Pop Update: Fiat Pop 500c at 4,000 miles

Fiat Pop 500c DashboardI drive a 2012 Fiat Pop, bought used on January 11, 2014 with barely 1600 miles.

The Pop has mixed reviews, but I love it so far. Magazine and buyer reviews enjoy the go-kart like feeling; it’s an engaging car that requires a relationship with the driver. For me, that fits; I like the involvement. Buyer reviews complain about two things: cheap interiors and constant mechanical breakdowns.

Cheap interiors are the fate of low-end cars. The Pop’s cute and clever design far make up for the crappy quality inside. Now, I have driven low-end cars all my life, starting with a Bondo-bodied VW Bug propped up with plywood, which taught me long ago that you have to find something in your car to reconcile it with your poverty.

Fiat Pop 500c door lockThe Pop’s sporty, retro interior makes me happy. After signing the dotted line, I spent the next six weeks discovering the delights of clever Italian design. For instance, it seemed that Fiat forgot to include a way to lock the door until I discovered their trick of pushing the handle /in/! Apparently others overlooked the Fiat Pop door lock; someone made a YouTube video of it.

In any case, no matter how cute, if a car breaks down constantly, it’s not worth it. After three months and 2,000 miles, the Pop hasn’t experienced any of the mechanical horror stories people rant about on the review websites. The Pop does give a nagging tire pressure sensor, but those are notoriously crazy regardless of the car. Many reports say these sensors get twitchy in cold weather, and they break if you put fix-a-flat in your car. To keep the sensor off during the cold, I added air, but I accidentally over-inflated it.Twitchy.

On the consumer sites, users rave or rant depending on what they want to express, but they almost never come back to post an update. Yup, only a couple of months into Pop ownership and with just a small bit of the road, and I’m waiting to see.

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