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Old 05-08-2011, 06:40 AM   #61 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by zonker View Post
I loved the previous generation Ka and was sad they never offered it here.

As for the 500, I recall that our base version weighs 2360lbs and the 1.4L EU model is 2046 lbs.

a couple blurbs from various publications about our version:

Legal requirements forced many changes to the 500. For example since European plates are wider and shorter than ours, Fiat had to re-engineer the front and rear fascias to accommodate American license plates. Engineers also had to rework the A-pillar trim due to differences in crash safety standards, and increase the size of the windshield wipers to meet US guidelines requiring more windshield coverage. And of course the infamous “Objects in Mirror Are Closer Than They Appear” warning had to be added to US-spec side mirrors in order to meet federal regulations.

Some changes satisfy consumer demand rather than legal requirements. Americans tend to travel longer distances than Europeans, so all US 500s will have cruise control, which is not standard on European models. Americans tend to enjoy slurping sodas and coffee on the go, so Fiat also increased the cupholder size for US cars. Most importantly, Fiat has never offered a true automatic transmission on the 500 in Europe, since Europeans still favor manual transmissions. But Fiat decided that for the 500 to be a success in the States, it needed a conventional automatic.


Changes for the United States include:

* Redesigned body structure for increased strength
* Retuned suspension
* Over 20 hardware modifications/additions for improved noise, vibration and harshness (NVH)
* New four-wheel anti-lock disc brake system (ABS) with redesigned front calipers
* Larger 10.5-gallon fuel tank
* New gearing for the five speed manual transmission and a new six speed automatic
* Use of a MAP sensor instead of a mass airflow sensor
* Upgraded heating and cooling system for North American climate extremes
* Redesigned driver and front-passenger seats with a new armrest and seat cushion
* Easy-entry system designed into the new front seats
* New steering wheel controls and revised steering calibration to increase stability at highway speed (against crosswinds)
* Revised stability control with electronic brake-force distribution (EBD), anti-lock brake system (ABS) and traction control systems (TCS) to control all four wheels in response to yaw and steering input; this system attempts to understand and carry out the driver’s intent.
* New BOSE® Energy Efficient Series premium audio system features six premium speakers and a subwoofer
Interestingly at the same time in Europe there was a 'revised' 500 - no facelift, just under the skin stuff. Wonder if the two events are related

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Old 05-08-2011, 11:24 PM   #62 (permalink)
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That figure for US economy is probably worse then the figures suggest, despite the rise in fuel prices I still see large SUVs & pickups doing eighty plus down the interstate.
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Old 05-09-2011, 12:28 AM   #63 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by Old Tele man View Post
...maybe we should make the U.S.Govt get "out" of our lives, and let us drive paper-thin, death-traps to our hearts' content, so that the "Annual Darwin Awards" could become universally commonplace "daily" awards?
A few years ago, I was vacationing in Mexico and admiring the Mexican VW Bugs. (Original? Classic?) I got to wondering why I couldn't import one into the US, until I realized that this thing had an unpadded dash, no air bags, and likely crappy brakes and a plate glass windshield. Totally unsafe, don't ya' know.

Then I remembered I ride a motorcycle.
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Old 05-09-2011, 12:43 AM   #64 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by jamesqf View Post
Strange that so many people avoided dying while driving those "paper-thin deathtraps" built in the '50s & '60s, then. Not to mention that they were running on bias-ply tires and often using drum brakes, too.
1960 transportation fatalities, Highway total: 36,399 (Bureau of Transportation Statistics)
1960 population: 179,323,175 (Wikipedia)
1960 registered vehicles: 73,858 (infoplease.com, US Dept. of Transportation)
1960 vehicle miles traveled: 719,000 (infoplease.com)
1960 fatalities per billion miles: 50 (infoplease.com)
1960 average miles per gallon: 12.4 (infoplease.com)

2000 transportation fatalities: 41,945
2000 population: 281,421,906
2000 registered vehicles: 225,821
2000 vehicle miles traveled: 2,749,803 (About 60% passenger car; 1960 about 80% passenger car)
2000 fatalities per billion miles: 15
2000 average miles per gallon: 16.9 (Yikes. Passenger car: 22)

