More details about the new Fiat 500C convertible have been made available by the Italian automaker. How comfortable will the tiny car be to drive?

Fiat has released some new, but expected details about the Fiat 500C.  The soft-top homage to the 50's classic was introduced at the Geneva Motor Show earlier this year.

Keeping a flat fabric roof, the car is very reminiscent of the original Fiat 500 from 1957.  However, the car does receive the benefit of 50 years of automotive technological and spatial advances.  Now with four reasonably comfortable seats, the car has the dimensions of 355 cm long x 165 cm wide x 149 cm high.  These are the same measurements as the base model, making the car 58x33x17 centimeters bigger than the original.

Still, the increase in size is not nearly as egregious as the MINI reboot, and people worldwide seem to like it.  58% of new 500 purchases came from outside of Italy, mostly from other parts of Europe.  Part of the excitement is due to Fiat's "open-source approach," using constant feedback from the car's fans and users and "continually evolving" the product.

One fear was that the 500C would suffer from reduced storage space, and that the boot would be harder to access.  Not so, says Fiat.  Engineers used "parallelogram hinges" to hang over the boot, allowing the latch to open smoothly.

When the electric sliding fabric top is opened, turbulence is kept to a minimum.  Fiat wanted its passengers to be able to communicate without excessive windnoise, and they added a windstop to make their efforts more effective.  With a glass rear window and automatic climate control, the car should be enjoyable no matter what season.  Also interesting is the placement of the third brake light.  Built right into the soft top, the third light should be easy to spot no matter what vehicle is trailing.

What might be the car's biggest problem is the potential for blindspots.  With any hope, the mirrors have been designed in a way to make this as minimal a problem as possible.

Fiat took a page from competitor MINI with the design of the top, allowing customers to choose from three different colored fabrics.  Ivory, red, and black are the choices, no matter what body color is selected.  Also available is leather upholstery, an Interscope HiFi audio system, and the popular Blue & Me Map navigation unit.

The same three engines are available on both the 500 and 500C, including the 69 hp 1.2-liter petrol, the 100 hp 1.4-liter petrol, and the 75 hp turbodiesel 1.3-liter unit.  A five-speed manual comes standard on all three cars, but the Dualogic automatic transmission can be purchased as an option for the petrol models.

First test drives of the new Fiat 500C will begin in Italy on July 4, exactly two years after the new 500's introduction.

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