Sunday, June 19, 2011

"Fiat 500, a real Italian icon"

Even with the top up, in a blinding rainstorm, the 2012 Fiat 500 Cabrio was still enjoyable during a recent drive through Manhattan and just north of New York City. And with its EPA estimated 38 mpg on the highway, or 32 mpg, with the optional automatic transmission, it was pretty efficient the whole way, too.

You'd expect that combination of fun and economical driving from the modern version of the Fiat 500, a real Italian icon. The original Fiat 500 was launched back in 1957. It wasn't a hardtop, either. It had a manually folding canvas top that's similar in concept to the power-folding version on the new 500 Cabrio.

What's unexpected is that the 2012 Fiat 500 Cabrio avoids so many of the issues that plague most other convertibles. First, it's just about as much fun with the top up. Second, it's surprisingly practical. Third, it's affordable.

The base price of the Fiat 500 Cabrio is an even $20,000. That's a $4,000 premium over the hardtop model. Add extras like heated leather seats, navigation and a six-speed automatic transmission, it's possible to run the sticker price for the convertible up to around $26,000

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