FIAT are riding the troughs of the recession thanks to a number of small cars which are selling well.
FIAT 500C for sale now.
Engine: 1.2-litre petrol Power: 69bhp
Top speed: 99mph
Combined mpg: 55.4mpg
OTR price: £11,300
They have high hopes for the latest, the 500 Convertible, which is ~ now on sale.
At a time when rival companies are, losing sales, the 500 hatchback, on which it’s based, has been a sales success.
Since it was introduced 18 months ago it has achieved cult car status, winning 30 international awards and notched up some 360,000 sales in 59 countries. More than half of these cars have been snapped up by buyers outside of Italy.
British buyers will be the first in the world to get behind the wheel of the new four-seat convertible, even ahead of the Italians, because we are among the keenest in Europe to favour open-top cars.
As with the original Cinquecento, the 500C has a fabric roof and an arching rear pillar. Unlike the 1957 icon it benefits from the very latest technology, including electric hood operation, not to mention features such as iPod compatibility, Bluetooth, satnav and a whole plethora of
safety and comfort features.
The 500C is expected to be popular, mainly with women aged 25 to 45 who will find that the roof can be opened at the touch of a button when driving at speeds up to 37mph. It can also be operated remotely from the keyfob. To minimise turbulence there’s an optional wind¬stop positioned behind the rear head restraints. There is no need to remove this to open or close the soft top.
The 500C is powered by either a 1.2-litre 69bhp or 1.4100bhp petrol engine. There is also a 1.3-litre 75bhp diesel. All are available with five or six-speed manual gearboxes and there is a semi-auto sequential transmission available with petrol models with paddle shift on the 1.4 versions.
At the press launch, the 1.2 had to work hard on inclines. It accelerates to 62mph in
12.9 seconds with top speed at 99mph, nevertheless it gives good overall fuel consumption of 55.4mpg.
The diesel fared better with a 12.5-second sprint, 103mph maximum, and 67.3mpg fuel economy. With seven airbags as standard, the Convertible is unrivalled in its class for safety and felt even sturdier than the 500 hatchback, probably because the rear suspension features an anti-roll bar, derived from the Abarth 500, to improve handling and comfort.
Buyers have a choice of 11 paint finishes and two equipment levels (Lounge and Pop), and three interior trims with different fabrics or leather.
Prices range from £11,300 to £14,100.