By Daryl Killian

Not the fastest…nor the most fashionable, but one of the “funnest” for 20K.

 

Yes….Fiat’s tiny 500 has been on the market for a few years now, but it can still engender smiles when it shows up and introduces itself….especially in Cabrio form.

 

The somewhat impish grin of the front end sets the stage….the overall diminutive size can still cause a double-take….but it’s the top-down Cabrio that seems to finish the job and ask the question:   “Hey….isn’t driving supposed to be fun?”

 

And with Fiat’s 500 Cabrio, the answer is “Yes”!

 

Let’s talk about the obvious first….the 500’s size.    It’s truly tiny…almost a foot shorter and 4” more narrow than Mini’s two-door.    While rated as a four-seater, those two in the rear will be more comfy if they’re middle-schoolers.

 

But as a two-seater, Fiat’s 500 has ample room for those two to get away for a long weekend.

 

In-town, tho’, is where Fiat’s 500 really shines.   Maneuverability is the 500’s middle name.    Even without a backup cam, if you can’t back the 500 into a parking space with one hand, you shouldn’t be driving.

 

And driving through the concrete canyons of the city, the Cabrio’s easy-down roof makes catching a few rays a matter of instant gratification.

 

As has Fiat done for years, the Cabrio is not a total-top-down convertible, but rather more of a huge sunroof.   It’s a fabric-covered affair that extends from doorframe to doorframe and retracts in stages….over the front two seats in sunroof fashion….over the front and rear seats, opening up the sky for all passengers…or all the way down front to rear, but retaining metal sides for safety.

 

At only $1,500 more than the standard two-door, the Cabrio is the bargain of the family, and adds a whole new dimension to Fiat’s 500.

 

Power…such as it is…comes from a 1.4 liter four….putting out 101 HP and running through either a 5-speed stick or a 6-speed auto.    The stick is rated at 31 city and 38 hwy, while the auto 4-5 mpg less, at 27-33.

 

We had the price-leader “POP” version of the 500 Cabrio with the 6-speed auto.

 

If you can find one with no options, you’ll be out the door with a sticker price under $17,500 with a stick….under $18,500 with the automatic.    And remember, it’s a convertible.

 

Another $3,400 will get you a “Lounge” version with heated leather, keyless entry, nav, and an upgraded audio.

 

And if you like the concept of a tiny, good-handling 4-seat convertible but just want to go faster, opt for Fiat’s Abarth version.   It’s a mean little machine pumping out 160 turbo-assisted HP that turns the 500 into a literal “pocket-rocket”….and does it for a hair less than $25,000.

 

But for a window sticker right around 20 thousand, Fiat’s POP Version of their 500 Cabrio provides as many smiles-per-dollar as anything out there.

 

dscn9549 Auto Nsider: 2017 Fiat 500 Cabrio

(Bob Jackson – CBS Local)

dscn9550 Auto Nsider: 2017 Fiat 500 Cabrio

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