Fiat 500 Convertible review
The reborn Fiat 500 Electric is now available as a dashing convertible. Electric performance is strong, but cabin space is tight and the boot is tiny
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If you care as much about looking good as you do about reducing your carbon footprint, then allow us to introduce you to the reborn Fiat 500 Convertible.
Just like its hard-top sibling, which you can read about here, this stylish little number is now fully electric, and is an alternative to the latest crop of fashionable, battery-powered small cars. Think along the lines of the Honda e, the Renault Zoe and the Peugeot e-208.
So why might you want this new electric Fiat? Well, the name has probably given it away by now, but there is a fairly big difference between those cars and the 500: namely that as soon as the sun comes out, you can fold the Fiat’s roof back and go topless at the press of a button. Like your dad might when he’s on holiday in Marbella.
Don’t worry though, you’ll look good in the process, as its head-turning, refreshed retro-chic looks are shared with the hard-top model. And just like that electric car, the convertible’s cabin has been treated to a much-needed refresh too.
There’s a sharp new 7-inch digital instrument display that’s clear and easy to read even in direct sunlight; and the new 10-inch touchscreen infotainment system is impressively responsive. Wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are both available, and there’s a lot more adjustability in the seatbase and steering column to help you better get comfy behind the wheel. That said, there’s still not too much room to rest your left foot.
Seat fabric that’s made from recycled plastic and some body-coloured trim pieces give the 500’s interior a bit of additional wow-factor too; but there are still quite a lot of hard scratchy plastics in here, and some fixtures aren’t quite as solid-feeling as you’d ideally like. The Honda E and Peugeot e-208 are both much snazzier in this respect – but they don’t come in drop-top form.
There’s way more passenger space in those cars, too. The Fiat’s two tiny second row seats are best left for children, but if you do have to squeeze an adult back there you will at least be able to treat them to an unlimited amount of open-top headroom. Boot space remains at 185 litres, but that minuscule space is even harder to access thanks to the convertible’s redesigned bootlid.
The sensors for some of the Fiat’s safety systems are hidden behind the 500 badge on its nose. That’s a really clever way of tucking them away.
That’s not to say it’s all form over function, though. The 500’s 118hp electric motor provides plenty of punch for nipping in and out of traffic and performing safe overtakes; and a one-pedal drive mode that lets you bring the car to a stop by simply lifting off the accelerator works really nicely. You’ll harvest a bit of extra charge for the battery, too.
Speaking of the battery, the 500 Convertible’s has a usable capacity of 37.3kWh – which Fiat says is good for an electric range of 199 miles. That’s more than you’ll get from the Honda or the Mini. We averaged 3.8mi/kWh during our time with the car, which makes for a real-world range of about 142 miles.
And as for charge times? Well, a DC rapid charger will top the battery up to 80% in just over half an hour, while a dedicated home wallbox will deliver a full charge in just over six hours.
So plug it in overnight and you’ll be good to go for your morning commute, where you’ll find the 500 Convertible to be a very easy car to drive. The steering is light and accurate, and forward visibility is very good, but if you fold the roof down you won’t be able to see what’s behind you.
You might notice that the ride is a bit choppy around town and really quite bouncy on faster country roads, but it does settle down on smoother motorways. A clever wind deflector means you won’t mess your hair-do up too much if you decide to keep the roof down out there, either.
It’s not particularly practical, and with prices starting around £26,700 (post government grant) it’s pricey too. But ultimately, the 500 Convertible is still a fun, characterful electric car with a heap more style appeal than your dad in his holiday swimming trunks.
Tap the video below to watch our review of the hard-top model, then head on over to our deals page to see how much money we can save you on a new Fiat 500 Convertible.