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  • 3/4 Front Glamour 2016 FIAT 500c
  • 90 Degree Profile 2016 FIAT 500c
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Expert's Rating

4.0Excellent | Details

MPG

30 City / 39 Highway
James FlammangJames Flammang, Contributing Editor -

Even more than its solid-roof sibling, the drop-top 500c version of Fiat's retro minicar revels in gently rolling Italianesque styling, mixed with a surplus of cheery personality. All versions of the two-door Fiat 500 radiate joy and delight, as did the original Italian-made 500 back in the late 1950s. On today’s roads, the turbocharged Abarth is particularly fun to drive. Even the entry-level version is more enjoyable and spirited on the road than you might think, as long as your expectations are realistic.

What's New for 2016

Most Fiat 500 models now feature a Uconnect 5.0 system with a 5-inch touchscreen radio, Bluetooth connectivity, and integrated voice command. An Easy trim level is now available, just above the base (Pop) model.

Fiat 500c

Choosing Your Fiat 500c

Unlike every other convertible on the market, the Fiat 500c cabriolet has fixed roof pillars and side window frames. In a configuration that harks back to European minicars of the Fifties and Sixties, the fabric roof folds down behind the rear seat, opening the entire passenger compartment to the sky.

The standard 1.4-liter four-cylinder engine produces 101 horsepower, and can be paired with either a five-speed manual or six-speed automatic transmission. The Abarth model gets a turbocharged version of the 1.4-liter, whipping up 160 horsepower and 183 pound-feet of torque, for dramatically improved performance. Fuel economy of the standard-engine 500c is estimated at 31 mpg in city driving and 40 mpg on the highway, with manual shift. Automatic drops the estimate to 27/34 mpg. Abarth gas mileage is less thrifty, at 28/34 mpg (city/highway) with manual shift and 24/32 mpg with automatic.

The 500c is available in five trim levels:

Pop

Powered by the 101-horsepower engine with standard manual shift, the entry-level 500c contains all the customary passenger car features, along with 15-inch steel wheels and seven airbags. Upmarket touches include heated power mirrors, cruise control, a leather-wrapped steering wheel, rear park assist, and a power-operated folding cloth roof. The six-speaker sound system features a CD player and iPod interface.

Easy

New for 2016, the Easy edition features premium cloth seats, a 7-inch color display, premium Alpine audio system, Uconnect 5.0 with 5-inch touchscreen, and 15-inch alloy wheels.

Lounge

The luxury model in the 500c lineup, the Lounge rolls on 15-inch, seven split-spoke alloy wheels and features additional chrome trim, upgraded cloth upholstery, SiriusXM satellite radio, a 7-inch color display, 276-watt premium audio system, and automatic climate control. Exclusive to the Lounge is the Luxury Leather Package, which adds leather seating with heated front seats, plus an auto-dimming rearview mirror.

1957 Edition

In spring 2015, Fiat released a limited-production Cabrio variant. Based on the Lounge model, the 1957 Edition (as its name suggests) adds design touches that create a vintage look, augmented by availability of “classic” exterior colors. Inspired by the 1957 Fiat “Nuova” Cinquecento, the 16-inch retro-styled wheels feature a wide chrome lip and large center cap with a historic “FIAT” emblem. A sport-tuned suspension is standard. The interior is Avario (ivory), contrasting with Marrone (brown) leather seats.

Abarth

Aimed at fans of economical performance cars, the Abarth packs the turbocharged engine with a sport-tuned suspension and beefier brakes. A specially-tuned six-speed automatic transmission is optional, to replace the standard manual gearbox. You get 16-inch wheels, along with sportier styling throughout. The available Comfort/Convenience Group adds automatic climate control, satellite radio, and heated front seats.

A six-speed automatic transmission is available as a $1,350 option. You can add to upper models a TomTom navigation system and a Beats Premium Audio Package with upgraded speakers and a subwoofer.

CarsDirect Tip

Charming and welcoming as they are, the Pop and Lounge admittedly fall short on serious performance. For plenty of buyers, that's not a demerit at all. They’re wholly content with a more relaxed brand of driving joy. Rather than feeling underpowered, they savor the lilliputian soft-top’s nimble agility and eager spirit. On the other hand, if the mere thought of a 101-horsepower engine makes you shiver, you'll be much happier with the more powerful Abarth.

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Fiat 500c Rear

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