Whole lotta cute, whole lotta car: 2014 Fiat 500C

Written by on September 14, 2014 in Cars and Chicks, Perspectives, Trends - 21 Comments

Krystyna Lagowski 2014 FIAT 500Sometimes, I get a hankering for something European. It usually happens after a particularly fine meal, or a night at the opera – or both. So after an evening with Puccini, I was craving Italian. Naturally, I called up FIAT Canada and requested a FIAT 500 Abarth. They didn’t have one on their fleet, but promised me something that wouldn’t disappoint. And right they were!  The minute I laid eyes on the FIAT 500 Espresso version, complete with Cabrio roof, I trilled “bella!” Sparkling espresso brown on the outside, cream coloured cabrio roof, with more cream accents inside, chrome touches, and cinnamon leather seats. A car that doubles as a fashion accessory! Sometimes, the universe knows exactly what you need.

Sliding back the cabrio roof to welcome the sporadic August sunshine, I explored the dash. To the right of the FIAT 500 pleatsdriver, there was a curious slot right in the dashboard. I remembered FIAT was equipping some models with an espresso machine. How handy that would be, a ready supply of caffeinated bliss as I’m driving. I poked around the little car but found no java maker. But I did find a Tom-Tom GPS, that, wonder of wonders, slid effortlessly into the little slot. How ingenious!

Commandeering the Cinquecento was a delight. While the car itself was tiny, the cream leather wrapped steering wheel was huge, and the chrome shifter knob was the size of a Haifa orange. It was retro to a fault, with softly rounded edges on the cream coloured instrument panel and vents, that could have been lifted from 1965. And inside, there was plenty of room to FIAT 500 rearstretch my legs – for heaven’s sake, there were even armrests! Some might decry the lack of a screen, but not me. Poking around the Xirius satellite radio was easy enough, and I rarely ventured far from my r’n’b favourites. This was a feast for the eyes, and the spirit of Cinquecento echoed throughout in stylistic flourishes like the large, circular analogue speedo tucked inside a larger, circular analogue tach. This was not a car for geeky technophiles, it was made for the style conscious – some of whom, truth be told, can be a little geeky in their own right. (I believe those are called hipsters.)

There were errands a-plenty to run in the little FIAT, so the 15-inch wheels and 105 hp. got quite a workout, but luckily, there was no need for major baggage. The FIAT’s trunk is the size of a cat sneeze, unless you fold down the rear seats. Backing up can be tricky if the cabrio roof is fully down, as it obscures the rear view. Those pleats look adorable from the outside, but can be somewhat hazardous from the inside. And so the roof only went back partially, which was more than enough, really. And with the tight turning radius, there was no need to be trapped by the many construction crews ripping up downtown – more then one quick and easy u-turn liberated me from traffic hell that is prospering on Toronto roads this summer. FIAT emblemIn fact, one could say that navigating Toronto streets is a truer test for a car than tearing around some back-country racetrack. Here’s where a car needs to show its mettle, how quickly it can stop, accelerate, power quickly into a gap in the traffic, and provide comfort to the driver, who is enduring endless stresses and frustrations.


Sable Burmese “KitKat,” owned by Sue Vecchiarelli, of Burmese Cats Go Meow.

Toronto’s waterfront has been hit particularly hard by the demolition derbies posing as road renovators, and it was tough slogging as I drove along Lakeshore to the Canadian National Exhibition (CNE), where I was helping out at the annual cat show. The Cinquecento was as sure-footed as a cat, edging into a spot here, nipping around a plodding sedan there, bursting forward on green lights. My friends had brought their most bewitching Burmese kittens, and I couldn’t stop thinking how perfect a sable Burmese cutie would look in the FIAT. In fact, the FIAT itself was like a Burmese. A big cat trapped in a small cat’s body. Deceivingly diminutive and powerful in its own right, and friendly, with smooth, rounded lines. And those alert spherical headlights were so like a Burm’s wide golden eyes. A small, friendly concoction capable of great love and performance.

And like a Burmese, the Fiat has an established heritage, so even though the current iteration has been updated to make it suitable for our modern-day world, it stays true to its Cinquecento roots.

All I can say is, ti amo, bella.

2014 FIAT 500 Espresso

21 Comments on "Whole lotta cute, whole lotta car: 2014 Fiat 500C"

  1. Tim September 15, 2014 at 5:35 pm · Reply

    I can see this being a great city car; almost like a more stylish Smart car. I love the roof and I love the comparison to the cat. Not sure I have ever seen either the cat or the car on the streets. I wonder if they will make a more sporty version of this car.

