Fiat 500C convertible
Price £13,540 - £17,690
- Cool retro looks
- Small engines are cheap to run
- Simple electric folding roof
- Basic entry-level models
- Not that much room in the back
- Not a 'true' convertible
At a glance
"All the retro style and city-driving fun of the Fiat 500, but with the sun on your back and the wind in your hair."
On first sight of the Fiat 500, you could be forgiven for thinking you had stepped back in time… Fiat‘s recreation of its famous 1960s city car is so faithful; you really can park the new and old models next to each other and compare like for like. Following on from the massive success of the 500 hatchback, Fiat wasted no time in removing the roof to create the diminutive 500C cabriolet. It's not a true convertible, though, as only the centre section of the roof folds down, and the window frames on either side remain in place. The range of small and cheap to run petrol and diesel engines from the hatchback is carried over, and unsurprisingly the 500C drives similarly to the hatchback, with light and easy controls. The same cute, retro looks are a big part of the appeal, and a big selling point for the 500.
MPG, running costs & CO2
All versions are cheap to run
Any 500 is cheap to run as the small engines sip fuel. The 1.2-litre engine musters 60.1mpg and emits 110g/km so Road Tax is £30 a year, while the 'Eco' version of this engine manages 65.7mpg. this equates to CO2 emissions of just 99g/km, dropping it below the magic 100g/km mark and thus making it free to tax. The diesel is by far the most affordable – it returns a fantastic 78.5mpg and emits 95g/km – that's a Road Tax bill of £0 per year. Insurance groups range from nine to 16, which is quite low for a convertible.
Engines, drive & performance
The 500C’s ride is firm, but not uncomfortable
The Fiat 500C’s compact dimensions mean it's easy to drive around town. Steering is accurate, and top-spec versions even have a button on the dash which makes the steering even lighter to help with parking. The 1.2 and 0.9-litre TwinAir petrol engines deliver 69bhp and 85 and 104bhp respectively. The former is short on power, so it's best to go for the TwinAir petrol or the 1.3-litre MultiJet diesel version with 95bhp. The 500C’s ride is firm, but not uncomfortable, while the most powerful versions with bigger wheels and tyres also offer plenty of grip in corners.
Interior & comfort
It's a civilised convertible
The 500C’s cabin is surprisingly quiet and refined with the roof down. The fact that it's only the centre section of the roof that folds away helps to keep wind noise and buffeting low, so it's actually a rather civilised convertible. As with the hatchback, there's plenty of room for front seat passengers, but those in the rear will find it a little cramped.
Practicality & boot space
The 500C's fabric roof folds back electronically at the touch of a button
Convertibles usually have less space inside than their hatchback equivalents, but the 500C's 183-litre boot is only two litres smaller than that of the standard car. It trumps rivals like the Citroen C3 Pluriel with its 137-litre boot and the MINI Convertible, which has 125 litres. The 500C's fabric roof folds back electronically at the touch of a button and can be operated at speeds of up to 37mph. It can also be partially opened, like a sunroof.
Reliability & safety
Optional extras can make this car look and feel more robust
As with the hatchback, the 500C offers a huge amount of scope for personalisation. The optional extras are well made, and when added carefully can make the car look and feel more robust. Overall, the cabin is of good quality, and it's noticeably better than that of the Panda on which it's based. Fiat’s reliability has been less than perfect in the past, but the range of engines used in the 500 have proved very dependable. The basic model misses out on electronic stability control, though.
Price, value for money & options
Don't expect big discounts in the showroom
Convertible versions of the 500 cost £3,000 more than an equivalent hard top, but still look like good value for money. The Fiat is much cheaper than its retro rival, the MINI Convertible. As with the 500 hatchback, don't expect big discounts in the showroom, as the 500 is a popular car in any guise, and Fiat dealers know it. The convertible comes in two trim levels – Pop and Lounge. Alloy wheels are optional on Pop models, but they're standard on Lounge versions.