2017 Fiat 500, 500 C, Abarth 595: Which spec is best?

By David Bonnici, 31 Aug 2017 Car Advice

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2017 Fiat 500, 500 C, Abarth 595: Which spec is best?

Which variant of Fiat’s legendary 500 hatch and cabriolet series offers the best buy based on features, performance, and value?

Fiat’s ubiquitous 500 turns 60 this year and is still going strong with a wide range of variants ranging from affordable city cars to Abarth-badged hot hatches.

VARIANTS

The Fiat 500 is the standard three door model, while the 500 C is a cabriolet version offering relatively cheap topless thrills. Both come with two main standard-model variants, Pop and Lounge, which sit below three Abarth models including 595/595 C, Turismo, and Competizione. The 595 C is the only Abarth covertible.

Fiat 500/500 C Pop

The Fiat 500 and 500 C Pop are essentially the same, apart from its roof, and are powered by a 51kW/102Nm 1.2-litre four-cylinder petrol engine and five-speed manual transmission, or an optional five-speed dual-clutch automatic.

The Pop spec includes a good range of standard features for its segment including a 5-inch touchscreen with Fiat Chrysler’s excellent U-Connect infotainment system with voice command, digital radio, leather steering wheel, heated power-adjustable side mirrors, tyre pressure monitoring, and 15-inch alloy wheels.

Fiat 500/500 C Lounge

Step up to the Lounge and you get a more powerful 74kW/131Nm 1.4-litre engine coupled with a six-speed manual gearbox or the five-speed dual-clutch auto. Extra features over the Pop include Satellite navigation, 7-inch TFT instrument cluster display, rear parking sensors, chrome exterior detailing, premium seat upholstery with a check design, brighter poly-elliptic headlights, and fixed glass sunroof (hatch only).

Abarth 595/595 C

The Abarth range starts with the 595, which is the only high-performance variant to feature a soft top version (595 C).  It has a significantly more powerful 103kW/206Nm 1.4-litre turbocharged petrol four with a five-speed manual transmission or a five-speed auto.

Additional features over the 500 Lounge includes 16-inch alloy wheels, red brake calipers, sports driving mode, sports pedals, front fog lights plus Abarth branded chromed steel rear twin exhaust, floor mats, side stripe, mirror covers, sports seats, and stainless steel sill plate.

Abarth 595 Turismo

The hatch-only Turismo’s 1.4-litre turbocharged engine has been tweaked to produce 118kW/230Nm and comes with extra features over the 595 including 17-inch alloy wheels, Abarth leather seats, Alutex mesh shift knob, pedals and sill plate, drilled and ventilated front disc brakes, drilled rear disc brakes, auto dimming rear view mirror, and adaptive suspension.

595 Competizione

The range-topping 595 Competizionesqueezes even more power (132kW/250Nm) out of the 1.4-litre turbo. Extra features over the 595 Turismo include 17-inch titanium finish alloy wheels, Abarth dual-mode Record Monza exhaust with quad exhaust tips, aluminium sports pedals, climate control, front Brembo brake calipers, leather steering wheel with Tricolore on-center band, Sabelt sports bucket seats, and xenon headlights.

  • Fiat 500 Pop manual - $17,990
  • Fiat 500 Pop auto - $19,490
  • Fiat 500 C Pop manual - $21,990
  • Fiat 500 C Pop auto – 23,490
  • Fiat 500 Lounge manual - $21,000
  • Fiat 500 Lounge auto - $22,500
  • Fiat 500 C Lounge manual - $25,000
  • Fiat 500 C Lounge auto - $26,500
  • Abarth 595 manual - $28,000
  • Abarth 595 auto - $29,500
  • Abarth 595 C manual - $32,000
  • Abarth 595 C auto - $33,500
  • Abarth 595 Turismo manual - $34,000
  • Abarth 595 Turismo auto - $35,500
  • Abarth 595 Competizione manual - $40,000
  • Abarth 595 Competizione auto - $41,500

OUR PICK

The Pop and Lounge models are stylish and fun to drive, though the Lounge has a definite edge on both counts thanks to its bigger engine and premium checked-pattern upholstery. This six-speed manual makes for a surprisingly sporty ride. While the cabriolet conjures pleasant images of sun soaked drives along the Amalfi Coast, its roll-back roof comes with a $4000 premium and results in some body flex, making the hatch a far more sensible choice.

If the 500 Lounge isn’t sporty enough, stick with the 595 manual for that sweet spot of Italian style and driveability at a reasonable price.  

Available options

  • Perfezionare pack with leather upholstery, 16-inch alloy wheels, xenon headlights (500/500 C Lounge) - $941
  • Premium Pack with sunroof, sunblind, xenon headlamps, and headlamp washers (595) - $630
  • Xenon headlamps and headlamp washers (595 C and 595 Turismo) - $230
  • Opening Sunroof (500 Lounge) - $400
  • Sunroof with sunblind (595 Turismo) - $400
  • Rear parking sensors (595 Turismo) - $508
  • Tri-colour paint (500/500 C Pop and Lounge) - $227