Fiat 500 Convertible Icon — Green Lane
Motoring editor Jeremy Taylor and sustainable fashion expert Jessica Saunders drive the endearing electric Fiat 500 Convertible Icon.
Green Lane: Fiat 500 Convertible Icon
JS – My daughter loved her Fiat 500 – it has to be one of the chicest little cars around. I also prefer the Fiat to the Mini or a Smart electric, it’s so cute. Hard to believe this current reborn model has been around since 2008 though.
JT – And just like the original 500, which dates back to the 1950s, this one still looks very stylish. That classic, retro design shape is super appealing. There are sporty Abarth versions with eye-popping performance but this all-electric convertible is the one to buy right now, especially with fuel prices soaring.
An electric 500 would have been my daughter’s dream car but it’s quite pricey. Not sure many young people could afford the £32,000 Icon model we had on test?
It does sound quite a hefty sum but the Icon is top of the range and has the larger, 42 kwh battery pack, offering 199 miles of range. In the real world, that’s more like 135 miles but it means you aren’t restricted to city driving only.
I read the smaller, 24 kwh model has an official range of just 115 miles, even less in reality. At least the bigger battery pack in the Convertible allows you to use it on a motorway without stopping every 80 miles. Lovely to be in a convertible again too.
And what’s great about the electric sliding roof is that it opens all the way back. The Fiat isn’t a convertible in the true sense but because the side pillars are fixed, it feels like a conventional, hard-roof supermini when the hood is shut.
Yes, it was simple to drive and fun around London when we had a rare moment of June sunshine but at speeds about 50mph, wind noise can be very intrusive. The Fiat billows, so the side window needs to be partly open as well. Over the shoulder visibility is poor but the
500 is still a doddle to park.
Icon comes with plenty of neat equipment, like a 10-inch touchscreen that operates most of the functions. The silly welcome tune that plays every time I pressed the start button was tiresome. Fiat might want to take a look at the odd position of the centre armrest too.
I noticed that. And for some reason, the 500 doesn’t have a conventional cupholder – I spilt a cupload trying to slot my latte in the centre console. The park brake doesn’t release automatically when the accelerator is pressed either.
So overall then we love the dashing, retro looks, the punchy electric performance and the fun of open-roof driving. It’s a shame the rear seat space is so cramped, the boot is tiny and there are a few gremlins with the interior.
It is a little tight inside but I guess that’s the price you pay for such adorable looks. Hats off to Fiat for making some of the seat fabric from recycled plastic too.
Jessica Saunders is Director of Programmes at London College of Fashion, studying for a PhD in sustainable e-textile design.