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Fiat 500C Lounge vs Smart ForTwo Cabrio


Fiat 500C Lounge and Smart ForTwo Cabrio go head-to-head in this comparative review.
 

value

Fiat 500C Lounge

From $22,700

The Lounge, with top-spec kit and cloth trim, looks anything but cheap. Standard are power soft-top, six-speaker USB/iPod audio and 15-inch alloys. Resale is a reasonable 48 per cent, services are annual but there's no capped-price servicing. Three-year/150,000km warranty plus three-year roadside assistance.

Smart ForTwo Cabrio

From $20,990

Smart is the perfect car for densely populated cities, but makes less sense beyond these. Cabrio is well built and equipped with leather seats, two-speaker audio, two seats and 15-inch wheels. No service program and a 12-month service interval with a three-year, unlimited distance warranty. Resale is a poor 38 per cent.

technology

Fiat 500C Lounge

The 900cc two-cylinder (63kW/145Nm) buzzes through a five-speed robotised manual - no clutch and the choice of self-change or auto mode - to the front wheels. Fiat claims 3.9L/100km on 95 RON and a 0-100km/h time of 11 seconds. The 500 shares the Panda platform and gets electric-assist steering and front disc brakes.

Smart ForTwo Cabrio

Smart - owned by Daimler AG - thinks small when it comes to power. The 1.0-litre, three-cylinder turbo (52kW/92Nm) is good for 4.4L/100km on 95 RON fuel. The 0-100km/h time is a leisurely 13.3 seconds. Sequential transmission, similar to the Fiat's, but the five-speeder drives the rear wheels - which are wider than the fronts.

design

Fiat 500C Lounge

It's a 500 with a fabric roof. Individual, unmistakable and deft balance of city-car practicality and cute looks. It's 3.5m long but will squeeze in four people. Power roof rolls back in stages. Colour-coded dash can be a shock to the system but works well despite erratic layout. Boot capacity (182L-520L) is small by any standard.

Smart ForTwo Cabrio

Its dimensions (2.7m long) make it look decidedly vulnerable. But it's comfortable for two and has a bigger standard boot (220L) than the Fiat. Also has an electric fabric top that, in this case, can be opened and closed at any speed. The rear-drive design puts the boot above the tiny engine.

safety

Fiat 500C Lounge

Five-star crash rating, seven airbags and electronic stability and traction control, plus a hill holder, daytime running lights and rear park sensors. The spare is a space-saver.

Smart ForTwo Cabrio

This is a four-star car and even that comes as a surprise given its tiny dimensions. It has electronic stability and traction control, four airbags, brake emergency display, hill holder, LED daytime running lights, auto wipers and heated mirrors. There's no room for a spare.

driving

Fiat 500C Lounge

The semi-auto box is actually a good thing - though there is lag between changes - and perfect for the city. It is also a comfortable highway cruiser. That engine is excellent. It revs quickly to make it very responsive but forget claimed fuel efficiency because it's so much fun to drive quickly. Even better to drive on a balmy day with the roof back.

Smart ForTwo Cabrio

Get over the fact that the back of your head sits within a few millimetres of the tail-lights and that your feet are near the front bumper. The car is surprisingly quick off the mark but there are long delays between gearshifts. Brings a smile every time you see a tiny parking bay and is great to drive in the city but it is noisy and unsettled on highways.

Verdict

Fiat 500C Lounge

Smart ForTwo Cabrio