Driving

Fiat 500C review

Manufacturer price from:£14,460
What Car? Target Price:£13,647
Search new deals
Fiat 500C
Review continues below...
27 Jun 2016 09:28 | Last updated: 23 Aug 2018 13:57

In this review

Driving

What it’s like to drive, and how quiet it is

Despite the glamorous trappings of a cabriolet, to drive, the Fiat 500C feels like the city car it is. The suspension is quite soft, so you get lots of lean through bends, but the payoff is spongy bump absorption that makes for an easygoing ride comfort – albeit with a bit of bobbing about and thumping over scruffy surfaces. It’s wieldy enough to feel completely at home around town, but the vague steering and the rather laid-back performance offered by all the engines means that the 500C is definitely most at home in unhurried, slow-speed use.

The entry-level 1.2 is our favourite engine. It revs sweetly enough and delivers enough punch to satisfy in town and lower-speed driving, although it does feel strained at motorway speeds, and you’ll be changing down a gear regularly if you want sprightly acceleration. You can also get an ‘Eco’ version of the 1.2 engine, which has automatic start-stop that brings lower CO2 but costs quite a bit more to buy.

The Twinair models – a 0.9-litre two cylinder engine available with 84 or 104bhp - are faster, and aren’t without merit, since it’s quite fun to wring out the performance on offer. However, it is also very noisy and sends quite a few vibrations through the steering wheel and pedals, not to mention being quite expensive.

A 1.3 diesel is offered, which we haven’t tried yet, but experience of it in other cars suggests it’ll be quite noisy and not well suited to the dinky Fiat 500.

The five-speed manual gearbox in all the models has quite a sloppy shift (an auto is available on the 1.2, but we haven’t tried it yet), and the brakes take some getting used to as they have an overly sharp initial response. Add to this the fairly substantial wind noise you get over the windscreen and fabric roof at higher speeds, and the noticeable engine buzz, and the Fiat 500C is not a particularly quiet car for long journeys. It does, at least, keep you fairly well protected from any major wind buffeting when you’ve got the roof scrolled back, so the optional wind deflector (which is a bit of a job to put up) isn’t worth adding.

 

Fiat 500C
open the gallery4 Images
There are 6 trims available for the 500 sports. Click to see details.See all versions
Pop
All 500C models get electric front windows and side mirror adjustment, LED daytime running lights, heated rear window, multifunction steering wheel, USB input and a radio. Pop trim doesn’t get much...View trim
Fuel Petrol
What Car? Target Price from
£13,647
Average Saving £813
View Trim
Lounge
This adds lots of chrome styling extras, the touchscreen system (albeit you still have to pay a bit extra to add nav), rear-parking sensors and a height adjustable driver’s seat. It’s quite expensi...View trim
Fuel Petrol
What Car? Target Price from
£15,292
Average Saving £918
View Trim
S
We are yet to try out this variant...View trim
Fuel Petrol
What Car? Target Price from
£15,433
Average Saving £927
View Trim
Collezione
We are yet to try out this variant...View trim
Fuel Petrol
What Car? Target Price from
£15,762
Average Saving £948
View Trim
Collezione Fall
We have not written anything about this yet...View trim
Fuel Petrol
What Car? Target Price from
£16,710
View Trim
Spiaggina
We are yet to try out this variant...View trim
Fuel Petrol
What Car? Target Price from
£17,069
Average Saving £1,031
View Trim