Saturday, May 6th 2017
UNM Johnson Field
Trooping with The Galactic Academy Ord Mantell School of New Mexico
and 501st Dewback Ridge Garrison
|Photo: Wildlife West’s newest arrival – two 8 month old Mountain Lions, Photo by Roger Holden, volunteer for Wildlife West|
At the 2016 New Mexico International Auto Show I drove four vehicles from Fiat-Chrysler America (FCA). Specifically, the Fiat 500 Abarth, Chrysler 300, Jeep Cherokee and Jeep Renegade. I'd say the biggest surprise was the Renegade. It seemed well appointed and for my size/style a very good fit. I would have liked to have spent more time in it. I drove the 300 because last year I was very surprised at it's solid delivery, smooth power, comfortable ride, and a drive that belied it's large size. It was a pleasant surprise in 2015, and it seemed only better in 2016. I am typically a small car buyer, but if I was in the market for a larger family car, I would definitely shop the 300 against well known foreign examples. The Cherokee met expectations, and again, like the 300, drove smaller than it seems on the outside. Comfy, with a more spacious cabin than I recall from previous encounters. I can't say I like the rotary shift knob, however, it's just unusual for me! Last, the 500 Abarth--small, very fun, and definitely punching a class above its weight. I daily drive a modified Golf GTI, so I was hoping I knew what to expect from the 500 Abarth, and I was not disappointed. The car rags always gush about the engine note in the Abarth 500 when it's wound-up, and it's every bit true. It sounds fierce! It seems like the perfect fun car for someone who doesn't need much room and has an itch for having fun on every corner.