I spent a fair amount of time in Europe in 2008-2009 and was impressed and a little jealous of the high feature small cars available over there. I loved seeing the 500 on the roads (you still see some of the old ones as well), but thought "this will never come to the states." Enter the bankruptcy of Chrysler and here it is.
I waited a few months after they came out, reading many of the new owner reviews here, as well as reliability reports on the European model (some adjustments were made for our market), and decided to trade my VW. A few months later I am amazed at what a great car this is, shockingly roomy in the front, enough for a few suitcases in the hatch, and not bad on gas..
"Sport" mode with the manual transmission boosts the car a bit without a mpg penalty (not so on the auto), I also like the simplicity of the dash layout, radio, steering wheel controls, and the like. It pays homage to the original but in a way that the controls are well placed. The blue tooth for hand free phone operations (though is over complicated for mp3 use, and a distraction).
Simpler, more intuitive voice controls for audio, and a spare tire on the base model (??!!), a better HVAC on the base model, it looks like it came from a 1990's era Kia.
Oh, and stop the J-Lo ads, please! If I hear another "oh that's the j-lo car" I may trade it in! Nothing against her, but I seriously doubt she drives one, and really misses the target market for the car in my opinion. The Drive-In one, that's pretty good.