“Pope Francis talks the talk and walks the walk when it comes to frugality and protecting the environment. But how exactly does he go about saving polar bears? He chooses economical and fuel-efficient transportation.”
Get ready Fiat, because sales worldwide are about to spike thanks to the SCV1-plated, Verde Bosco Perla (forest green) Fiat 500L Pope Francis has been riding around during his most recent visit to the United States. As if Fiats didn’t already have flair and charm, knowing the coolest and hippest Pope to date “owns” one is reason enough to make me want to buy one.
Ever since the foundation of the Vatican, Popes have been sheltered and transported in the utmost of luxuries and security, but as most of us know by now, Argentinian-born Pope Francis has chosen to go a different route since being named Santo Pontifice of the Catholic Church. Given his recent visit to the States and the always-present media frenzy, there couldn’t be a better time to explore some of the greenest, and coolest SCV1s Pope Francis is rolling in. (SCV license plates on Pope mobiles designate “Stato della Città del Vaticano”, which refers to the vehicle registration belonging to the official Vatican State).
This now-world-famous SCV1 is by far one of the hippest Pope mobiles in history, not because it’s that cool, pricey, luxurious, or even highly modified, but because the Fiat 500L bridges two cultures together. I often come across people that are still sore about Fiat owning iconic American brands like Chrysler, Jeep, and others in what is now known as FCA Fiat Chrysler Automobiles. Hopefully, this green little guy along with the Pope’s blessing will solidify FCA as a household, approachable and cool brand in the United States.
In what is seen as an enormous act of humility, the Pope’s vehicle of choice at home is none other than a five-door Ford Focus. The Pope recently delivered a speech to U.S. Congress that called for stronger measures to protect our environment, and although I couldn’t decipher if the Pope’s Focus features a diesel or gasoline engine, most Focus models can easily achieve 40 mpg or better on the road. This particular Ford Focus retails for less than $20,000 and is far more modest than anything ever seen within Vatican walls.
Kia Soul and Sedona
By far my favorite SVC1 machine has got to be the ultra-cool Kia Sedona Papal Edition. Not only is the Kia Sedona a sweet minivan, but once you remove the roof, throw in all-white upholstery, and add the “Holy” option package, you are guaranteed a heavenly ride. The Kia Sedona and Soul were both featured during the Pope’s visit to South Korea. Once again, Pope Francis is keeping it real in his down-to-earth rides.
Hyundai Santa Fe
Another modest vehicle the Pope has been fond of during official travel has been the Hyundai Santa Fe. This SUV features a 2.0-liter turbocharged engine that delivers a respectable 22 to 27 mpg, and although the Papal version has been outfitted with an open roof and other interior bits, I can’t imagine shedding body weight would make it consume more gas. So, if anything, the Pope’s Santa Fe is lighter and even more fuel efficient.
Because you never know when that 4WD-Low is going to come in handy during an official Papal visit, the Pope has chosen a Jeep Wrangler (another FCA vehicle) to cruise around many Latin American countries this year. Although not much can be said about the Jeep’s fuel economy, I believe the Vatican has made the $40,000 Wrangler a worthy replacement to the $110,000 Mercedes Benz G-Wagen that was used in the past.
Other not-so-modest Pope-mobiles from the past…
Mercedes-Benz, Volvo, and Land Rover have been, at one point or another, official suppliers of SCV1 Popemobiles to the Vatican, although it’s Mercedes-Benz that seems to have the longest ties to the Papacy out of any other manufacturer. Whether it’s an S-Class, a Fiat Panda, or even John Paul’s II Ferrari Enzo, the Pope will always be one of the most important figures in the world, and therefore so will the cars he is transported in. Kudos to Pope Francis for advocating more affordable Vatican transportation and more financial help to the needy.
Photos by: Getty Images and NBC Media.