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Old 14-04-2016   #1
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Is the Series 4 worth it?

I'm contemplating moving up to a new Lounge 500C this year but I have some misgivings. I currently own a 2013 Lounge Twinair cabrio which will pass to my OH while we sell or trade her Pop 500C. She does well out of it, gaining leather, alloys, B&M satnav etc. not to mention all the accessories I've fitted, but I'm wondering if I'll be much better off.

In Australia we have extremely limited options; the Twinair engine has been dropped and replaced in the Lounge by the 1400 from the now defunct Sport model. The car has the TFT instrument display and the Uconnect screen with navigation. Also on the plus side, it is now available in manual again. I would go for the 'Perfezionare' pack with leather, xenons and 16" alloys.

On the downside, I lose climate control, stop/start and my beloved TA motor. I fancied the burgundy colour with an ivory soft top but now find the 500C can't be had in burgundy (why ever not?).

What I'm asking from anyone who owns one is whether you think it's worth it, do the 'upgrades' make that much difference? Or would I be better off sticking with my TA.
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Old 14-04-2016   #2
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Re: Is the Series 4 worth it?

My first thought is after driving a TwinAir a 1.4 would "feel" awfully slow. Also I guess living in Australia you need good air con. The 1.4 (IMO) is not up to scratch at providing power for aircon! The 1.4 is hopeless at low revs and aircon only highlights this further. It would be a dog to drive and live with for me.
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Old 15-04-2016   #3
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Re: Is the Series 4 worth it?

As KaZetec said, I think the 1.4 would be a major step down. I have a 2014 1.6 NA Renault and I have the same issue where the A/C really saps a lot of power, to the point where I have to keep my foot planted further between gears to the point of making rev matching difficult, otherwise it can mean somewhat jerky progress.

By comparison the TA exhibits none of this behavior. A/C on or off you really can't tell.

You'd get a less driveable car that will cost you a fair bit more in fuel.

Personally, I'm slightly temped by the new cut price Abarth, but for 3k or so more I'm more tempted to go for the new MX5 (although I'd be going for a hardtop at around $40k).

Can you wait for the 2017 and then just import exactly what you want from the UK?
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Old 15-04-2016   #4
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Quote Originally Posted by UFI View Post
As KaZetec said, I think the 1.4 would be a major step down. I have a 2014 1.6 NA Renault and I have the same issue where the A/C really saps a lot of power, to the point where I have to keep my foot planted further between gears to the point of making rev matching difficult, otherwise it can mean somewhat jerky progress.

By comparison the TA exhibits none of this behavior. A/C on or off you really can't tell.

You'd get a less driveable car that will cost you a fair bit more in fuel.

Personally, I'm slightly temped by the new cut price Abarth, but for 3k or so more I'm more tempted to go for the new MX5 (although I'd be going for a hardtop at around $40k).

Can you wait for the 2017 and then just import exactly what you want from the UK?

Umm the TA is barely 10% more efficient and in traffic can even be less efficient! I agree with the AC thing but I find the 1.4 definitely faster than the TA as long as you keep the revs high !
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Old 15-04-2016   #5
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Re: Is the Series 4 worth it?

Let's just say you and I ahmett have quite different results regarding fuel economy. The current tank in UFI sits in the high three's (in l/100km).
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Old 15-04-2016   #6
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Re: Is the Series 4 worth it?

Thanks for your comments. I took a hatchback for a test drive today. There doesn't seem to be a 500C manual in the country. The 1.4 seemed adequate (wouldn't say more than that) but I didn't really get much chance to test it with the AC full on. One thing I can say is that it hasn't anything like the TA's character. Economy isn't a priority for me but I expect you're right about that.

On the plus side the 5" screen is OK and the TFT display leaves the old one for dead (and it's got indicator ticks you can actually hear over the music!!!).

They've stripped a lot of stuff out of the Lounge to hit their chosen price-point. I mentioned climate control and Stop/Start but that's not all, now there's no driver's side vanity mirror or under-seat storage for instance.

$28,300 (with leather/xenon/16" pack) for the 'C' without even the option of front fog lights!

All in all a disappointment.

Tomorrow I'll be checking out a Mazda 2 Genko - too many doors of course and no soft-top but top of the line with everything including 7" screen and HUD for sub-$25k.
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Old 16-04-2016   #7
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Re: Is the Series 4 worth it?

Quote Originally Posted by Piccolo Nero e Bella View Post
Tomorrow I'll be checking out a Mazda 2 Genko - too many doors of course and no soft-top but top of the line with everything including 7" screen and HUD for sub-$25k.
If you thought that the 1.4 lacked character compared with a Twin Air, wait until you drive the Mazda!
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Old 16-04-2016   #8
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Re: Is the Series 4 worth it?

Quote Originally Posted by Tom95 View Post
If you thought that the 1.4 lacked character compared with a Twin Air, wait until you drive the Mazda!

I'm under no illusions about that Tom, but it doesn't matter anyway, whatever happens we'll keep the TA.

Mind you, when I see them like this I have second thoughts about splitting them up... cute as.
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Old 17-04-2016   #9
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Re: Is the Series 4 worth it?

Why do you have/want to get rid of the 1.2 anyway?

