2012 Fiat 500C Lounge new car reviews

The Fiat 500 in its natural habitat: the Alps. Okay, how about a few minutes west of Denver International Airport.
It looks good from the reverse angle, too.
Pack lightly. The trunk isn't exactly huge.
Our test car had the disco-tastic interior.
And after a long weekend in the mountains, it was ready for a bath.

Better than: VW EOS
But not as good as: Fiat 500 Abarth
GRM Bang For The Buck Index: 70.00

Like another certain retro compact, the new Fiat 500 comes in more than one guise. Looking for some sun on your fun? The 500C adds a giant cloth, slide-back sunroof to the package.

There's actually two versions of the 500C available, the Pop and the Lounge. (Yes, each one of those is a model designation.) The Pop is the basic version. It still has the big sunroof but gets steel wheels; the Lounge adds alloys plus a standard six-speed automatic transmission.

Our test car was the Lounge fitted with pearl paint ($500), leather interior ($1250) and a TomTom GPS navigation unit ($400).

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Other staff views

David S. Wallens David S. Wallens
Editorial Director

I drove this one while in Denver this February for the British Motor Trade Association's annual meeting--probably not the ideal place for a modestly powered ragtop but I'm not complaining. It's stylish and easy to park.

Know what? The 500C did okay and, for whatever reason, I greatly preferred this one to the red Sport we had earlier. Maybe it was the less nervous suspension tuning. Maybe it was the lack of the spongy clutch and gearshift. Whatever the reason, I enjoyed my time with this one.

No, it didn't storm up the mountains on our way to Breckenridge, though. At times it was foot to the floor, but we were never a moving chicane.

Generally I love soft tops, and despite the freezing temperatures I opened the top--hey, the things we do for you guys. With the top open but the side windows up, there was a bit of buffeting on the highway, though. It's not a deal-killer, so just take it as an observation. Cracking the side windows a bit fixed the problem, but then I had ice-cold air entering my ears.

Also, the optional TomTom is interesting--it just plugs into a port on the top of the dash, which is totally clever. However, the assembly is fairly giant and blocks a good portion of the windshield. I packed my own Garmin and just used that one instead.

Closing impressions: Despite the rocky start Fiat and I got off to, this one helped me warm up to the brand.

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David S. Wallens
David S. Wallens Editorial Director
4/12/12 9:15 a.m.

Okay, maybe we didn't open it far enough. It was like 28 degrees outside and we were on the interstate.

David S. Wallens
David S. Wallens Editorial Director
12/10/13 12:00 a.m.

Like another certain retro compact, the new Fiat 500 comes in more than one guise. Looking for some sun on your fun? The 500C adds a giant cloth, slide-back sunroof to the package.

There's actually two versions of the 500C available, the Pop and the Lounge. (Yes, each one of those is a model designation.) The Pop is the basic version. It still has the big sunroof but gets steel wheels; the Lounge adds alloys plus a standard six-speed automatic transmission.

Our test car was the Lounge fitted with pearl paint ($500), leather interior ($1250) and a TomTom GPS navigation unit ($400).

Like what you read here? You can get a whole magazine full of these types of articles delivered to your home or shop 8 times a year. Subscribe now!

Visit the Grassroots Motorsports online store for back issues.
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