The 85bhp 875cc twin-cylinder engine is not only the cleanest small petrol engine in the world but its performance is amongst the highest in the A-sector of cars and it all comes in a very sophisticated soft-top if you choose to go for this model.
The fully powered hood is quick to open or close, it stops somewhere in between if you wish, and it has a wind and waterproof seal for the occasional rainy day. Its simplicity and effectiveness is a credit to Fiat and a comfort to any owner who values the ability to have a small car with skyscraper headroom on sunny days.
Choosing the 500C over its similar coupe companion will add approximately £800 to the price but that to me seems a small premium for the added versatility and enjoyment it literally opens up for a driver.
Ok you are more likely to get sun burned than burn off any other car on the road but its very willing performance comes very easily and smoothly thanks to some clever engineering in the very small block and it’s a very good blend of acceleration and agility, of cruising and city composure, thanks to the selectable-weight steering.
This gives it a useful turning circle in town without it being agitated on A-roads and all the time you have a very good ride, reassuring brakes and in the manual model tested a light and progressive clutch, but you can even order an automatic box with the twin-cylinder engine. You are really spoiled for choice.
There is good access and room for two, it’s a more awkward and tight fit in the back pair of seats, and the boot capacity ranges between 185 and 520 litres depending on whether the roof is folded or fitted to the header rail. When it’s closed vision through the back window is restricted and the open position means it sits on the boot lid and blocks most of what you can see in the mirror so the door mirrors become essential, but thankfully and thoughtfully there are rear sensors in the bumper for easing into the tightest space.
I think most users would put oddments on the back seat or in their footwells because space is at a premium inside the Fiat 500C. There is standard climate control for when the hood is closed and it works well. Secondary controls are very close to hand, the instruments simple and clear.
There is modest engine noise but even that is a pleasant throbbing note that rises and becomes more excited as you accelerate but wind and road rumbles are surprisingly low.
The ride is very good over any surface, you feel some body roll on corners but it grips well and there are no real vices to its handling.
In a market where so many cars are nearly identical in so many ways, the Fiat 500C stands out as being different, individual, not quirky or quaint, but actually an immensely pleasing car which is economical and environmentally friendly and comes with a rare standard feature, a near permanent smile on the driver’s face.
Fiat 500C Twin Air Lounge £15,560
Mechanical notes: 2cyl 85bhp 875cc engine, 5sp
Insurance group: 12
Performance: Max 108mph, 0-62mph 11sec
Emissions/ tax: 95gkm/ VED band A
Warranty: 3yrs/ 60k
For: Agility, economy, low emissions, ride
Against: Room for people and luggage, some engine noise