Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Fiat Goes Cool with Convertible

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Fiat Goes Cool with Convertible

Article excerpt

Byline: Chris Russon

CARS as cool as the Fiat 500 convertible don't come along all that often. The open-top version of the popular retro model is on course to become hot property this summer. On sale from July 3 and priced from pounds 11,300 to pounds 14,100, the little 500C is out to cash in on our love affair with cute cabrios.

Since its launch last year the Fiat 500 has become an instant hit to rival the Mini with an accessory list enabling buyers to join in the craze of customising their cars.

The convertible moves its desirability up a notch. Not only does the 500C look great, it's also really fun to drive.

The fabric top is more of a full length sunroof than a foldaway hood, harking back to the original 500 of the 1950s and the legendary Citroen 2CV. Electrically operated, it slides back in seconds and can be opened or closed at speeds of up to nearly 40mph.

The roof can be stopped at any position but its two main anchor points leave the cabin completely exposed overhead with the rear window either up or dropped down to leave the back of the car absolutely open.

However, the 500C is not without criticism. There's a lot of buffeting and noise when fully open and rear vision is compromised by the folded hood and its integral third brake lamp perched on top of the boot.

Even when only partially retracted, there is booming inside at anything over 45mph. You could say that's all part and parcel of open top motoring but rival convertibles such as the Mini, Nissan Micra and VW Beetle have got it right. Fiat does offer a wind deflector as an option and perhaps it makes all the difference.

With the roof closed the sound insulation is good, but you can pick fault in the detail.

The fabric seems slightly too narrow at the windscreen end, leaving a tiny but noticeable gap either side. Apart from that, the roof appears very durable and hard wearing. …

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