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TheRootDC
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Posted at 02:28 PM ET, 01/04/2012

Fiat returns with J. Lo ad campaign

Seriously, what the Fiat is going on?

I’m sure you saw the J-Lo taking a Fiat to her old hood in New York in a commercial or maybe you noticed the Fiat in the middle of the stage, as she performed at the American Music Awards last year.

Maybe you missed this sexy little commercial involving a nerd, a woman in high heels, a cup of coffee and a Fiat. It zoomed pass one million views on Youtube the first week it was posted.


The 2012 Fiat 500 Cabrio by Gucci. (Fiat - Fiat promotional images)
Maybe you haven’t seen the Gucci logo tattooed, bleached white Italian compact car with a red and green streak down its top. For only $23,400 you can own a Fiat by Gucci. WTF?

I had to get my hands on the Fiat to kick the tires in the nation’s capital to see what the big or little deal was.

The persona of this little matchbox car looms large. A shadow of compliments and questions followed wherever I drove.

So the saying goes, “Sometimes, it is the little things that really matter.”

The Fiat 500 is a vibrant and magnetic fun dose of nostalgia. Quirky styling like a glossy finished dashboard and round headrests add character. Another unique thing is the mesh screen that can be closed on the sunroof to block bugs, shield light and contain airflow.
The interior of the 2012 Fiat 500. (Fiat - Fiat promotional images)

Though it speaks art deco, the Fiat zips through urban terrain like it grew up in the hood. It felt less comfortable on I-95N, for example, I was a bit overwhelmed like a gold fish surrounded by sharks. At high speeds, the Fiat felt more like a souped up go-kart than a car due to its rounded shape and lack of body.

Still the construction feels solid and not hollow like many other subcompact cars. Its size is definitely a plus in fitting in the smallest spaces between cars when parking on D.C. streets.

Yes, it’s the little things.

The Fiat is one of the smoothest shifting manual transmissions I have driven. Not a lot of engine power to speak of, but because it’s so small it doesn’t need much. But if there ever is a need, you have the “sport” button or “fun” button as I call it. Once it’s engaged the vehicle lets down its hair and moves with purpose.

Convenience is also a welcomed surprise. Blue&Me, Fiat’s collaboration with Microsoft, allows you to stream audio and talk on the phone through the car’s Bose sound system.

No cumbersome spare tire either; instead a neat little device loaded with fix-a-flat that can also be plugged into your lighter to inflate your tire. Who really needs the hassle of a spare tire or changing one, anyway?

Again, it’s the little things.

Speaking of little, Mini Cooper is currently in the driver’s seat of premium little whips, but Fiat carries the new kid on the block tag well. The Fiat costs thousands less than the Mini, has more cargo space and unlike the Mini, it can take regular gas. The Fiat also gives an additional 3-year warranty on wear and tear like brakes and wipers, which is rare.

All the commercialism with the Fiat may be overkill, if it really is the little things that matter.

Just test drive the Fiat 500, and see if size really matters.

Let’s Get SOCIAL

What do you think about the Fiat’s commercials?

Are you having second thoughts about the Mini or Fiat?

@FIATUSA

2012 Fiat 500 Sport Hatchback

Price Tag: $17,500 base ($19,700 tested)

Power: 1.4 Liter Engine 101 horsepower

Transmission: 5-Speed manual

Drivetrain:  Front-Wheel Drive

Fuel Economy (mpg):  30-city/38-hwy  Annual Fuel Cost $1,454

Mike Tucker is a D.C. native and has been a journalist of fine automobiles for more than 10 years. He is a single dad of three who believes in unique sneakers, great tunes, delicious food and God. You can follow him @1cooldad.

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