I bought this car 3 weeks ago as a 40th birthday gift for my wife. Since i was away i dealt with the dealer via email and collected the car on the day of my wife’s birthday without even test driving it.
The reviews i read was good however did not realise most of it was for the actual manual models. In my mind and with most people, an automatic should perform like an automatic just like any normal car.
To my horror as i drove out, the automatic did not perform like how an automatic was supposed to perform i.e just engage ‘D’ and its on it way. Every time the gears changed the transmission jerked and you could feel the push forward, imagine going through 5 gear changes with jerks. I called up the dealer and he told me its normal (the car is adjusting to my driving style) with dualogic gearboxes.
I was not satisfied with the answer and did some research on the FIAT forums only to find out that you need to drive this dualogic automatic like a manual i.e every time you sense the gear is going to change you need to ease of the fuel pedal (and it takes a lot of practice). I tried it and it was changing smoothly.
I contacted the dealer again and the dealer did not even know (or choose to ignore) that the car is supposed to be driven like that. Mind you they are selling cars without knowing or being able to explain how it works. The car only did 434km when i got fed up traded it in, in the process taking in a loss on the car.
But i guess the loss is much better than having to drive such a complicated gearbox and so un user friendly as it was designed to be a fun car to begin with. In my opinion, if you are not used to driving a manual do not go near a dualogic gearbox on the 500 as the drive will put you off. Mind you the cars are not cheap as well. I have since bought a Japanese car and i am much happier now.