Posts Tagged ‘Fiat’

Evening folks, as you know by now I don’t report every bit of news that hits my inbox, instead I take it, read it and give you the best bits. I’ll leave the other sites to fight over the scraps we don’t bother reporting.
So here’s the important bits:

The pink complements George's eye colour

The First ever “Ireland Stands up to Cancer” gala charity ball took place in the new Convention Centre in Dublin on October 2nd 2010 and Fiat donated the brilliant little Fiat 500 1.2 pop which generated €30,000 in ticket sales and was won by Sally Anne Sherry from Ballsbridge in Dublin. There were some very famous faces there too which included Louis Walsh; Norma Smurfit; Aprés Match’s Barry Murphy and his TV presenter wife Flo McSweeney; Restauranteurs SallyAnne and Derry Clarke and Newstalk’s George Hook, pictured below alongside an appropriately pink Fiat 500 show car. All Proceeds to go to the following charities:

All Ireland Cooperative Oncology Research Group

Friends of St Luke’s Hospital

The Children’s Cancer Fund, Our Lady’s Hospital Crumlin

The Marie Keating Foundation

Hats off to all that attended, there was approximately €250,000 raised in total on the night.

Still with Fiat, a huge congratulations goes out to the Fiat Yamaha Team, the Spaniard  rider Jorge Lorenzo won his first World Champion title in the MotoGp class. Fiat have been the official sponsors of the Yamaha team since 2007 and have now gotten a third laurel in a row, the other two were won by Valentino Rossi in 2008 and 2009. See Smokerspack isn’t all about cars (but it is the preferred subject around here)


The Passat Bluemotion, in red, obviously

Sunday Times journalist Gavin Conway took a standard Volkswagen Passat Bluemotion on public roads around Britain and France and got 1527 miles from one tank of fuel, this equates to 89.83mpg which is amazing considering the this is a family sized saloon, to top it all the Guinness World Records Organisation officially recognising this as a world-beating distance! We’ll be putting the Golf Bluemotion to the test in November, expect swearing when we have to drive like dull people, I mean economically…

Aston Martin

A few weeks ago we showed you pictures of the Cygnet, the baby Aston based on the Toyota IQ. Well Aston have announced that they are to go into production with the little car. Not only that but they will tailor fit the car to your specifications. I can’t wait to see the 6ltr V12 version! Only joking, but it would be cool though, hmm where’s my measuring tape?

Car sales news from the SIMI

€129 million increase in Government revenues due to scrappage scheme, €43m in VAT and €86m in VRT. Renault are the big winners so far for their excellent deals, and will push ahead with the commercial scrappage.

The market share for each car makers break down like this:

Make Total % share  
RENAULT 2477 18%      
FORD 1839 14%      
SKODA 1407 10%      
VOLKSWAGEN 1286 9%      
TOYOTA 1265 9%      
KIA 830 6%      
HYUNDAI 761 6%      
OPEL 750 6%      
NISSAN 683 5%      
PEUGEOT 451 3%      
FIAT 417 3%      
MAZDA 373 3%      
SEAT 367 3%      
MITSUBISHI 113 1%      
CITROEN 112 1%      
SUZUKI 99 1%      
CHEVROLET 78 1%      
VOLVO 73 1%      
HONDA 71 1%      
AUDI 58 0%      
BMW 40 0%      
MINI 24 0%      
MERCEDES-BENZ 10 0%      
PERODUA 10 0%      
SUBARU 9 0%      
ALFA ROMEO 6 0%      
LEXUS 3 0%      
DAIHATSU 2 0%      
SAAB 1 0%      
Overall 13,615 100%      

Well that’s it for now folks, coming up is a test review for our favorite drivers car the Alfa MiTo, if you missed it watch the video here. Also to come the Citroen C3 on test this week.


There isn’t many cars that are capable of making you smile from the moment you see them, in fact there isn’t many things in the world that can make you smile, let’s face it this country hasn’t got much to smile about, with tax, bank bail outs, job losses it’s not a happy place to be at all.