How about a Citroen Cactus? I also really like the idea of ordering a Renault Twingo from the UK in a years time.
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Old 17-04-2016   #10
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Re: Is the Series 4 worth it?

It wasn't a case of getting rid of the 1.2 as such, UFI. I'd planned to update to a new 500C Lounge and my better half decided she'd like to 'upgrade' to my Lounge rather than we sell or trade it.

Unfortunately for the plan the new 500 was a disappointment. Lots more money buys you the TFT screen, the 5" inbuilt B&M/Satnav and a glovebox. I really wanted the burgundy colour with the ivory soft-top but no, the burgundy isn't available on the 'C'. No TA available of course, no climate control, no Stop/Start and a host of items deleted and replaced by a lot of chintzy chrome - even the fog-lights are gone. It simply doesn't stack up at $28,300. If I'd been able to get that colour combo I might have said "Damn the torpedoes", but...

The Mazda was just my first fall-back position 'cos I've been a Mazda man for 45 years (anyone remember the 1200 Coupe?). The 2 displays all the bland whitegoods appeal that made me look elsewhere three years ago - no flair but for $25k fully specced up it represents excellent value in comparison.

What's the story with UK imports? I haven't heard about this.
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Old 17-04-2016   #11
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Re: Is the Series 4 worth it?

From 2017 with the closure of local manufacturing, we'll be able to privately import any new vehicle from either the UK or Japan. You'll be more or less on your own warranty wise, but you'll be able to source exactly what you want in some cases save some money, get a completely unique ride and possibly make a holiday of the whole thing.

The exact rules aren't clear regarding low volume makes, as I've really got my sights set on an Ariel Nomad.
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Old 17-04-2016   #12
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Re: Is the Series 4 worth it?

Great! I wonder if I could get a London taxi...?
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Old 18-04-2016   #13
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Re: Is the Series 4 worth it?

I quite like the idea of a London Taxi for private use, but they're now built in China and they're not cheap. We actually do have around 20 of them in the Perth Taxi fleet as a trial.
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Old 18-04-2016   #14
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Re: Is the Series 4 worth it?

For everyone's information; I've just heard the 1.4 engine will not be produced for Australia after June. Both Lounge and Pop will be 1.2. so if you're thinking about a new 1.4, order now.
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Old 18-04-2016   #15
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Re: Is the Series 4 worth it?

I have not driven a TA but as the driver of a 1.4, I'd have to point out that the 100 horsepower isn't a step down from the 85 horsepower of a TA (I'm aware that some TAs are 105bhp but presumably not yours), nor does the 1.4 have any trouble at all in running the air conditioning. The 100bhp is useful for open-road performance and it remains 'nippy' around town, plenty of response off the line. It makes a nice burbly noise, not as characterful as the two-cylinder but definitely smoother.

I get an average of 6.3L/100km out of mine, which seems quite acceptable in the big scheme of things (relative to other cars on the road in NZ and Australia). A few L/100km economy difference is peanuts compared to the depreciation cost of driving a new car.

Personally, I'd suggest a second-hand TA to keep the character that you're used to, provided you can get the exterior/interior appearance you want. I know the TwinAir models in NZ were either the 500C Lounge or the Rockstar (the latter being a fairly basic Sport/S spec with a dark interior and reduced chrome trim etc.) I really wouldn't be too fussed over that small touchscreen; might as well just buy a windscreen holder for a smartphone.

Otherwise, I don't see the problem with having a 1.4, though I'd always choose a Dualogic for 'fun' and ease of driving (only five gears are necessary). Bear in mind that with a 1.4, the Dualogic operates faster in Sport than non-Sport mode. You would want the rest of the spec to be what you're after, though. Hope this is making sense

Have you considered a s/hand Abarth model as a real step up in performance and probably an improvement in resaleability/less depreciation? Seems you might prefer the less chintzy look, too

---

Anyhow... You might be interested to know that with a heavy heart, I've decided to sell our 500 (before it hits the 100,000km mark) and I'm replacing it with... A Giulie...oh, no, a Golf. Having already had a Giulietta, I decided at the eleventh hour (after a couple of test-drives) to try something totally different. It's a 2014 Mk7 Golf in blue with Highline trim. Loads of extras, big touchscreen, radar cruise, etc., 1.4 TSi and the especially-unreliable DSG that makes a Dualogic look like a really good idea.

At NZ$25k, this Golf is the same kind of price as an early Giulietta TCT or an early Abarth 500, but less performance, more practicality. Considerably less than what you were facing for a new 500 - that really doesn't seem like much modern-car for the money, does it... clearly the latest 500s in Australia/NZ are trading on a style/chic advantage, which means it has to be exactly the style you'd choose, otherwise it's a pointless exercise.

I've always admired the simple clean lines (most would say "boring looks") of the Golf mk1, mk2, and mk7 (a true return to form, ironically - and unbelievably! - penned by the designer of the Alfa Romeo 156). Last year I owned a Mercedes for a while; that broke the pattern of 34 FIATs and Alfas I had owned (no other brands ever getting a look-in).

Today I was thinking how much I enjoy driving the 500 around town. Ah well. Strange decisions happen to us all

I'll keep the number plate '0UR500'... because one day, I'll be back. Some friends reckon by Christmas...

-Alex
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