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Fiat's bright idea; The Italian marque's Colour Therapy range makes driving the 500C even more fun, writes ROBIN ROBERTS.

Byline: ROBIN ROBERTS

YOU cannot help but smile when you see some cars, such as the Fiat 500C Colour Therapy.

the Fiat 500 has what the Japanese call a friendly face. Take off the roof and it becomes a wind-in-the-hair, happy-go-lucky character. Add the summer colours of yellow or sky blue and you have a three-way winner.

Could it possibly disappoint? Not where it really matters.

The Colour Therapy is a range between the Pop and Lounge specifications, with a distinctly 70s look of five vibrant colours and white detailing. It is available in hatch and convertible versions with the 900 and 1200cc engines.

There are interior trim differences with Colour Therapy., including a pool-ball gear knob and matching key cover, and standard equipment includes air conditioning and white mirror casings and wheel covers.

These special design features add about PS800 to the Pop price but, if chosen separately from the options list, would be PS1000.

We tried a model with the familiar and willing 875cc twin-cylinder 85bhp engine and a five-speed manual gearbox under the skin, but automatic is available.

The powertrain is surprisingly smooth and, with the 500C's lightness, it moves well from rest, pulls with enthusiasm through the gears for overtaking and you'll smile at how capably it buzzes along the motorway.

The noise level rises quite quickly as you start to push the throttle but it's a strangely pleasant, busy note.

The gearbox was slick and changes direct, the throttle pedal was light and the brakes very progressive and capable of rapid deceleration when needed.

Secondary controls were all close to the wheel and column, with big instruments.

Air conditioning is standard and it worked well with the soft hood up but the real attraction of the 500C is the quick-folding, two-stage fabric roof, which permits partial or full open-topped travel.

You lose some visibility with the hood folded on to the rear parcel shelf area and even with the hood up there is restricted vision through the back window.

Boot space is a modest 185 litres with the back seats used but drop them and it rises to 520 litres.

The front seats have good adjustment and room and were particularly comfortable.

For a small car, the Fiat 500C rides over bumpy roads very well but deep potholes will jar the car because of the short wheelbase and narrow track.

The ride is fairly compliant and the handling is safe rather than dynamic.

There is a joke that if you remember the 70s you weren't there but, with the Fiat 500C Colour Therapy., it worked for me and left me with a smile.

STEVE Macaulay, Arnold Clark Fiat franchise manager, said: "The 500C is a great fun city car, with a retro European feel.

Insurance and running costs are low, with start/stop engine technology available on some models. Higher spec models also come with a great range of trimmings, including parking sensors, and leather trim interior."

Factfile: Model: Fiat 500C Colour Therapy 0.9 TwinAir Engine: 0.9-litre petrol Power: 85bhp Top speed: 107mph 0-62mph: 11 seconds Average mpg: 70.6 CO2 emissions: 92g/km Warranty: Three years/60,000 miles PSPrice: PS14,710

CAPTION(S):

DAZZLING Z Oering a cool Oering a cool 70s vibe and a capable drive, the Fiat 500C is sure to make you smile

CHEERY Z The interior." The interior is vibrant and funky
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Title Annotation:Features
Publication:Daily Record (Glasgow, Scotland)
Date:Jun 27, 2014
Words:565
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