Well I found the solution to all these problems and it comes with a soft top, the little 500 has been around since 1957 when a post war Italy needed a small, cheap and economical car to get the country moving again. It was very successful, it lasted all the way to 1975 when it was replaced with the 127.

It made a return in 2007 with the new retro model that we see today, now Fiat have taken a can opener and taken the roof off and I promise it will put a smile on your face to see it coming down the road, but it will make you a happy person to drive it.

You see the 500 is no shrinking violet, in fact in the time I was driving it around I couldn’t have attracted more attention if I turned up in a pink Zonda! Even parking it meant that it was surrounded by people by the time I got back. There is a certain Italian style about the whole car but it’s not all mouth and no trousers. The cabin is made out of some great materials and there’s great attention to detail in the styling. The best part of the design is the speedo housing, there’s only one cowl so on the outer ring is all the warning lights, the next ring in is the speedo and inside that is the rev counter. It’s nice to watch the rev needle chase the speedo needle around, in the centre there’s an MFD that can tell you everything from radio channel to average fuel consumption, when the car is stopped you can get into the settings for disabling the air bag and hooking up your phone to the blue and me system, which can be controlled by voice, so you can tell the car to dial a number and I have to say it never got the number wrong even when I spoke very fast, smart system.

On the road the suspension is firm but I would expect that from a car that has the wheel base of a roller skate, the little 1.2ltr engine puts out 68bhp but it doesn’t matter because even when your going slow it feels quick, it’s the size of the car, a go-cart with a roof. It handles like a go-cart too, you point the nose and it goes there, it’s a fun car to drive.

The point of this car is to be different, it does that perfectly, it’s non threatening, cute and most important convertible. The peel back roof is fully electric and can be operated by two buttons near the rear view mirror or the key fob. When it’s fully open it’s breezy enough in the cabin, if you leave it 3/4 open it’s just nice, a diffuser pops up at the front to push the air over the car. On a warm day it’s a lovely place to be when you’re pootling around town, and you don’t have to stop to put the roof up, you can open or close the roof at up to 60kph. When it rains the cloth roof make you feel like your in a tent, the pitter-patter of rain drops is homely while the climate control gives a warm and fuzzy feeling.

In the week I had the car I met many people, there wasn’t one of them who didn’t like the little 500c, on Saturday I met the Druid bike club, even some of the hairiest men thought the car was cool, Sunday I went along to a drift track where people only think about smoking tyres, the 500c still got the nod of approval.

From the moment I saw the little Fiat I started to smile and that smile only went away when I had to give it back, this is the only car that managed to evict my Leon from the garage, I made room for the 500 to sleep. This car has personality, it’s become a member of the family, the kids love to drive along with the roof open looking out at the sky. Sure there are some compromises, size being the obvious one, but I still got both child seat and an adult into the car, ok one of the seats had to be put in via the roof but that’s now a talking point. This is a car that makes you interesting, it shows that your not afraid to drive something different, yes it has only 68bhp but it makes you feel like it’s a sports car and that’s the point; it makes you feel.

Lots of cars make you numb, in time you forget why you bought them, you might even forget what car you drive, but I guarantee you won’t forget the Fiat 500c.

Prices start at €16,195 in the Pop model and €18,145 for the Lounge. The car I drove had these options:


COLOUR: Funk White Pearlescent

INTERIOR: Red Leather (with matching Red Roof)


Pearlescent Paint

Leather Trim

Xenon Headlamps with washers

Vehicle Dynamic Control

Interscope HiFi System

Total cost of Fiat 500C  €22,600

Want to see the smokerspack test in video? Right here

For further details on the Fiat 500 range please see or visit your local dealer.

Here’s the video of the Fiat 500c, we are very proud of this video, yes we’re getting better….enjoy!