    • Krystyna Lagowski September 15, 2014 at 5:40 pm · Reply

      You’re absolutely right, Tim, it’s made for city driving. The Cabrio roof is a great idea – you let in some fresh air, without going “fully monty,” like a convertible. But they really have to do something about seeing out the back when the roof is fully open! There are plenty of FIAT 500 on the streets, but I’ve never seen this colour combo before. To see a Burmese, well, just go to the nearest cat show. And they do make a “sport” version, it’s the FIAT 500 Abarth, which is what I had originally wanted. Little did I know!

  2. Jacqueline Gum September 15, 2014 at 5:43 pm · Reply

    Your comparison to the cat was inspired! But then, I’m a cat person:) And I have to agree with Tim…looks like a great city car! My Infiniti G37 is getting harder to maneuver and park in these historic downtown Charleston city streets… this one got my attention.

    • Krystyna Lagowski September 16, 2014 at 2:55 am · Reply

      We cat people tend to think the same, don’t we? Always seeing the feline in those things we admire. Goodness, the Infiniti G37 is a beautiful car, but it would be a challenge to park in a busy neighbourhood. Did I mention how lucky you are to live in gorgeous Charleston?!

    • Lorraine Reguly September 16, 2014 at 9:58 am · Reply

      I bet your insurance would be cheaper if you bought one of these, too, Jacquie. 😉

      • Krystyna Lagowski September 16, 2014 at 10:17 pm · Reply

        Hah! Good point, Lorraine. Probably at least 30% cheaper.

  3. andleeb September 15, 2014 at 9:27 pm · Reply

    Comparison with a cat.. it is something really new… car seems nice but I do not know much about it… I just left driving many years before after a horrible accident… Now i just sit and enjoy watching around…. I think it is bit hard to be behind wheel all the time. This seems to be one that I feel I can handle too…. Lets see what next will come.

  4. Bindhurani September 15, 2014 at 10:37 pm · Reply

    I love how the car the cat are similar…

    • Krystyna Lagowski September 16, 2014 at 2:53 am · Reply

      Thank you for noticing that! There are definite parallels, I could tell …

  5. Ken Dowell September 16, 2014 at 1:39 am · Reply

    When I find myself hankering for something European I usually end up in a restaurant. But that would be a pretty cool looking car to drive to the restaurant in.

    • Krystyna Lagowski September 16, 2014 at 2:52 am · Reply

      Yes, a restaurant is a great destination when you’re in the mood for European! Or a book, or a movie. Or any combination, really. The FIAT 500 definitely doesn’t feel like a domestic car, despite its Chrysler connection. And they were smart to keep it that way!

  6. Meredith Wouters September 16, 2014 at 4:06 am · Reply

    So cute! I’ve been admiring these little 500’s for a while. It’s nice to hear what it’s like. Bellissima!

    • Krystyna Lagowski September 16, 2014 at 10:13 pm · Reply

      Meredith, they not only look adorable but deliver with good performance. Isn’t that a nice change? When a car is attractive, it just improves the whole driving experience.

  7. Beth Niebuhr September 16, 2014 at 8:49 am · Reply

    I love opera and do get inspired to do something after attending one. It’s usually food related rather than car related although I do love my sporty little Mazda Miatta, also a tight fit. My husband rarely drives it but at 6’2″ he says he puts it on rather than getting into it. Little cars are so easy to get around with in cities and super easy to park.

    • Krystyna Lagowski September 16, 2014 at 10:16 pm · Reply

      Another opera lover! I get hungry after the opera, especially since all those Italian words sound like food – howzabout a little andante with tomato sauce? Or some legato with cheese? You get the picture, I’m sure. And yes, your husband would fit into the FIAT – tons of headroom – espesh if you roll back the cabrio! : ))

  8. William Rusho September 16, 2014 at 2:48 pm · Reply

    I may be sounding sexist, but you gotta love a girl that likes a good car.

    • Krystyna Lagowski September 16, 2014 at 10:19 pm · Reply

      Well, William, that’s the whole point of the blog! If you’ve been reading the comments, there are a LOT of women out there who like cars. And for many of the same reasons that men do.

  9. Arleen September 17, 2014 at 3:26 pm · Reply

    I have always thought the little Fiat was a cool car. You see a lot of them in Europe. I have to say with the traffic in New York and the way people drive on the turnpike I would be little concerned about driving a small car.

  10. Susan Cooper September 17, 2014 at 4:08 pm · Reply

    I loved your comparison to the cat. I do that allot myself at times, but this was a great way to describe that car. As others have already said it does looks like a great city car.We are still looking into getting a new car. This may be a bit small, but I do like what you had to say about it. Cute car.

  11. Lenie September 18, 2014 at 11:47 am · Reply

    Living out in the boondocks, I must admit I’ve never seen one of these cute little cars. I see a lot of 4×4 SUV’s here – does that make our vehicles doggie like?

  12. Krystle Cook September 23, 2014 at 3:37 pm · Reply

    Great comparison! We have three cats and my husband adores cars 🙂

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