President of the Fiat Lancia Unlimited car club (FLUCC) John Montgomery has recently published a list of 75 reasons why to someone should choose a Fiat 500 over a MINI. With the Fiat 500 going on sale for the first time in the United States, comparisons between them and MINI are inevitable. 120 U.S. Chrysler dealerships across the country have begun selling the popular European model and automotive magazines have already began placing the two vehicles head-to-head.
Both cars have a long automotive history and at the same time, they both compete in the the small premium segment. But would Fiat follow the successful path of MINI brand in the U.S.?
Time will tell, but for now, let’s have a look at these 75 reasons why you should buy a Fiat 500 over a MINI. Stay tuned for a similar list from MINI enthusiasts.
1. The Fiat 500 base price MSRP is $ 4600 less (-23%) than the base BMW Mini MSRP.
2. The Fiat has a 5 star European NCAP rating for driver & passenger safety. Mini has a 4 star rating on driver & passenger safety. Mini has 5 stars for rollover protection only.
3. The Fiat has better aerodynamic CD; Fiat: .35, base Mini: .37, Cooper S: .39
4. The Fiat base weight is 352 pounds less than the Mini’s base weight.
5. The Fiat’s maximum passenger/cargo capacity is 970 lbs., 154 lbs more than Mini’s 816 lbs.
6. The Fiat’s 34.8 ft. turning radius is over 3 foot tighter than the Mini’s 38 ft.
7. The Fiat’s ground clearance is 4.1 inches; the Mini’s ground clearance is 5.5”.
8. The Fiat has lower insurance rates than the Mini yet the same warranty; 4 years, 50K miles.
9. The Fiat has 3 year 36K free maintenance, includes car rental and is transferable!
10. The Fiat suspension sub frame is attached w/o rubber isolators that could fatigue or wear out.
11. Fiat has twice the percentage of USA/Canadian content and Fiat’s engine is made in Michigan.
12. Fiat parts prices compare lower in price than BMW Mini parts.
13. Fiat has 14 exterior colors but only two are $ 500 extra. Mini: 7 of 10 colors are $ 500 extra!
14. The Fiat is taller overall with more upright seating position for better road view than the Mini.
15. Fog lights on Fiat Sport & Lounge are standard. Fog lights for base Mini cost $ 250.
16. The Fiat Lounge has fixed glass sunroof standard. Mini has no such thing.
17. The Fiat electric sunroof is an $ 850 option but the Mini sunroof option costs $ 1000.
18. The Fiat has quieter DBA noise level at idle and at speed on the road.
19. The Fiat has lower emissions than the Mini as well as lowest in class.
20. The Fiat Bi-Halogen headlights use the latest hi-tech bulb and of course daytime running lights.
21. The Fiat has more space within the wheelbase devoted to passenger room.
22. Fiat drivers fit up to the 90th percentile adult, up to 6’ 1” without bumping headliner. Drivers up to 6’3” fit well in the 500 without the sunroof option (which takes 2” headroom.)
23. Fiat rear seat passengers cover a 70th percentile, up to 5’9 without bumping liner.
24. The Fiat has more rear seat leg room, Fiat 32.2”, Mini has 29.9”.
25. The Fiat 500 has 6.5 cubic foot trunk space, more than the Mini’s 5.7 cu. ft.
26. The Fiat has a longer luggage floor w/ seats upright, even though it’s shorter outside.
27. The Fiat 500 has a longer luggage floor with the seats folded down too!
28. The Fiat holds 30 cu. ft. of cargo w/ seats folded down; the base Mini only 24 cu. ft.
29. The Fiat base front passenger seat has storage compartment under seat cushion. Mini does not.
30. The Fiat has an outboard top seatback lever and inboard lower lever for rear passenger egress.
31. Centralized pod instrument bezel on the Fiat is directly in front of the driver, not on Mini.
32. Fiat driver levers; switches & controls are much easier to reach than the BMW Mini.
33. Fiat drivers do not need to tilt their head to see the heater controls, only look down.
34. The Fiat gear shifter is closer at hand than the Mini and a very short throw.
35. The Fiat center armrest is standard; the Mini center armrest is a $ 250 option.
36. Fiat offers heated seats & mirrors for less than Mini’s $ 750 cold weather combo package.
37. The Fiat 500 has an HVAC system with micron air filter for the cabin, even on base models.
38. The 500 offers “equivalent temperature” sensors, changing settings based on inside and outside conditions of temperature, humidity and airflow.
