Fiat 500C Driving, Engines & Performance | Top Gear
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Tuesday 3rd October


What is it like to drive?

Let’s start with what the 500C is good at – it’s great around town. Handling is suitably darty, it’s set up for one-pedal driving and it’s a blast driving round town with the roof back. If you’ve driven other electric cars the 500C doesn’t have the instant wodge of torque you’ll be expecting – even with the accelerator to the floor there’s barely enough shove to break traction at the front wheels, but that’s actually a good thing, makes the whole experience feel a little more laidback and in keeping with the Riviera image.

The steering is vague around the straight ahead, but has a strong centring action on it once you’re past that. Combined with a tight turning circle and it has the feel of a perky handler around town, but occasionally gets snappy if you’re not holding on to the wheel tightly enough. 

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The electric powertrain helps to cover up any of the shortcomings of the chassis – let’s face it, you’re not going to be hoofing the accelerator and throwing the car around at speed if you’re trying to make it to the next plug. An electric powertrain by necessity brings with it a more relaxed style of driving that helps the 500C out a bit. An extremely rough road surface will make the car wobble, and you occasionally feel a bit of a shimmy through the pedals, but it’s mostly kept under control. 

The 500C isn’t at its most comfortable at motorway speeds – neither will you be, watching the miles fall off, although the car will at least manage up to 85kW on a rapid charger when the battery gets low. It’ll wander a bit in the wind on an exposed road and that darty handling from the city environment feels twitchy at 70. Still, lane control is a standard fit safety item. 

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