So we have written about the 2012 Fiat 500 and a little bit about the 500C Cabrio. However, the thought came to our mind through a recent First Drive completed by our partner site, TheCarConnection.com, that maybe the Cabrio isn’t worth the extra cost. Now hang in there with us; the thought came to mind because it is really just like the Smart ForTwo Cabrio where the soft top slides back—really more like a large cloth sunroof. It is actually very European. Maybe the latter point is really the point as the car really reminds us of the Citroën 2CV and, of course, the original Fiat 500 soft-top. But we digress.
2012 Fiat 500C Cabrio, SoHo district, New York City
The point here is will American buyers see value in the Cabrio version of the Fiat 500. The original prediction for the Fiat 500C was to be about 10% of the sales mix. Okay, so 1 out of every 10 500s sold would be a convertible. The truth though is that Fiat is finding that the Cabrio is more popular than that and from the TCC First Drive we think we know why. The 2012 Fiat 500C Cabrio is basically the standard 500 with a cloth top that opens the passengers to the fresh air while maintaining the rigidity and safety of the standard 500. In fact, the soft-top execution only adds a surprising 53 pounds. The result is that the 500C driving experience is unintelligible to the experience in its hardtop brethren. TCC reports that the soft-top is even quiet enough to hold a conference call on the mobile phone without interference.
2012 Fiat 500 Cabrio live photos
So is the 2012 Fiat 500C worth it? Well, we haven’t gotten to price yet. To be able to enjoy the fresh air via the open roof you will have to pony up the base price of $19,500 for the base Pop model. The upscale Lounge starts at $23,500 and adds such niceties as leather seating. To put this in perspective, the base pop hardtop hatchback starts at $15,500. The identified competitors are the MINI convertible and the VW Beetle Cabrio, however, we think you would also be wise to consider such cars as the Mazda Miata and Smart ForTwo Cabrio if you were in the market for the Fiat.
Bottom line—numbers don’t lie, Fiat says they are seeing significantly more than 10% of attributed Fiat 500 sales go to the Cabrio. So is the 2012 Fiat 500C worth it? Supply and demand tells that story and consumers seem to be demanding the Cabrio. As the TCC said, “A good problem to have.”
For more news from Fiat, check out our recent story on the Fiat 500 TwinAir launch. Then if you are feeling social be sure to follow us on Twitter via @allsmallcars.