First we start with VW news. The new Passat has been unvailed at the Paris motor show, now in it’s seventh generation it will arrive on our shores in December, there’s to be two diesel engines with both the 1.6TDI 105bhp and 2.0TDI 140bhp engines in VRT band A attracting only €104 annual road tax, there’s also a 1.4-litre TSI petrol engine producing 122bhp with emissions of only 138g/km qualifies for VRT band B attracting only €156 annual road tax.

Looks like it’s following the Phaeton for the looks department, if the engines are as good as the sound on paper this will sell like hot cakes. no pricing yet but expect the base model to be under €25,000

Fiat is the most environmentally friendly brand in Europe

Of the ten best-selling automotive brands in Europe, Fiat Automobiles has registered the lowest average CO2 emissions for the first half of 2010, just 123.5 g/km, which represents a 4.3g/km improvement on its 2009 figure. This remarkable achievement, corroborated by JATO (a world leader in automotive advisory and research services), puts Fiat ahead of Toyota (128.0 g/km), Peugeot (132.3 g/km), Citroen (133.4 g/km), Renault (134.6 g/km), Ford (137.0 g/km), Opel/Vauxhall (141.0 g/km), Volkswagen (142.2 g/km), Audi (154.2 g/km) and BMW (154.5 g/km).

If you own a 500, 500C, Grande Punto, Punto Evo, Bravo, Qubo or the New Doblò you can download a little program that keeps an eye on your driving style, Fiat Ecodrive is a great little application that I’ve been using in the brilliant 500c that I have on test this week, you can download it from install it and the application will tell you what to do from there, its amazing how much info the car gathers about your driving, if you follow what ecodrive says you can save fuel and CO2, its free too.

Fiat are also at the Paris motor show showing off the Giulietta . The safest compact car in the world (according to Euro NCAP, which awarded the Giulietta a score of 87/100) is fitted with a new 140hp 2.0JTDM-2 diesel engine.

The 2011 Alfa Romeo 159 will also be on display. The revised model benefits from a revamped interior and a new 136HP, 350Nm 2.0 JTDM engine with CO2 emissions of 134g/km and a combined-cycle fuel economy figure of 6.6L/100km. The benchmark 0-100km/h takes just 9.9 seconds and its top speed is 202km/h (All figures relate to the saloon model). The car on show will be a Sportwagon TI in exclusive “Rosso Competizione” livery. There’s more detail to follow on the show and Smokerspack gets to drive the Giulietta in December, expect lots of coolness.

So you have two kids, a dog and all the associated equipment to keep both species happy but you can’t fit it all in the hatchback, MPV cars are too expensive for you, what do you do?
The solution is simple, buy a van and install some back seats. This may sound a little extreme but that’s exactly what Fiat have done to the Doblo. They found that there’s another market out there for vans, no longer does it have to be the exclusive of builders and couriers, now families can can have the big, slightly embarrassing box outside the front door too.
The mighty Doblo can solve all your problems, need to move five people and a couple of washing machine? If your answer is yes, then you need help, but if the answer is maybe the the Doblo is for you.
Yes there is something deeply uncool about driving around in a van but yet Fiat have done a good job on the looks, they haven’t tried to cover up the fact that you’re in a van, instead they have embraced it. The boot lid is one example, it’s huge, it’s so big you could land a small helicopter on it. The front is pleasant to look at, there is something cute about the whole package.

Looks aren’t the biggest concern when you’re buying a car like this, practicality is all that matters, the Doblo has that in spades. With all five seats in place there is a massive 790ltrs of boot space, if you fold the seats away there’s 3,200ltrs and that means I can lie down in the back of the car, or you can take most of Ikea home with you. The boot opening is square and tall so it can take any shape of item you like, there’s a boot cover that can take 70kgs of weight on it too. In the back seats there’s easily enough room for 3 adults.

In the front seats you get a decent amount of equipment, cruise control, blue & me, a place for a Tom Tom, climate control and some cup holders. There’s more than enough elbow and leg room in there for any body shape. I should say that Fiat can kit this car out for Disabled use, I think from the seating position it would make a great car for this purpose, the front doors are huge and open wide.

