Fiat’s retro-inspired 500 have raised the stakes with the introduction of the country’s most affordable cabriolet. The Fiat 500c 1.2 undercuts the competition with a price tag of just R175, 000 incl. VAT.
Despite its affordability it remains surprisingly practical, reassuringly safe and alluringly exclusive. Powered by a 1.2 Euro 4-compliant motor, it develops 51 kW at 5 500rpm and produces 102 Nm of torque at 3 000rpm.
Fiat has emerged as a leader in green manufacturing and the Fiat 500c 1.2 further reaffirms that position with its lowly CO2 emissions. Producing just 119g/km it attracts no Environmental Levy Taxes while its frugal fuel consumption makes it the perfect choice for zipping about town. Navigating through city traffic is a synch for the little runabout with an average fuel consumption of just 6.4l/100km. On the open road the figures drop even further with an average fuel consumption of only 4.3l/100km.
Designed to respect the most stringent standards, the Fiat 500c is one of the safest cars in its entire segment. All models, including the newly introduced 1.2 Cabriolet, come standard with seven airbags (two at the front, two curtain-bags, two sidebags and one to protect the knees) unheard of for this vehicle class. The Fiat 500 also adopts sophisticated technical solutions to guarantee that the driver is in complete control of the car at all times including ABS complete with EBD (Electronic Brake Distribution).
Despite its attainable status, SA’s newest Cabriolet is well equipped with a host of comfort and convenience features. Power steering, remote central locking, power windows, airconditioning, daytime running lights and “Follow me home” headlights are just some of the standard features on offer. It also boasts a radio/CD with MP3 player and Fiat’s acclaimed Blue&Me handsfree system, which features Bluetooth technology, voice recognition, steering-wheel mounted controls and a digital audio file player with USB port.
And it doesn’t end there. With stylish 15” inch alloy wheels, chrome exterior door handles, body colour mirrors with electronic adjustment, defrosting function and exterior temperature sensors the 500c 1.2 looks the part too. Another standout feature of the Cabriolet is its exceptional climate and acoustic comfort. Thorough aerodynamic research open-air turbulence has been reduced to a minimum, allowing full enjoyment of the fresh air and the company of fellow passengers.
Even rear passengers have received special attention, as proven by an air-flow speed of 7 m/s with the roof open. In addition, when the soft top is down, the spoiler is arranged so that the third brake light can always be seen. The double-layered roof fabric ensures the best possible insulation from the outside and, along with the internal coverings of the pillars, completes a superb finish for the mechanisms controlling the opening and closing of the roof. The automatic electric soft top can be controlled either by buttons near to the interior ceiling light or from a remote control. In addition, the soft top can be operated throughout its horizontal travel (as far as the spoiler) at any speed. Vertical movement can be engaged at any speed under 60 km/h.
The soft top is also easy to use: to open it, just press the button for at least half a second to trigger the movement that then continues automatically up to the spoiler (a midway point can of course be chosen by pressing the button again). Press the button again for at least half a second to fully open the roof. When using the remote control, the roof can be opened only as far as the spoiler. The same processes will close it; for safety reasons, the roof stops at around 25 cm from complete closure (just press the button again to complete the movement).
When the boot is open, the soft top can only be closed (the opening function is de-activated). However, if the roof is fully open and the boot needs to be opened, when the boot is opened the soft top automatically moves to a midway point to avoid obstructing loading operations.
Finally, an optional wind-stop can easily be positioned behind the rear headrests (fixed to the parcel shelf). This accessory has been tested in a wind tunnel, designed specifically for the Fiat 500 Convertible, and made from a special porous material: it gives a notable reduction in turbulence for all passengers, at all speeds.
In addition as per the other models in the Fiat 500 range, there are a number of options available to customise the 500c 1.2 into the model that reflects your personality.
Enhancing the ownership prospect, the Fiat 500 1.2 Cabriolet, as with other premium products in the Fiat stable, has 30 000 km service intervals and enjoys full after-sales support in South Africa thanks to a comprehensive parts inventory (housed and distributed in an all-new, state-of-the-art facility) and the back-up of trained technicians at Fiat dealerships countrywide.
Fiat Auto South Africa offers a three-year 100 000 km Warranty (three years on paintwork and five years on rust anti-perforation) as well as a five-year / 90 000 km service plan.
The 1.2 Cabriolet, like other 500 models, is covered by the AA Fleetcare roadside assistance for 12 months. The service is active 24 hours a day, 365 days a year and is available by calling the dedicated toll-free number 0800 223 727.