To say that we at CarBuzzard are fond of the Fiat 500 is something of an understatement. Not that it’s an Italian that inspires automotive lust in the way something with twelve cylinders might, but it has something missing in so many car and that’s that intangible called “personality.” No doubt there isn’t Fiat 500 out there that hasn’t been assigned a pet name.
So offered another chance to spend time with a Fiat 500, we said, sure. Admittedly we didn’t know what we were getting, other than that was a 500 Cabriolet, but there are oodles of color and trim combinations possible. What showed up at our doorstep was a very classy looking Cabriolet Lounge (what Fiat calls the top “luxury” model) in Verde Azzuro with an Avorio interior in leather. For those not up on their Italian, that means “blue-green” on the outside and “ivory” on the inside. The seats, however, are Marrone, or “brown” to you, Yank.
And while the Italian nomenclature is intended to emphasize the Fiat 500’s Italian origins—not really, because Western Hemisphere 500 are made in Mexico—the colors, along with a Beige (that’s “tan” in English) sliding cloth top is downright sophisticated. It’s not for everyone because it has “grownup” written all over it, but we were impressed how this Fiat 500 Cabrio looks like something someone’s expensive trophy could drive when the S-Class is just too big.
On the other hand, we probably don’t know anything about expensive trophies.*
Be that as it may, our test 2013 Fiat 500 Cabrio conquered the problem of having a dash too small for a conventional in-dash navigation screen with a plug-in TomTom nav system. The actual TomTom unit didn’t accompany our tester. No doubt the folks at Fiat were concerned it might go a.w.o.l., and no doubt that’s a reasonable concern with some journalistas.
But how it would have worked if we had it would be for the TomTom unit itself to be snapped into a cradle. The cradle has all the appropriate contacts for keeping the TomTom charged. The cradle, with a post on the bottom, inserts into a socket on the dashtop. Ta-da! A TomTom navigation system with no circular prints on the windshield or cords hanging over the interior. Quite clever, however that’s said in Italian.
All the good looks of our test 2013 Fiat 500 Lounge Cabrio doesn’t change the basic Fiat 500 underneath, however, for better or worse. It’s still a small car with a short wheelbase, with all the ramifications to ride that brings. The 1.4-liter engine works diligently but acceleration, or lack thereof, robs the driver of one driving asset. But that didn’t bother us much. It was just a matter of planning ahead.
And for the ride, one accepts it for what it is. The 2013 model is the same as the inaugural 2012 model in performance. Check that review for elaboration. Nothing’s changed.
Talking about expensive wives: Our test 2013 Fiat 500 Lounge Cabrio came with a base price of $22,500 (note the cute reference to the model’s designation). By the time the options were ladled on, the bottom line came to $27,500. See the attached window sticker for details.
As we noted, this particular 2013 Fiat 500 Cabrio isn’t for us, or at least this writer. Serve us up the Fiat 500 Abarth instead. (For one take on that, click here, here, here or here). It’s just who we are.
Still, we have no problem with saying, hey, look at this. Pretty classy, eh?
*We know a lot about a real prize, however.
Specification and prices next page.