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2017 Fiat 500c

2017 Fiat 500c review

It’s quite possible there’s a low-priced convertible you’ve been passing over in your search. The 2017 Fiat 500c is easily forgotten about but it shouldn’t be. It’s a lot more fun to drive than its reviews typically give it credit for and, if you can get over its badging, it may be worth a buy.

2017 Fiat 500c exterior

On the outside, the Fiat 500c is unmistakably a from the company’s Italian DNA. No, it’s not sexy like the Alfa Romeo Giulia. It’s not beautiful like the Ferrari California. It’s a Fiat. The 500c is exactly as advertised.

Having the retractable soft top makes for a nice two-tone contrast though when the top is down, drivers behind you get to look at what looks like a heap of fabric piled on the trunk. I say, “out of sight, out of mind.”

2017 Fiat 500c performance

The car’s 101-horsepower 1.4-liter four-cylinder engine is capable. It averaged a respectable 34 mpg during my week behind the wheel. Not bad.

Despite being a compact convertible, the 500c isn’t exactly nimble. It scoots just fine and the steering isn’t too dull. It isn’t supposed to be a Miata.

A quick drive on rural roads quickly revealed the six-speed automatic transmission’s reluctance to quickly move from first to second then third gear in a smooth fashion. Engine noise was moderate when I’d truly gun it up the highway on ramp. Once up to speed though, the car’s transmission faults seemed like distant memories.

2017 Fiat 500c interior

Like the exterior, it’s certainly a Fiat.  What it lacks in beauty it makes up for in simplicity. There’s truly nothing wrong with the switches and dials. They’re all completely functional and situated in easy to reach places. What keeps it cheap in price is what earns it some low marks from reviewers. It isn’t as shoddy as some of those reviews may make you think.

Surprisingly, the cabin of the 500c is spacious. If you’re not terribly tall or wide, the Fiat gives you plenty of space to make the car suitable for everyday use. Small children will fit okay in the back seat but if you like your adult friends, you won’t make them sit back there.

2017 Fiat 500c cargo space

Throw a bookbag in the rear seat or put your purse on the seat next to you and you’ll be fine. A medium sized suitcase easily fits in the trunk. You can put a few carry-ons or grocery bags in the rear seats. If you’re planning on doing a full blown Costco run, you’ll need to take your other car.

2017 Fiat 500c

Exterior
Interior
Infotainment
Performance
Fuel Economy
Safety

$16,490

Set your “Fix it again, Tony” bias aside and think of the things you’d like in a SUV alternative for everyday use.

2017 Fiat 500c final thoughts

Set your “Fix it again, Tony” bias aside and think of the things you’d like in a SUV alternative for everyday use. Going back and forth to tennis lessons, grocery pickups, and a one-child school run, the 2018 Fiat 500c is the car you need it to be. It won’t break the bank and it’s a lot more practical for most people than the Vespa you might be tempted to try out.

Vehicle provided by the manufacturer for the purpose of this review. Our opinion is our own.

About Eileen Falkenberg-Hull

Eileen is the writer of the nationally syndicated column Automotive Minute in The Business Journals, which explores the automotive industry focusing on news, reviews, and interviews. She loves finding out about the business strategy, design, and drivability of vehicles. Eileen is a contributor to U.S. News & World Report Best Cars.

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