About me / Life

Driving the little blue baby

As some of you may know, I currently work for French Radio London. Well, we currently advertise for Motorvillage Marylebone, London’s biggest Fiat dealer. And, aren’t they nice, they lent us a cute Fiat 500 to drive around! So we all get to use it, and yesterday was my first turn in it.

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I’ve done my license in the UK and on manual, but haven’t driven in a manual since, instead preferring my Mum’s automatic over my Dad’s manual at Christmas. But as it turns out, it’s kind of like riding a bike, you don’t really forget. It just takes a little while to get used to it again.

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Yep, I stalled a couple of times, and the brand new stop & start system is also confusing at times, but all in all I think I did quite well. I even cheered for myself a couple of times, like when I first did a hill start exactly the way I’d been taught: handbrake on, feet on clutch and gas at biting point, lights go green, handbrake down and goooooo!!!

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I also sang along to the radio (on Magic.fm of course, and also with CDs) and used my TomTom to go round (which worked most of the time, although Billy Connelly did get me lost a couple of times. Bloody Scotsmen :P)

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All in all the car is quite nice. It’s small but not Smart-ish small. The boot is quite roomey considering, but the back-seat takes the toll, with long legs not fitting in properly. Not behind the driver anyway. The dashboard looks nice, the speedometer is big and easy to read, but unless you study the manual before driving you might find yourself looking for things, like the buttons to open windows, which aren’t on the door, but near the gear stick.

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It turns a bit “swiftly”, so you shouldn’t make any sudden movements. Just gently steer. The gear stick is near the wheel which makes it easy to change, and I found the biting point to be quite easy to find.

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It drives nicely, and parking is also ok. Except I couldn’t do a parallel park between two cars, coz I’ve never done one actually. When you learn, you always park in a load of empty space behind a car, so there’s no going back and forth trying to fit in a city spot. I’ll try again though, maybe in a bigger space. And maybe you need to get to know the car dimensions first as well. Get a feel for it. Because it’s fairly small, three point turns are fast and efficient, no need to go round loads as long as you lock the wheel properly.

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I’d definitely consider buying a Fiat 500 (although I’d choose automatic I think), especially if you’re single and not planning on doing countless roadtrips with 5 people in the back.

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