Our cars: What Car? test fleet November - Fiat 500C
List price £14,100
Target Price £14,100
Run by Will Nightingale
Tested for One month/1155 miles
Now I know what many of you are thinking: 'real men don't buy cute convertibles, especially not white ones with red roofs.' Until recently, I would have agreed, but I couldn't help falling for Fiat's new 500C – and it was within my budget. So when it came to choosing a new car, I decide to take the plunge.
You can buy a 500C for just £11,300, but most buyers choose higher-spec versions. I did the same and settled on the 1.3 diesel Lounge, which has most of the kit I wanted as standard. However, I added larger alloys, stability control, an upgraded stereo and a self-dimming rearview mirror. I also forked out for pearlescent Funk White paint, which makes the 500 stand out. The total price was just over £15,500, which is a lot for a small car, but I shouldn't lose too much of that when I come to sell it.
I picked up my car from Fiat Marylebone (0844 662 5646), where managing director Tony Dittli showed me some of the 500C's features, including the roof. The soft-top design isn't as complicated as many convertibles' – only the centre of the roof retracts. The roof structure, pillars and door frames remain from the 500 hatch, which helps keep structural rigidity high and weight gain low.
I had visions of top-down motoring in 30C sunshine this summer and… well, that hasn't happened as often as I'd have liked. Still, whenever the sun does poke its head from behind the clouds, I've been on the button. I can also decide how much of the blue (or how little of the grey) sky I want to see, because the roof has three different 'open' positions.
So far, I've racked up more than 1000 trouble-free miles, and for my daily commute across town I don't have any major complaints. I'm averaging only 50mpg, but it's mostly stop-start traffic. On faster roads the bouncy ride can become tiresome and, although there's plenty of grip, the vague steering puts a dampener on any B-road fun. Still, the 500C isn't supposed to be a hot hatch. It's all about style, and I can't think of a trendier new car that costs less to buy and run.
What Car? says
Hugely desirable, if not perfect dynamically