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Old 28-01-2004   #1
Join Date: Jan 2004
Location: UK/France
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Buying advice needed

Hello folks!

I have owned quite a few FIATs since I have been driving, these are:

- (1986) Fiat Panda (2nd hand)
- (1994) Fiat Cinquecento SX (2nd hand)
- (1974) Fiat Sport Spider (import - still own)
- (2000) Fiat Seicento Sporting (from new)
- (2001) Fiat Marea 100ELX Auto (from new - still own )

On our last car, the one that my partner drives, we decided to take a departure from Fiat and get a Smart car ( auto ). This has not been successfull, the turbo blew leaving us stranded and it needed the timing chain done after 30k miles. The ride quality is crap and the quality of the interior is actually quite low when the stars dissapear from your eyes. Worse than that, it gives my partner backache when she drives it.

So now we have:
Fiat Marea ( lovely )
Fiat Spider ( currently being brought back up to tip top condition )
MCC Smart ( Crap, unreliable )

We are looking to replace the Smart and of course it needs to be automatic.

We don't want to get a big car, but it must have at least the Marea level of seat comfort ( Fiat know how to make comfortable padding for the posterier ).

So this brings into our range:

Fiat Stilo 2.4 Abarth ( except I hear that the automatic mode is not so good - comments? )
Fiat Punto's with Dualdrive or Speedgear ( anyone got any comments? )
or the new Fiat Panda, but that is only available in a 1.2 with Dualdrive auto.

I have driven a new Punto and Stilo ( I rent Fiats when I travel ) and found the 5dr Stilo a bit underpowered and the Punto remarkably agile - especially compared to the new Fiesta that I got lumbered with this time which has given me a pain under my left knee ) but both were in auto guise and seemed a little tacky inside.

Has anyone got any tips before we go to a Fiat showroom? Anyone have experience of the new Fiat transmissions?

Ive also learned to avoid Top Gear over the years, I cannot remember the last time they imparted any useful technical buying advice to anyone.
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