If you recall my Bucket List post, you probably remember that one of the things on my wish list was getting a Fiat 500. Yes, I know there are better and more economical cars to drive around. I know that most ratings for this car are between 3 and 3.5 stars, and I also understand that with Fiat, you end up paying for the brand, and not the quality of the car itself. I know all that. However, I am yet to see a cuter interior than the one of the Fiat 500. It's been my dream car for absolutely ages, and I promised myself that the day would come when I would buy a Fiat 500. I am very happy to announce that that day has finally arrived!
But let me take you back to the beginning. For about a year I drove a secondhand Renault Clio from 2004 that gave me a few problems along the way. I paid just a little over £550 for it, and as a first car, this was great. I also wasn't planning on making long trips with the car, even though I'm sure it could make it without breaking if I ever were to travel from Newcastle to London,for example - (well...maybe the battery would actually die along the way, or my clutch would break...) To tell the truth, I’ve had a few problems with the car and it was quite frustrating at times. The Clio was okay for a first car, but I guess it wasn't the most comfortable driving experience in the world. And it did give me a few headaches. In the back of my mind though, that Fiat 500 remained as a promise for my future. I would somehow manage to get one. My very first NEW proper cute car.
A few months ago, my Renault Clio stopped working for good. After a few visits to a garage, I knew there was something very wrong with the car. Every time it came back, it felt exactly the same, if not worse. It was horrible to drive - very bumpy and making funny noises; I could feel the clutch going all crazy, the car wouldn’t go up a hill or a small inclined road, and the whole thing became frustrating. I was scared for a moment that I would soon be left car-less!
Of course the car issues brought new challenges! For example, as I became unable to drive the car (it was really, really bad), for a few weeks I had to go back to buses, and let me tell you there’s nothing worse than going back to buses after you’ve owned a car! - (And take it from someone who always traveled by buses until 2015!) Buses are overcrowded, rush-hour is the worst, and it takes SO LONG to get from point A to point B with all the stops...a nightmare!
The reason I chose to get a secondhand car as my first ever car (and especially as a first car in the UK - remember, I am Portuguese and we drive on the other side of the car/road), was because I had very little if no driving experience at all. I passed my driving test just a few weeks prior to moving to the UK, so even in Portugal, my driving experience was ZERO, apart from driving lessons. After a year driving the Clio around I got more used to the english driving system, and looking back I feel that it was very good for me not to jump straight into a new car, as I could have more easily had a crash. As with everything in life, practice makes perfect. And I needed all the time I could get to practice my driving in the UK. Not to mention the extremely expensive insurance I would have to pay for a new car as my first car.
A year went by - (crash-free if I may say so myself...), and after the Clio died for good, I started using my boyfriend's car every now and again, whenever I really needed. But this was not practical. Luckily, he works mostly nights, so it was easy to take turns and manage things nicely. However, sooner or later I would have to get myself another car.
Bruno and I drove past a Fiat dealership the other day, and we decided to stop and have a look, ask a few questions and work out prices to see if it was affordable for me to have a Fiat 500. We even went for a test drive and I remember thinking that the car felt so smooth, easy to drive and VERY, VERY comfortable and straight forward. No complicated buttons or confusing screens. It was all nice and neat. Little did we know that on that same day I would decide to actually get the car! I decided to go for a Fiat 500 Lounge in grey. A few days went by for the classic background checks, referencing and other admin related things and I found myself giving my Renault Clio to the Fiat garage for exchange. All I was given for the Clio was a miserable £100. Yes, you heard it correctly...£100! I paid over £550 for the car about a year ago... so I managed to lose £450. Shocking! Especially considering I've only had the car for a year!
I tried to put all of that behind me, and as soon as we signed those papers I was smiling from ear to ear! I could not believe I had my dream car right there for me! You know that feeling you get when you don’t actually believe what’s happening until you’ve got it or you’ve seen it? That’s just how I felt. I couldn’t wait to get inside my NEW car!
The Fiat 500 I chose actually already had some mileage, as it belonged to show rooms, but that also means that the price came down significantly, and regardless, we’re still talking about a 2017 car.
I was thrilled to bring the car home about a week ago. And I love driving it. It is super comfortable, and CUTE! I’ve gone to work in it and drove it around for the past week. Also, due to it's nifty size, I love how easy it is to park anywhere.
Probably one of my favourite things about this car is the interior. There’s just something about the colour on the dashboard, the pattern on the seats, the whole atmosphere inside the car and the light that comes through that panoramic roof that I just absolutely love. The roof is just gorgeous! The car comes with steering wheel controls and it has a five-speed manual, front-wheel drive, parking sensors and, of course a super classy shape.
I also love that the gear box is slightly more elevated than most cars. Because I am a short person (5'2), I always have to pull my seat up quite a bit to be able to see the road. This means that in most cars, reaching out for the gearbox can be a little uncomfrotable, as I have to really bring my arm down to change gears. The Fiat 500 solves that problem for me - another reason why I love it so much.
WHAT’s IN MY CAR
Even though I’ve only had the car for a week, there are some things I already keep in it. Here’s a list of a few things:
1. A pen drive set up with my music. Driving with no music is boring most of the times. Having a nice and mixed playlist is an essential.
2. A blanket / coat in the booth. You never know when you'll be needing a coat. If something happens and you need to wait for assistance, if the car has any problem and won't start in the middle of the night, you are sure to need a blanket, especially if it's winter in the UK.
3. A flashlight. I haven't put one in my car's booth yet, but it is going to happen very soon. Again, you never know when you might need it. Whether you get lost or something else happens, having a flashlight could be really useful. Yes, I know you can use your phone for the same thing. But what if your battery dies...?
4. Tissues. I can't tell you how many times having tissues in the car saved me. If you spill something, or need a make up fix, tissues can work wonders.
5. Iphone lead. I always carry an iphone lead in my car. Especially because I use the GPS on my phone so much everywhere I travel to, having a lead is like an essential to me. I can't even bare the thought of running out of battery after getting lost, or really needing to make a phone call, but it's too late because the phone has switched off. Having a lead in your car is always helpful.
6. A pen. I know what you might be thinking...'how random'. But having a pen in your car can be really useful if you ever have an accident and need to write people's details down.
7. A de-icer and scraper. It can get quite frosty in the mornings in Gateshead. Just a couple days ago I had to defrost my car before going to work at 8am. The temperature keeps dropping so it's always good to keep a de-icer in the car. Scrapers are pretty cheap too.
8. An umbrella. I always try to keep an umbrella in my car. It rains a lot in the UK, and whilst most people just aren't too bothered with umbrellas anymore (it can get quite windy and you can spend fortunes on several umbrellas a year - they all end up ruined on windy days), I still like to have it in the car. I hate rain and wet hair feeling, so my umbrella is pretty crucial.
9. A bottle of water, or something to drink. There’s nothing worse than driving, being thirsty and unable to stop, and having no water in the car.
I really do love everything about this car. It’s my dream car and I am over the moon! To me, this was an important achievement in my life and I am happy to tick this off my Bucket List. Which makes me wonder...what’s next?