Fiat 500C Review 2023 | Top Gear
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Monday 4th December
The electric 500 convertible is compromised, but that won't diminish its appeal to fans

Good stuff

One of the few chances to go electric in a soft-top

Bad stuff

When’s the weather ever good enough anyway?


What is it?

This is the all-new convertible version of the Fiat 500, as opposed to the old convertible version of the Fiat 500, which is confusingly still on sale. The new one is electric, while the old one still has all its petrol engines. 

It also depends how you class your convertibles – you don’t get the full topless experience with the 500C, rather the roof has been replaced with fabric that slides backwards in stages toward the boot. Still, it’s a great way to experience some of that dolce vita

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Has the new 500 solved any of the old one’s issues?

Well, not really. The boot is still quite tiny, and accessed through a letterbox flap-style opening thanks to the fabric roof, there’s barely any room in the back of the car for passengers, the driving position is compromised (the pedals are slightly offset and there’s nowhere to put your left foot) and it’s difficult to sit comfortably, you feel very much like you’re on the car rather than in it. 

Perhaps Fiat has decided that these are mere idiosyncrasies that hark back to the Fifties original, but it’s a bit annoying when it turns out that this latest version of the car was redesigned from the ground up.

It can’t be all bad, though?

Despite its shortcomings the 500C is a real charmer. It’s stylish, fun and besides, there are currently very limited options when it comes to both going electric and feeling the wind in your hair. The Smart EQ ForTwo Cabrio is the one possibility, but who wants to live with the constant stress of a 90-mile range? 

The 500C is only available with the larger of the two batteries that Fiat installs across the 500 range – 42kWh makes for an official range of 186 miles, which would be a smidge over 150 in real world driving. It doesn’t feel as perky as other electric cars, but it’ll keep up with the ebb and flow of everyday city traffic with no problems. 

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It certainly feels like more of a city-based car than something you’d want to take on long journeys – the handling is sharp and direct and the 500C has a tight turning circle for those last-second U-turns. One thing to bear in mind when opting for the convertible over the hatchback is the reduced rear visibility. 

The window in the back of the 500C is smaller than the standard car’s, and that rear view is obliterated by fabric once you’ve got the roof back. Rear parking sensors come as standard, and you can option a rearview parking camera on the Passion and Icon trims (it’s standard on La Prima cars). 

Our choice from the range

What's the verdict?

A car with very specific appeal – anyone else might want to look for a proper convertible or a proper electric car

The new electric Fiat 500C is a car that will appeal to people with a very specific set of criteria, and won’t be much fun outside of those boundaries. If you’ve got an urban commute, you don’t need to carry more than one passenger and a car’s character will help you overlook other defects, then you’ll love the 500C. Anyone else might want to look for either a proper convertible or a proper electric car.

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