that weren’t the case?

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