Tuesday, August 1, 2017

2017 Fiat 500 Pop Cabrio: The $20,000 Open Air Italian Icon

Highlight: Besides the sporty Mazda Miata MX-5 twin sibling, the 124 Spider, this is Fiat’s other version of a convertible.

Test Vehicle’s MSRP: $20,365 (base model $17,485)

Seating Capacity: 2 (2 infants in the rear)

Standard Safety Features: airbags; ABS; daytime running headlamps; electronic stability control; a hillstart assist system; a park sensor; a tire pressure monitoring system; and a tire service kit

Standard Equipment (Pop): 15-inch tires; a manual transmission; a power operated cloth open air roof; a 5-inch touchscreen; cloth seats; chrome door handles; a remote keyless entry system; front seat armrests; remote keyless entry; a leather wrapped steering wheel; steering wheel mounted audio controls; and a tilt steering column

Options: an automatic dimming rearview mirror; an automatic temperature control a/c; a GPS system; Sirius satellite radio; black/grey seats; a (Dr. Dre) Beats audio system; and a 6-speed automatic transmission

Other Trim Level:

Lounge Convertible
Abarth Convertible

Standard Audio On Test Vehicle: a 4-speaker AM/FM audio system

Bluetooth Connectivity: Yes

USB Connectivity: Yes

Bumper-to-Bumper Warranty: 4 years or 50,000 miles

Powertrain Warranty: 4 years or 50,000 miles

Standard Engine/Horsepower: 1.4-liter, 4-cylinder/101-hp

Recommended Fuel: Premium

Standard Fuel Mileage: 27-city/33-hwy

What’s New:  For an additional $1,495, all the Fiat 500 models can be turned into a Cabrio. And the trim levels has been paired down to three.

Why: For those yearning for a Cabrio, the pint size Italian icon can be easily converted into an open air vehicle, within seconds, after pushing a button. This is one of the most economical open air vehicles available on the market.

Fiat’s 500 Cabrio is available in three trim levels, with either a manual or an automatic transmission.  In the base model, the standard 4-cylinder, which spews out 101-horsepower, is more than adequate for the vehicle, as long as you’re not making plans to pull out in front of vehicles driving at a high rate speed. Conversely, for those seeking more punch behind the wheel, we recommend the brand’s Abarth edition, which pushes out a whopping 160-horsepower, with it hearty 1.4-liter turbo engine.

Fiat’s 500 Cabrio can be outfitted with a number of features, at an affordable price. Our base Pop trim included such optional features as Dr. Dre’s fined-tuned Beat’s audio system, a satellite radio system, a touchscreen navigation system, an automatic temperature control system, and an automatic dimming rearview mirror. These features alone added to the driving pleasure.

The open air vehicle can also be outfitted with 15, 16 or 17 inch tires, depending on the trim. Of course, the largest size tire is reserved only for the Abarth trim.

In addition to the above noted features, leather trim seats, heated front seats and a tricked-out appearance package, which includes a sporty fascia, black trimmed headlights, foglights, side sill ground effects and 16-inch wheels, are available.

But: The fun-to-drive open air vehicle lacked reclining front seats, a telescopic steering wheel and usable front seat armrests. Moreover, it should be no surprise that the pint size icon is also incapable of transporting adults or large children in the rear seating area.

And don’t look for the 500 Cabrio to offer the latest autonomous driving aids. A forward collision braking system, a radar-activated cruise control system or a back up camera aren’t available here. Those features will push the price out of the range of affordability.

Lastly, for the life of us, we can’t figure out why this miniature icon requires premium fuel. Go figure.

Verdict:  While this is no road runner, especially if outfitted with base 1.4-liter that spurts out 101-horsepower, this distinctive Italian icon is easy to manage and navigate the city due to its diminutive size. And being that this is an easy to use power operated cloth cabrio, it gives those yearning for yesteryear an opportunity to enter into open air segment, without breaking the bank. In fact, our nicely equipped Pop cabrio sprinkled in with a few must-have options was just a tad shy of $20,000.

Indirect Competition: MINI 500

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