Summer, Soccer and the Seashore in a Sporty Fiat 500L
Quick Review of the Fiat 500L
Best for:A couple and their dog or a small family.
Will make you feel like:a sporty hipster crossed with a conscientious urbanite.
Ease of parking (from 1 to impossible):1
Gas sipper or guzzler:Sipper.
Who should be behind the wheel?Carla Bruni (sophisticated yet hip).
Space for:Four adults (two in the front comfortably, two in the back with limited leg room or one dog in the back), beach paraphernalia (chairs, umbrella, beach bags, soccer ball) or four bags of groceries.
Dashboard intimidation factor:Not scary: something for everyone with a mix of old-school dials for speed, mileage and gas, and a touch screen for navigation, radio and a rear view when parking.
When the parking attendant brought around the red Fiat 500L I'd be driving for my weekend getaway fun, I felt a surge of cool-kid-ness next to the other car owners waiting in the garage for decidedly more, how-you-say, American vehicles. Expecting to have to fold myself into a driver's seat more fitted for Armani slim slacks than Levi's rugged jeans, I was pleasantly surprised at the generous and comfy bucket seats of this four-door, hatchback from which I had a panoramic view of everything around me thanks to windows that are designed for optimum viewing with a front windshield that curves completely around to include quarter-side window panels that lead almost-seamlessly into the side windows on each door. Then there was the sunroof, which had a panel spanning the entire length of the roof that slid back to let the sun shine in through the glass, or if you wanted the full fresh-air experience, you pushed an adjoining button and the glass shifted back halfway to let the breeze rush in. Ambling down New York City's West Side highway with the sunroof open seemed a particularly civilized way to maneuver the rush-hour traffic. And once I reached my neighborhood, instead of dreading the usual parking experience I have with my boyfriend's truck, I was actually looking forward to sliding into the small spaces left between fire hydrants and cryptic NYC parking signs. And sure enough, a spot that would normally have to be passed on appeared. With the aid of the rear-mounted camera transmitted onto the dashboard screen, along with various noises meant to alert back-bumper proximity, etc., I slid into the space no problem.
The next morning, my guy and I had plans to take Cinquecento (Italian for 500) out to Long Island to spin her wheels on a mission to find the World Cup at the seashore. An early-summer storm was bringing some rain and wind, so we were pleased to find that the rear window featured one mighty windshield wiper, which combined with the front wipers, ensured a clear view ahead and behind us. Maybe because of the downpour, the traffic was light. We had plugged into the very user-friendly navigation system the location of a sports bar named Grumpy Jack's ahead of time, since once the car's in motion you cannot type in locations, thereby avoiding distracted driver syndrome. We zipped out to Long Island's north shore and felt downright modern and sassy as we wound our way past the giant mansions with their SUVs parked in the driveway and came to the little tucked away bar. After parking her near the door so I could make sure she wasn't being bothered by some of the bigger vehicles in the lot, we settled down to watch the Netherlands crush reigning champs Spain in the World Cup. And as the after-work crowd began to file in for baseball viewing, we hopped back in our Fiat and drove off to find a farm stand to see how much produce our little sporty steed could handle in the hatchback. Unfortunately looking up into the sky we saw dark clouds moving in, which we knew promised the afternoon-into-evening downpour that had been predicted. So after making a run through the local Trader Joe's and loading the back hatch with four good-size bags, we jumped on the highway. I was happy to note that the gas tank still registered three-quarters full and as we drove into the darkening cloud cover, I crossed my fingers that this small car could hold her own among the bigger vehicles that would be swimming along the Long Island Expressway. No worries on that front. The rains came hard and heavy, the windshield wipers worked at top speed and we made it home without incident, Cinquecento taking the puddles without incident and the navigation system calmly guiding us home.
See also:10 Rules for Renting a Vacation Home
The next day broke sunny and clear, so the first thing I did once in the car was open the sunroof completely, and because this was not a full convertible, I was actually able to talk to the boyfriend while feeling the wind in my hair. We put on some music—after a thorough investigation of the Satellite radio choices—and began the journey out to Long Island's south shore. I had plugged in the address of Meschutt Beach Hut in Hampton Bays, which I felt would be a bit of a challenge since it's pretty much just a shack on the bay (with a flat-screen TV set up outside to service those with World Cup fever). When our navigation lady said, "Your location is on the right" we were doubters, seeing nothing but what looked like beachy residential houses and boats docked in the Marina, but lo-and-behold right around the corner, smack-dab on the bay was our location where we encountered Costa Rica fans with beers in their hands jumping up and down on the outdoor deck as their team won over Uruguay. After sitting in the sun and having lunch, it was off to the decidedly more upscale village of Southhampton where we would people watch and catch UK vs. Italy. One thing about our little Cinquecento was that she fit in perfectly with her sassy sunroof and rounded curves, whether maneuvering among the cut-off and T-shirt crowd at a sandy bayside dive or gliding smoothly through the stiletto and sundress folk of the Hamptons. Post-game we hopped back in the Fiat as the sun was setting and made our way for the first time to give her a drink and fill up her tank. One thing we discovered is that the designers of the Fiat have done away with the traditional separate gas cap. Instead you simply pop open the gas flap, which has a kind of magnetic closing mechanism, insert the nozzle and pump the gas, thereby eliminating one step in your fueling experience to get you on the road quicker. Which, given the state of highway traffic on a Saturday night was much appreciated. After a little bit of bumper-to-bumper, and a discovery that our vehicle was a little jumpy on acceleration from sitting-still-in-traffic to get-up-and-go, we were suitably kept company by the great sound system coming through Beats Edition speakers and the cup holders for beverages (non-alcoholic, naturally), we arrived home without any road rage at all.
The next day was a full-on 80° beach day so we put our Fiat Cinquecento's back hatch to the test with two chairs, an umbrella, two canvas bags of snacks and towels, plus a soccer ball. It all fit without any squeezing. Then off we rolled to Jones Beach where, because it was that rare beginning of summer type of gorgeous (low-humidity, cloudless), we joined hordes of New Yorkers escaping the city. Our Fiat slid happily into the parking lot alongside a motley selection of vehicles, and although I noted the row number and lot we parked in, I somehow also knew we'd have no problem finding our sassy red ride among all the others. And, yes, once the day was done, the sun was waning, the ball had been kicked around and our umbrella and chairs stored back in her rear hatch area, we gave the navigation system a rest and cruised back home comfortably, happy to have used little gas and experienced even less aggravation on the highways and byways of New York.
Video: DNCE - Cake By The Ocean
Prince Harry And Megan Markle Have Their First Official Outing Together At The Invictus Games Opening Ceremony
Facebook just made an important decision regarding the abortion referendum
Smoothie Ingredients Chefs Swear By to Lose Weight
How To Be Attractive To Women – The 10 Laws of Desirability
Your Perfect Meditation Style
Winter Squash Bisque
6 Victoria’s Secret Angels Spill Their Diet and ExerciseSecrets
Best designer bags for moms
Cinnamon Challenge: Dangerous Game For Asthmatics
How to Remove Oil Stains from Paper
Elderly couple raved at club and thanked the DJ