What a Bad Idea

Wow, I haven’t been posting much lately. For one, things have been pretty busy around here, so I haven’t had much time to write. On the other hand, it’s been awful hard to think of good things to say about this:

Italy’s Worst Idea.

This is, in fact, a Fiat Idea (the Italians pronounce it eee-day-uh, which is sneaky to unknowing English speakers who rent cars). I had to take the Punto in for an oil change, and after much consternation on the part of the rental clerk, he finally proclaimed that he had a Fiat Eeedayuh ready for me. I, unknowingly of course, said va bene to that and signed the paperwork.

It wasn’t until I was halfway out to the lot that I thought about how an Italian would pronounce the vowels, I realized what I had just conned myself into. I had seen many cars wearing an “Idea” badge around Sicily, and I knew them for the pokey, ugly monstrosities that they are. I ran back to the rental clerk, saying “There must have been some mistake… I’m supposed to have a different car”. I think they conveniently forgot most of their English at that point, and so I was stuck.

With this.

(I can hear the SKREE-SKREE-SKREE of the horror movie violins even now)

Tiff says that when they were building this car, they just took leftover parts from all the other cars they’d made and assembled them into one, leftover car. Nothing really seems to fit together, so the only coordinating feature is the overall cheapness of everything. All of the fabric is a navy blue. All of the plastics are black. I have yet to see an Italian wearing a navy blue shirt with black pants. How did they come up with this?

It also has those blasted center-console gauges, again to save money when they covert it to right-hand drive for countries who drive on the Queen’s side of the road.

In keeping with the cobbled-togetherness of the entire package, the manual transmission is poorly matched for this little engine. For every gear, I have to let it rev up almost to the limiter before I shift, or else that poor little engine will be lugging along, unable to build up speed. Getting onto the Autostrada is hard work, and once I finally get up to speed it’s a battle to keep it there. Sometimes I scream along with the engine, to see if I can hear myself, and also out of fear that it’s about to blow up.

This car is about as long as the Punto, though it’s much taller. Nearly twice as tall. This means a better driving position and more headroom for me, but because it’s cut off at the back it has less luggage space. Too bad I can’t balance luggage on my head while I drive. It weighs about the same as the Punto, and has a smaller (still diesel) engine. Especially in crosswinds, driving this car is like riding a tumbleweed on the high plains. It just goes wherever the winds take it.

That little engine does get good mileage, though. During the gas strikes I was able to get a consistent 80mpg out of it. Try that in your Prius. But people won’t look at this car and think, “Man, that guy is COOL, he gets such good gas mileage.” If you want people to notice you, this is not a good car to drive.

Nope. Not a good car to drive.

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