Quote:
Originally Posted by jamesqf View Post
Or for real irony, consider how many people use their big, safe (supposedly) SUVs & pickups to haul their quads & dirt bikes out to the country where they race around like maniacs. Or the ones which advertise sports like extreme skiing/snowboarding. So the upshot is that you must drive what is in perception an extremely safe vehicle to someplace where you will risk life & limb. (To say nothing of the added dangers of cell phones, in-vehicle infotainment, etc.) Excuse me if the logic escapes me :-)
Actually, as I recall, most of the "extreme sports" are very safe. You want a dangerous sport, try horseback riding.

Yours desperately in need of a research librarian,

(Edit: I originally had "fatalities per 1000 miles", which is really not reasonable. I just checked and infoplease's table is scaled by 1,000,000. Sorry.)

Last edited by mcguire; 05-11-2011 at 12:36 PM.. Reason: Very drastically incorrect statistics
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Old 05-09-2011, 11:38 AM   #65 (permalink)
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Depends on what you consider safe too. I practice a very underground extreme sport that as far as we know has never had a life-threatening injury in its history, but strained muscles and sprained ankles abound.
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Old 05-10-2011, 10:59 PM   #66 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mcguire View Post
1960 transportation fatalities, Highway total: 36,399 (Bureau of Transportation Statistics)
1960 population: 179,323,175 (Wikipedia)
1960 registered vehicles: 73,858 (infoplease.com, US Dept. of Transportation)
1960 vehicle miles traveled: 719,000 (infoplease.com)
1960 fatalities per 1000 miles: 50 (infoplease.com)
1960 average miles per gallon: 12.4 (infoplease.com)

2000 transportation fatalities: 41,945
2000 population: 281,421,906
2000 registered vehicles: 225,821
2000 vehicle miles traveled: 2,749,803 (About 60% passenger car; 1960 about 80% passenger car)
2000 fatalities per 1000 miles: 15
2000 average miles per gallon: 16.9 (Yikes. Passenger car: 22)



Actually, as I recall, most of the "extreme sports" are very safe. You want a dangerous sport, try horseback riding.

Yours desperately in need of a research librarian,
Those type of stats need to be taken in context as well. In the 60's 90% of the roads around here were dirt or gravel, all roads were 2 lane (in this area), most intersections were uncontrolled (in fact that was the case in the 1980's on most of the suburb/around town roads from what I remember) Snow removal was not so good (my father used to drive his snowmobile to work everyday in the winter because he couldn't get where he had to go). The hills were high and the roads curved around every little burg and farm (aka they weren't straightened, and flattened and sometimes were frightening during the day with dry ground) So perhaps the driving conditions themselves were also to blame?
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Old 05-11-2011, 12:25 AM   #67 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by mcguire View Post
1960 fatalities per 1000 miles: 50 (infoplease.com)
2000 fatalities per 1000 miles: 15

Yours desperately in need of a research librarian,
I think you're in desperate need of someone to give your factoids a reality check. 50 fatalities per 1000 miles? Or even 15? I'm not going to believe either of those.

The NTSA estimates "1.09 fatalities per 100 million vehicle miles" here: Traffic Fatalities in 2010 Drop to Lowest Level in Recorded History | National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) But of course this is not an entirely relevant statistic, because (as others point out) crash rates have decreased due to all sorts of factors like drunk driving enforcement, different numbers of people in the car, etc. If you were really interested, you'd have to find a statistic on fatalities per crash. And even that wouldn't be a real answer.

In any case, you're quite missing my point, which was that large numbers of people didn't die in auto accidents in 1960, and don't now. Though vehicles are safer, the cars of those days were by no means "deathtraps", and many supposed safety improvements have yielded marginal increases while imposing considerable weight, fuel economy, & driveability penalties which IMHO aren't worth the cost.