The 1.6 diesel 106bhp engine is very good, there’s very little turbo lag and it pulls well enough. It’s noisy during acceleration but most diesel units are. The 13.4 seconds it takes to get to 100kph is long enough but we are talking about a van here, it’s not meant to be fast. It handles well in the corners too thanks to stability control as standard. It’s on long hauls where this car comes into it’s own, it’s comfy and quiet at speed, in 6th gear at 120kph there’s little or no noise for the engine.

The big winner here is the end user, the model I drove was the Eleganza and it could be sitting on your driveway for €19,095 that’s a lot of car for that price. The Doblo is the most practical car I’ve seen in years, there is something cool about driving around in something so un-cool, it says I don’t care what you thing of what I’m driving, I can carry more stuff than you anyway.

I grew to love the might Doblo in the same way you love a naughty puppy, it’s a Swiss army knife of a car just not cool; yet.

The sun has been shining all week, there is no more beautiful place on earth than Ireland on a sunny day, but all this sun can mean only one thing, the kids are back at school. Yes, whenever the people who make the most of the sun have to go into their rather dull dilapidated school buildings the sun comes out to play. I went to Japfest in Mondello Park on Sunday, it turned out to be a great day for everyone, there were loads of things to do and see, plenty of action on the track, the smell of tyre smoke hung in the air.
The car that took me there was the little Punto, it has been brilliantly styled by the Italians; it looks modern and above all cute. It seems to be an update of the Punto Grande, the Evo badge has nothing to do with performance, just that the car has evolved into….another car.
The interior is solid and really well built; all the surfaces that you touch are soft and plesent. The Drivers’ seat is a little on the short side for my legs and the upright of the seat is firm, that aside it is a comfy little car for the driver. The back seat is tight though, there’s just about room for two adults back there. One note for you, I couldn’t get a rear facing child seat in the back without moving the drivers’ seat forward, you can’t put the child seat in the front because there’s no way to turn off the airbag, not big problems but just something that annoyed me.
Something else that annoyed me greatly is the MP3 player, its part of the Blue&Me system. It won’t play from a Creative Labs Zen, or at least I couldn’t make it work, it seems to be iPod or USB stick only. What annoyed me is that it took ages for any song to start playing and when you got out of the car after listening to a few songs, when you start the car again it would start playing from the beginning of the song list again, also it would play a whole song and instead of going to the next song it would just play the same song again, it frustrated me enough that I just listened to the radio. If you have an iPod its fine, just plug and go. The rest of the Blue&Me is fine, the hands free and voice control work perfectly if a little slowly.

The engine in my test car is a 1.2 petrol 8 valve, it outs out 65bhp and it needs every one of them, it’s a tad underpowered. There’s a sporty feeling to the handling, there’s no hint of under steer when you’re on the back roads, but the lack of power from the engine means you won’t be going fast enough to worry about corners. Out on the motorway the steering becomes very light and I might say vague, even at low speeds the steering is light, but you can make it lighter with the city button on the dash. There’s also cornering lights, when you turn a corner with your head lamps on the spotlight on the relevant side comes on to light up a bit more of the road, it’s a good touch and useful too, the down side, it’s part of what Fiat call a style pack that gets you said lights, 15” alloys and metallic effect side mouldings and bumper inserts for €495.
It’s around town where this car comes into its own, the light steering, gearbox and clutch makes town or city driving very easy, there’s great visibility out of all sides and a flat rear makes it easy to park.
At the beginning of the week the Punto annoyed me, the lack of power and MP3 problems, but crucially by the end of the week the little Evo had won me over. It feels like it’s been made and styled by humans, the little quirks just serve to give it a bit of personality, it’s a fun little car that will give you something to talk about.
The Punto Evo range starts out at €13,959 and goes up to the Eleganza model at €18,095. The model I drove had the Style pack, metallic paint making it 15,915 but with scrappage and eco bonus you could pick it up for around €12,500. There’s plenty of competition out there for the Punto but none have quite the same personality.

