Used 2017 FIAT 500 Convertible
Edmunds' Expert Review
- Fun and distinctive styling
- Returns good fuel economy when equipped with the manual transmission
- Surprisingly spacious for two people
- The sunroof severely limits front headroom
- Base engine is extremely slow
- Disappointing fuel economy with automatic transmission
- Poor rear visibility with the convertible's top lowered
The base engine's acceleration is undeniably lackluster. In fact, the 500 is one of the slowest cars on the market. It's a shame that the 500 Turbo was dropped this year, as it effectively split the difference from the sluggish base model and the significantly more engaging Abarth.
The 500's ride quality is pretty comfortable whether you're driving over rutted city streets or cruising on the highway. The firmer suspension tuning of the Abarth improves handling response without much of a comfort penalty; if you enjoy a spirited drive, this is really the only way to go. Any 500 is good fun on a quick errand, thanks to the car's diminutive dimensions and inherently nimble feel, though enthusiasts won't like the somewhat top-heavy feel and significant body roll at the limit. Steering is accurate but lacks feedback, and the Abarth's large 37.6-foot turning diameter is regrettably like that of an SUV, eclipsing the other 500 models by a whopping 7 feet.
Much of the 500's interior is a mixed bag. Despite the zippy appearance and colors throughout the cabin, the quality of most materials is subpar. The 500's control layout is also a bit of a mishmash, including odd controls for the standard (non-automatic) climate system. We like the Uconnect infotainment system's 5-inch user-friendly menus, though the screen itself is small by 2017 standards.
There is ample room in the front seats for taller occupants, but be advised that the tilt-only steering wheel can make finding a comfortable driving position a challenge and the optional sunroof noticeably reduces headroom. The rear seats for any 500 are pretty much what you'd expect: torture for those older than preschool age, with basically nonexistent headroom in the hatchback due to the sloping rear glass.
With the rear seatbacks up, the hatchback presents a reasonable 9.5 cubic feet of luggage space. Drop the seatbacks and you open up a total of 30.2 cubic feet. That's not bad for such a small car, but the two-door Mini Cooper hatchback gives you more (34 cubes), and four-door hatchbacks including the Honda Fit are even roomier. Cargo capacity for the 500C isn't nearly as generous, as there are just 5.4 cubic feet available behind the rear seats and 23.4 cubic feet with the rear seatbacks folded down. Moreover, the convertible's folding canvas top stacks accordion-like on the rear deck when retracted, all but blocking your view directly behind.