2002 Fiat Stilo Dynamic 1.8 petrol from Sweden
If you have a woman in your life, you know already what this car is like
- Airbag failure lamp popping up on a regular basis. Fixed with some anti-corrosion spray in the connection cables under the passenger seat. Had to do that every 2-3 months and the problem was gone.
- Faulty reg. plate lamp when I got it, had to be fixed so that the dashboard computer could be useful.
- Ignition was living a life of its own - sometimes, it would start at 1st crank, others it wouldn't start at all.
- Start engine was faulty, so I bought a brand new one, had it installed, problem with ignition was still there, although less frequent.
- Synchronizers for the 3rd gear were mashed when I bought it (the previous owner, an older lady, literally destroyed them), so shifting had to be done in a slow manner.
- A/C tank was empty, filled it up, turns out there was a leak in the system. Fixed, refilled, worked after that.
After having a Mercedes Benz E200, I became a sucker for a smaller car with some power under the hood, because they handle so nicely, and they've got that kick when needed - without blowing a hole in my wallet every time I step on the gas.
The standard Golf 1.6 with its 100hp felt a bit lacking, so I switched it for a Fiat Stilo 1.8 Dynamic with 133hp, 17 inch aluminum wheels, cruise control, automatic A/C system.
Right after the test drive, I was in love. Seats were comfortable, the dashboard was easy to look at, but most of all - that city power steering!!! My God, I never knew a car could be steered so easily until then! I could literally put my finger on the steering wheel and drag the wheel left or right and it would follow. The function went automatically offline at speeds exceeding 40km/h and would reengage <40km/h which was really smart.
The engine was packed with enough horsepower for it to kick right after 2500 RPM and had people turning heads left and right, the sound was crispy enough, yet still fairly subtle in the lower RPM ranges.
With my driving, which is fairly aggressive (I just love the sound of the engine at 3000-5000 RPM), the fuel economy, according to the computer was 9.1 liters/100km. I deemed that more than acceptable for my driving style.
After doing some research, I found that the engine had 133hp for a reason - this was a fully zinced chassis. Fiat had gone for the heavier body in order to repel all the rust that its predecessors had. Still, the car flew as soon as it hit >2000 RPM, and kept going strong in acceleration up until 80km/h, where it felt like all that was missing was a turbo to propel it in accelerating to 100km/h.
On highway, it was a bit loud in the coupé, I wrote that off on my 17" wheels and low-profile tires. Other than that, it was decently isolated.
Generally, I loved all the smart storage in the car (2 drawers under the seats, glove compartment, A/C cooled compartment over the glove compartment etc). Really practical when it comes to that.
But I couldn't get over the ignition problem. It was so random, I couldn't read a pattern off of it, except for the ignition problem being even more frequent when the car was driven in the city. Switched out starting engine, fuses, all the liquids in the car, timing belt and spanner, multi belt (the one on the A/C / generator / power steering), but the problem was still there.
After doing all of that, the mechanic told me "well, this has gotta be one of those classical FIAT/Alfa problems with the key reading fault, it has to be fixed by a car electrician". After I spoke with one of those here in Sweden, he told me it would cost around 300 Euros to localize the fault and fix it. After I had bought the car for 1400 Euros and thereafter invested around 1000 more, I couldn't handle the expenditures in my sky rocket so I left it at a dealer and picked up a 2010 Mitsubishi Colt 1.3 95hp.
Funny thing - the 2010 Colt is basically a 2002 Stilo with a bit different chassis, poorer soundproofing, worse handling, more wind-sensitivity and lower tax. Fairly disappointed by Mitsubishi, other than the reliability when starting it in the mornings, which has been stable ever since I bought it - I'm gonna sell this one too. No idea what I'm gonna get next. Maybe just go full economy mode and get a Polo instead.
FIAT will always be remembered in my heart as a little powerhouse which looked REALLY, REALLY, REALLY GOOD, for a 2002/2003 car. And that ignition problem will never be forgotten either. Looks good, tastes sour.
Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Don't Know
Review Date: 18th February, 2017