The Fiat 500 1.2 Pop Convertible : A Woman’s Eye Car Review
Back in the day (circa 1980) my friend’s first car was a Fiat 500, which we rather unkindly referred to as ‘The Hairdryer’ (I was never sure whether this was because it sounded like one, or because it did, actually, dry your hair).
The new cutesy revamped Fiat 500 1.2 Pop convertible can certainly dry your hair, but we wouldn’t dare to demean it by comparing it to a hairdressing aid. This body dysmorphic beauty (it thinks it’s tiny on the outside...but it’s actually quite a whopper when you climb in) provides plenty of space in the front two seats.
a real high rider - you feel positioned much higher up in the front-all the
better to admire the sexy leather steering wheel and matching colour dash, to
get better road visibility, and to feel generally more in control. Recent research in the U.S. has suggested
that up to 40% of women sit closer than the advised 10” minimum distance from
the steering wheel in order to minimise injury in a crash, because they feel
more in control of the car in that position: car manufacturers please take
note on the ergonomics of women-friendly car design...Fiat has definitely got
this one cracked.
Whilst the driving position is a joy, the gearstick must have been designed by a time and motion expert; it’s one swift nail-saving movement away from the steering wheel, at the lower level of the dash. Gear changes are slight, smooth and easy, with two small indentations either side of the gearstick for better grip - a definite plus for learner or new drivers.
Fiat’s ‘Blue and Me’ TM handsfree comes as standard with the Pop 1.2 with optional TomTom capability, so there’s no need to be tempted to manually (and dangerously!) use your mobile on the move. There is also a Dualdrive function that can be activated to create a lighter 'power-assisted' steering system to aid manoeuvres such as parking.
Suspension is good but you certainly know that you’re driving on a road with bumps in it. In fact, the experience of driving the Fiat 500 was not unlike that of a very pleasant fairground ride (absolutely without any scary bits). This car shouts Fun Fun Fun...all the way to the Dodgems. And with a 5 star NCAP safety rating there’d be no contest in the Dodgem arena. Although we probably could’ve done with a bit of a Bumper Car nudge on uphill climbs (it can look undignified using a full-body rocking motion to get the car up to the top.) But, do check out the TwinAir, which can deliver up to, 23% more power from a 1.2 engine.
The convertible comes with a £3000 premium on the regular model price but it does also include air-conditioning (the irony of this was not lost on the Me-Mo team) and the roof can be retracted, whilst in motion, at speeds up to 37mph: a bonus if you need to cover up fast. The roof peels back (sardine can style) leaving the roof rails and pillars in place so you get all the fun of the air, with less of the risk that most cabriolets might present.
up the A35, my daughter, sitting in the back, said that it took her breath
away.... ‘Ooooh, I know darling, its fab isn’t it?’ ‘No, Mum I can’t actually
breathe...!’ This wind tunnel effect
isn’t apparent in the front so it might be good to keep in mind if you are
carrying children in the back.
Boot space is limited (you’re not likely to get a buggy in there) but there’s plenty of room for luggage and shopping.
The Fiat crew have stopped at nothing to make this car supremely gal-friendly; even the accelerator height allows for heels that are bordering on stilts (if you are so inclined). One small but, I think, significant point though, Fiat-please make your handbook more user-friendly...there's no index!
The Fiat 500 proves that it’s not (engine) size that counts: call me shallow, but this little retro metro gem must be near the top of the Good Looks Car for Gals ticking the safety and fun boxes (yes, really!) along the way.
Price: Best deal we’ve seen: £9,960 for Hatchback . For the convertible: £12,960
Lease Hire Deals: from £156 pcm
Fuel Consumption/Eco Friendliness: Ave 55.4 mpg . Start Stop Economy engine features the automatic stopping of the engine when at a complete halt-starting up the engine again on re-engaging gears.
Tank Range: 454 miles
CO2 emissions: 119 g/km
0-60 in 12.9 seconds
Safety Rating: 5 Star Euro NCAP rating
Colourways: The New Fiat 500 Convertible is available in eleven colours : Crossover Black, Midnight Indigo Blue, Electroclash Grey and Breakbeat Grey in the Metallic option; Funk White and Ragamuffin Red in the Pearlescent option; Bossanova White in the solid option; and Tropicalia Yellow, Volare Blue, Rock n Roll Blue, Cappellini Azure, Tech House Grey and Pasodoble Red in the Special option.
High Heelability: (Possibly) in the words of Oliver and Watson: “I did a four incher” (heels that is). Really? Have these guys left nothing out in the gal-friendly stakes? The foot pedals are just at the right height for manoeuvring your stilettos around.
Competitors: Citroen C3 Pluriel; Mitsubishi Colt CC ; Mini Cabriolet; SmartCar Cabrio
Overall Desirability: I’d like one under the Christmas tree please (and it would probably fit).
Ruth Collier-Large (Ruthie as she is most commonly known) writes regularly an me-mo.co.uk and if you are interested in reading more of her features then visit her site at www.me-mo.co.uk