Visit for further details, and check back for a video review of the Punto this week.

Fiat Panda 1.2 Dynamic Eco 2010

Posted: August 2, 2010 by smokerspack in city car, Hatchback, Small Car
Tags: , , ,

There are things in life that you can’t or won’t throw away, that pair of shoes that you’ve had for years for instance. They are falling to bits, they might even let a bit of water in on a wet day, but still when you put them on they give you comfort like no other shoe. I have such a pair, they are made by the skaters favourite Vans. I bought those years ago on a whim, you see they are very wide and I like that in a shoe, and it gives your foot room to breath. I washed them once, I stood looking at the washing machine like an expectant Father, hoping that the upper would stay attached to the sole, but all was well when they came out. They curled up a bit when they dried out, but once I’d put them back on my feet they soon went back into that same old shape, total comfort returned.

What seems like a million years ago I used to own a car like my Van’s, it was a Panda and I loved it because it was mine, bought with my own money. It didn’t matter that the name on the back was Fat and, the “I” was missing from Fiat and “P and a” from Panda, it was my “fat and”. To be fair it was brilliant little car, you could pile people in, put stuff in the boot and fix the inevitable break down with a hammer and some ladies tights. The body roll was terrible and the cabin would disintegrate when you drove over any bumps, but it was just like those old shoes; comforting.

This is what Fiat do well, make a small car that becomes like a little puppy, it almost gets a personally. People name their small Fiat’s, mine was called Angela because I once knew a very temperamental woman called Angela, and she has rusty bits too. Every few years Fiat brings out a car that everyone likes but only a few buy, people are somehow afraid of Fiat and there’s a reason for that. My self destructing Panda wasn’t alone, most Fiat’s from the 80’s fell to bits, they even marketed the car’s as “easy to repair” so even Fiat knew there was a shelf life on their cars. In the 90’s there was the Punto which was a bit of a “Friday car”, that means if you were unlucky you bought the last car Giuseppe made in his working week, lets say haphazardly. You could get a car that would go forever and not give any trouble, but just as easy be showered with bits of engine driving away from the dealer.

In recent years Fiat has gotten a lot better, you would be hard pressed to find a bad one, but still Irish people don’t trust the slightly mad little Italian cars.

The modern Panda bares little or no relation to the old war horse I once drove, it’s far better in all respects. The Panda has a great look; it manages to be tough and cute all at the same time, there’s a boxy exterior that leads to a flat tailgate. The boot space is 206ltrs with the seat up and 861ltrs, but you won’t find that information on any Fiat web site, I know I’ve tried, so treat the measurements as an estimate. Let’s just say the boot is small, it was hard enough to get a Mothercare push chair into the boot, with a bit of manly pressure it went in but it had to stick up above the rear seats. You must remember that this is a city car, built for pottering about the town; it was never going to be a load lugger. That said, there are only 4 seats, sure there’s a squab of sorts in the middle but I wouldn’t ask anyone to put their posterior on it. There are only 4 seat belts; the fifth can be added for €125 option. I set my drivers seat to where I like it and, I promise you, I would have to saw my legs off at the knees to get in the back.

On the road, the peppy little 1.2ltr engine is great, it’s the kind of engine you want to rev until you can see the pistons hitting the bonnet and then you change gear. From the drivers’ seat you would think you were in a bigger car, the dash is Spartan but it has all you need and no more, functional is a good word to describe the interior layout. There’s a little body roll in the corners but this is a tall car, surprisingly there’s very little under steer. If you drive it like a normal human being you will get great MPG, up around 40 or more mpg is normal enough.

Despite the problems, this is a city run about, no more no less. This is what Fiat does best, they should stick to small cars, if you’re willing to compromise on space or buy things specifically to fit the little Panda then you will wind up with a great little car that has something so many cars are missing, personality.

The car I drove is not for sale, but there are a few on Carzone so I’ve done the search for you here don’t say I never do anything for you.
Just for a laugh, watch the video, it’s funny