Quote:
Actually, as I recall, most of the "extreme sports" are very safe. You want a dangerous sport, try horseback riding.
Been there, done that. The bay in the foreground's mine. (Another instance of my reverse Beauty & the Beast syndrome: without ever intending to do so, I somehow manage to wind up sharing my life with absolutely gorgeous animals. Too bad it doesn't seem to work with human females :-()
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Old 05-11-2011, 12:29 AM   #68 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rmay635703 View Post
Those type of stats need to be taken in context as well. In the 60's 90% of the roads around here were dirt or gravel, all roads were 2 lane (in this area), most intersections were uncontrolled (in fact that was the case in the 1980's on most of the suburb/around town roads from what I remember) Snow removal was not so good (my father used to drive his snowmobile to work everyday in the winter because he couldn't get where he had to go). The hills were high and the roads curved around every little burg and farm (aka they weren't straightened, and flattened and sometimes were frightening during the day with dry ground) So perhaps the driving conditions themselves were also to blame?
Wherever possible the hills, dips, and curves have been tamed, and lots more signage (stops for sure!) put up, and huge equipment for plowing and spreading salt are dispatched at the first sign of a snowflake.

On the other hand, back then there was 1 car/mile vs 50 cars and semis/mile now (warning: made up stats).
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Old 05-11-2011, 01:04 PM   #69 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by jamesqf View Post
I think you're in desperate need of someone to give your factoids a reality check.
You ain't half kidding there. I've edited it.

Quote:
Originally Posted by jamesqf View Post
In any case, you're quite missing my point, which was that large numbers of people didn't die in auto accidents in 1960, and don't now. Though vehicles are safer, the cars of those days were by no means "deathtraps", and many supposed safety improvements have yielded marginal increases while imposing considerable weight, fuel economy, & driveability penalties which IMHO aren't worth the cost.
True, although a factor of three is still pretty impressive. The odd part is that we in the United States seem to have agreed that roughly 40,000 deaths per year are okey-dokey. The numbers don't seem to go lower, but when they get much higher (52,627, 1970; 51,091, 1980) are times that I seem to recall having much higher safety pushes.

The other rows in the table are kind of interesting. Passenger car occupant deaths have gone down, mostly, along with pedestrians and bus occupants (ok, three guesses on that one; first one's right). Motorcyclists peaked in the '70's (Hurt Report, anyone?) although they are higher now than previously; light truck occupants are also up (not a surprise, either).

Here's that URL: BTS | Table 2-1: Transportation Fatalities by Mode

Quote:
On the other hand, back then there was 1 car/mile vs 50 cars and semis/mile now (warning: made up stats).
1960 System mileage, Highway[1]: 3,545,693
1960 Total registered vehicles: 74,431,800
2000 System mileage, Highway: 3,936,222
2000 Total registered vehicles: 225,821,241

1960: 20 vehicles / mile
2000: 57 vehicles / mile

[1] Ahem: "All public road and street mileage in the 50 states and the District of Columbia. For years prior to 1980, some miles of nonpublic roadways are included. No consistent data on private road mileage are available. Beginning in 1998, approximately 43,000 miles of Bureau of Land Management Roads are excluded."

I think I love that site: RITA | BTS | National Transportation Statistics

What, so I have two cars (and a motorcycle). I've got two buttocks, don't I?
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Old 05-11-2011, 03:08 PM   #70 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by jamesqf View Post
Though vehicles are safer, the cars of those days were by no means "deathtraps", and many supposed safety improvements have yielded marginal increases while imposing considerable weight, fuel economy, & driveability penalties which IMHO aren't worth the cost.
Ever seen a crash test done to today's standards with a classic car, like the Beetle or VW bus ?
Check Youtube.
They fail horrendously !
In a crash they are deathtraps by any definition.

Ever seen the results of what could have been a very minor crash, but turned fatal simply because the victim rode in an ancient car like the Beetle ?
Well, this is what it looks like:


In this case the Mercedes driver was drunk and later convicted for causing the accident, but the accident would have been a non-event if he had collided with a more modern car.


We get to see the same thing over and over again with people refusing to use the most basic of all safety features - the seat belt.
An estimated 25 to 30% of all road fatalities in Belgium are due to the victim's ignorant refusal to wear the seat belt.

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