2012 Fiat 500c to Start at $19,500

The 2012 Fiat 500c convertible will start at $19,500, the automaker announced today at the New York International Auto Show. That makes it the second least-expensive convertible on the market — the Smart ForTwo Cabriolet comes in first place at $17,690 — and the cheapest four-seat convertible period.

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The price excludes Fiat’s $500 destination fee, but it gets you into the 500c’s base Pop trim — or, as New Yorkers might call it, the 500 Soda (not really). The 500c Pop has all the standard features of the $15,500 500 Pop hardtop, including a six-speed manual transmission, power windows and locks, remote keyless entry, air conditioning, cruise control and a CD stereo with an aux jack. Fiat claims the convertible’s $4,000 premium is the lowest of any convertible versus its hardtop counterpart. Besides a sliding canvas top, the 500c also gets sonar parking assist, which is optional on the hardtop 500.

A six-speed automatic runs $1,000. It’s standard on the 500c Lounge, which runs $23,500. There’s no midlevel Sport trim for the convertible, as there is on the hardtop. Load up the Lounge with heated leather seats and a TomTom navigation system and the 500c tops out around $25,500, said Fiat marketing manager Stephan Cloutier.

That’s not unreasonable. The ForTwo Cabriolet tops out around $22,000, while a Mini Cooper convertible starts at $24,850 and can spiral beyond $35,000 if you get carried away with the options.

The 500c goes on sale next month.

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