39. The Fiat includes a security system as standard, a $ 500 Mini option.
40. Tom-Tom docking feature on Fiat eliminates wires or plug-ins to cigar lighter.
41. The Fiat offers a superior “Blue & Me” interactive link w/ steering wheel controls & USB port.
42. Fiat’s Blue & Me system is $ 400 option, a similar system is a $ 1750 package on the Mini.
43. The Fiat has “Eco-Drive”, a down load application to review driving habits.
44. The BOSE 6 speaker system made for the 500 uses 50% less energy & 30% smaller hardware.
45. The Fiat BOSE audio has amps under the front passenger seat, out of the way.
46. The Fiat manual gets better mileage; the Fiat 30/38 MPG vs. Mini’s 28/37 MPG.
47. The Fiat does not require premium fuel. All Minis require at least mid grade 91 octane!
48. The Fiat 500 has a better power to weight ratio than the Mini base 1.6 engines.
49. The Fiat has patented Multi-Air valve technology, unavailable on the Mini.
50. The Fiat Pop, Sport & Lounge all have a stainless steel exhaust system standard.
51. The Fiat has hydraulic cam followers; Multi Air system reduces pumping losses.
52. The Fiat 6 speed automatic is $ 1000 option; mates buying the Mini pay $ 1250.
53. The Fiat automatic transmission has a one touch shifter + or -.
54. Fiat has a dashboard “Sport” switch sharpens steering and auto trans shift points.
55. The Fiat “hill holder” keeps the manual car from rolling back (or forward too) on grades.
56. Fiat has traction control standard. It’s an option on base Mini for $ 250.
57. The Fiat’s “HBA” hydraulic braking control compensates for pressure in panic stops and lowers actuation time for maximum braking force.
58. Fiat braking “EBD” reads actual wheel speed data for faster brake response times.
59. The Fiat “ESP” calculates wheel longitude and lateral grip, cutting in when wheel slip is beyond parameters by adjusting throttle input and opposite wheel brake bias.
60. Fiat’s “ASR” reduces wheel slip at all speeds and adjusts torque for grip detected.
61. The Fiat has 7 airbags standard while Mini has only 6. Fiat includes driver’s knee airbag.
62. The Fiat has double seatbelt pretensions to tighten in a crash event sequence. Mini has only single belt pre-tensioners. All Fiat seats include 3 point belts and reactive head restraints.
63. The Fiat has a lower forward vision angle of 8%, Fiat driver sits more upright.
64. The Fiat’s narrower “A” pillars are of high tensile steel for safety w/ better visibility.
65. The Fiat front & rear seats have anti submarine devices to prevent sliding under belts.
66. The Fiat has breakaway foot pedals in high impact frontal crashes to protect feet.
67. The Fiat has soft energy impact hood area in case the car ever strikes a pedestrian.
68. Fiat’s “FPS” (fire prevention switch) cuts off and stops the electric fuel pump in a crash, even a rollover crash. Then the Fiat automatically turns on the hazards, interior lights & unlocks doors.
69. The Fiat’s interior trim is flame resistant. Mini does not use flame retardants.
70. Fiat since 1899 is an independent manufacturer. Mini was BMC, now owned by BMW.
71. Fiat owns Ferrari, Maserati, Alfa Romeo, New Holland Tractors, Kobelco Construction Equipment, Magnetti Marelli and Teksid, the world’s largest engine foundry.
72. The original Fiat 500 appeared in 1957, the original Mini in 1959.
73. The Fiat 500 is sold in 90 countries; more than the BMW Mini.
74. Enzo Ferrari drove a Fiat to work daily. However, Enzo also owned a Mini and loved it too!
75. Fiat SpA holds the record for most European Car of the Year Awards (Fiat 500 won in 2008), most World Rally Championships, most Formula One Championships.