The FIAT 500c is the convertible (also known as the cabrio) version of the FIAT 500 city car. The Italian automaker introduced the FIAT 500 in 2007, and it was brought to North America as part of Chrysler Group LLC’s partnership with the brand. The FIAT 500c features a retractable cloth top on the two-door, four-seat sub-compact vehicle. The vehicle is produced at a FIAT assembly facility in Tychy, Poland, as well as at a Chrysler Group plant in Toluca, Mexico. The FIAT 500 was announced in May of 2006 and released on July of 2007 throughout Italy. FIAT announced the 500c at the Geneva Auto Show in March of 2009.
The FIAT 500c is the same size as the regular hardtop FIAT 500, and the 500c is equipped with many of the same features and options. Though the FIAT 500 is available in four trim levels, known as Naked, Pop, Lounge, and Sport, the FIAT 500c is available in the United States in just the Pop and Lounge options. The Pop trim 500c boasts seven airbags, cloth bucket seats with an option for heated front seats, a leather-wrapped steering wheel, an audio system with a CD player and an auxiliary input jack, a hands-free communication system with iPod and MP3 connectivity, power accessories, speed control, and electronic stability control. The Lounge trim adds chrome accents, exterior side molding, an upgraded seat design, leather trim on the steering wheel and shift knob, a security system with an alarm, automatic climate control, fog lights, and an Alpine audio system with satellite radio. A leather upgrade package gives the Lounge a leather interior as well as a rear park assist system and an auto-dimming rearview mirror. In both trims of the FIAT 500c, the cloth top is power operated and can retract to four preset positions, even while the car is traveling at speeds up to 60 miles per hour. The FIAT 500c is available in a choice of 15 different exterior colors, and the two-layer cloth roof is available in red, beige or black. Several different designs of 15-inch alloy wheels are available.
Both trims of the FIAT 500c come with the same engine, a modest 1.4-liter MultiAir four-cylinder that produces 101 horsepower. Paired to the standard five-speed manual transmission, the FIAT 500c can achieve Environmental Protection Agency fuel economy ratings of 31 miles per gallon city, 40 on the highway. When the optional six-speed automatic transmission is in place, fuel economy drops slightly, to 27 miles per gallon city, 34 highway. Sport mode increases the driving experience by tightening the steering and enabling more precise shifting. However, the only way to get a real power increase is to opt for the Abarth model. That’s a special edition FIAT 500 that was co-designed with Gucci, and was introduced at the Geneva Auto Show in 2010, available as both a standard hatchback 500 as well as a 500c. Buyers of the Abarth FIAT 500 trade off in some ways. For example, the two exterior color options, black and white, are accessorized exclusively with Gucci-designed prints and trims, as well as an exclusive 16-inch wheel design, so none of the FIAT 500’s aesthetic customization options are available. But the Abarth also features a more powerful drivetrain, a 1.4-liter 16V MultiAir turbo, punched up with dual intercoolers and a dual exhaust, all of which meets the road through a performance suspension. The Abarth FIAT 500c yields 160 horsepower and a top speed of 127 miles per hour.