Car: The Italian Job Comes To Olathe, Mini Cooper Killer Splashes Down

The Italian Job has landed…

It’s more than a little ironic that the movie that put BMW’s Mini Cooper on the map was 2003’s "The Italian Job." Now that  Italy’s spanking new Fiat 500 looks to be the car that wipes said MINI off that very map. The 500 comes into the marketplace for between $4,000 to $6,000 less money than similarly-optioned MINIs with better mileage on regular fuel and equal parts style and smile.

Trouble is, no one around these parts has so much as caught a glimpse of the 500, let alone driven one

Until now

As of this instant, you can hop in your gas guzzler and ramble over to Olathe Dodge, Chrysler, Jeep – soon to be Fiat of Olathe – and do anything short of the deed in a loaded 2012 Fiat 500 Sport that gets 39 miles-per-gallon and lists for a little more than $18,000 plus delivery.

A similarly-eqipped MINI with less rear legroom, half the trunk space and a growing, long-in-the-tooth look will set you back six more grand.

My President’s Day test drive showed  the car to be perky, quiet, solid, stylish, with a smooth ride that scooted like a go-kart. Not to mention that you could park this baby on First Friday in one of Peregrine Honig’s dressing rooms at birdies.

But don’t take my word for it, here’s what Kate at nearby Ulta had to say:

"I love it, it’s cute – I don’t really like the Mini Cooper."

Stop me on the street in a month and I’ll take you for a spin in the Prima Edizione one I’ve been waiting six months for.

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14 Responses to Car: The Italian Job Comes To Olathe, Mini Cooper Killer Splashes Down

  1. Cliffy says:

    No thanks.
    If I were going small I’d go with the new Ford Fiesta. Cool little car. I had a Pontiac Vibe for awhile as a second car and it was great … plenty of cargo space when you fold down the back seat. That’s as small as I care to go.

  2. bschloz says:

    Vroom
    Lauren Wants to Know where the other half is…
    Wonder if Minor Park would allow the Edizione on the course?

  3. mark x says:

    … enough already, Hearne…
    What is this, about your 10th post about the 500? Is Olathe Dodge giving you a kick-back for selling it here? Or are you just so hot for this car that you can’t help yourself?

    Get over it, it’s a clown car. Big folk (like you) just plain look silly getting out of a little car. Cooper Mini, VW Bug, and now this … girl / clown cars all.

    Give me a call, I’ll give you a spin in my Nissan 350Z. I guarantee I will cause you to lose bladder control.

    Man up.

  4. Rogger says:

    Fools Rush In….
    …where wise men fear to tread!

    Trying to compare the FIAT (Fix It Again, Tony) to a Mini is just plain dumb. The Mini is a high-end, high-tech, super-engineered, sports sedan. It’s a lot like a Rolex watch. You buy Rolexes at Tivol’s, not at Walmart or Kmart.
    This Fiat is a warmed over Euro commuter car with a tiny engine and no sports car DNA to be found anywhere in it’s blood.
    They’ve stuck some alloy wheels and racing mirrors on it, and want to pass if off as competition for a real sports sedan. That hasn’t worked in the past, and won’t work now. It’s the same as putting spats on a pig…it’s still a pig.
    This car isn’t even in the league with Honda, Toyota, Nissan, or Mazda, much less Mini. These are all factories and dealer organizations with thirty or forty years of solid history.
    We don’t even want to talk in whispers about Fiat’s shameful history.
    And all the Dodge/MoPar hype about “limited editions” is enough to make anyone with any amount automotive memory, gag and vomit in projectile fashion.
    There’s no Dodge dealer on earth capable of keeping these little tin boxes running, and the fact that the Fiat is being sold by Dodge should be the clue you need to see what the end of this story will be. Total and complete disappointment.
    This is nothing more than an Italian version of the Ford Pinto with a spoiler and racing stripes.
    Go back out to the Dodge store and beg earnestly on your knees for a refund of your deposit….there’s still time.

  5. chuck says:

    Tough crowd.
    .

  6. Hearne Christopher says:

    I like the Fiesta as well. There are more options available in the 500 though which was part of the attraction. There are a million options on the MINI.

  7. Hearne Christopher says:

    Maybe but not sure the golf club bags would fit

  8. Hearne Christopher says:

    Been there, done that on the Z. You and Craig can reinforce your manhood via your ride. Fiat of Olathe didn’t even exist when I bought this car. It’s news, brutha. The Star should be covering it, but when you look back in two years and see how many of these cars are on the road, you’ll realize this is a significant event. Maybe not your style, but not everybody has the same taste in a lot of things.

  9. Hearne says:

    You’re dating yourself, Jolly Rogger
    The Mini Coopers are made in England and have fared poorly in quality ratings in this country from the get go. The dealers are far from 30 or 40 years old – try 10. BMW picked up the defunct brand in a fire sale, and New Beetled it. Later adding a performance model, just as Fiat is doing with the Abarth performance model coming next year.

    You obviously have not read the automotive press on this car, referring to live in the distant past when manyy cars were of poor quality. Times have changed. This car features a high tech, award winning new engine made in the USA. It’s being built on the same line PT Cruisers were. It won’t be sold by Dodge but Fiat of Olathe, which is building a stylish new Fiat Studio that will open in Ma.

    In the words of the reviewer of the 500 in the current issue of Automobile magazine,, “Tony doesn’t have to fix anything.”

    And as for not drawing Mini Cooper buyers, guess what car I’m not getting because I’m buying a 500?

  10. Monkey Man says:

    Difference Is Glazer Does Get Laid
    Boys, I think our boy Glazer gets hot puss, maybe his cars help, don’t know. I don’t think it can help you old buzzards, unless you are hooking up with Granny at the park. Me I’ll take a Vette anytime.

  11. rogger says:

    NEWS FLASH !!!
    Great News!!! Chrysler Corp has announced that the FIAT will be eligible for membership in the PT Cruiser Club of America as a “baby brother” entry, due to heritage(think Aries K car, Horizon, Arrow) in styling and parent company.
    Unisex nylon racing jackets(pastels only) and long-billed ball caps will be available at the “studios” located on the aprons of Dodge stores. Don’t forget to pick up your “limited edition, soon-to-be-priceless collector’s items” enameled lapel pins!

  12. Hearne says:

    Uh, Rogger…
    You OK, dude?

  13. Rogger says:

    ROGGER TO HEARNE:
    A-OK, pal! Thanks for asking!

    I’m just wondering what kind of Mini-like performance and owner satisfaction you’re expecting from a vehicle of the Mini’s weight, and only 106HP to push it down the road? A Toyota Yaris or Honda Fit will spank you badly in 0-60 or the quarter mile. A Civic or Corolla would leave you in their dust.
    Let’s make an appointment at the Dodge store to get that deposit back. I’ll even go with you for moral support and tech advice.
    Wake up and smell the olive oil….it’s burning.

  14. Hearne says:

    Well, for starters I’ve driven a 500…
    So my expectations are fairly grounded. And it’s got 101 HP, not 106. And since I bailed on the performance and sports car world a handful of year’s back, I’m not concerned with spanking anybody automotively-speaking. Besides, most of the roads I travel are paved, so chances are I won’t be eating much Civic dust.

    Love to run out to the Dodge store with you if you want to look at the 500, but by the time locals can buy and take delivery of one, it will be at a Fiat (not Dodge) dealership. And again, I bought my car directly from Fiat, local dealers had not been chosen yet. So no deposit to recoup from local dealer. Although my deposit remains refundable.

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