Fiat lifts the lid on the new 500C

Fiat's strong selling 500 hatchback has been joined by this new open-topped version just in time to catch the best of the summer.

The 500 C isn't quite a full convertible; rather it has a very long folding roof that slides right back to the top of the boot opening, leaving the car's side-windows in place, an arrangement inspired by the fabric roof of the original 1957 500. Fiat is asking an apparently stiff £3,000 premium for this car, a differential that merely serves to emphasise what excellent value the standard hatchback is.

By any standard, with prices starting at just over £11,000, the 500 C is still a bit of a bargain, undercutting just about every other small open-topped car on the market, including the Mini cabriolet, the only one which really competes with the Fiat for head-turning style. It's worth remembering that the £3,000 supplement also includes standard air conditioning and a few other items for which Fiat charges extra on the hatch.

Three engines are available – sweet 1.2 litre and 1.4 litre petrols and a particularly pleasant 1.3 litre diesel. None of these are real road-burners but on a sunny day the 500 C encourages a relaxed cruising style anyway; there's always the Abarth version of the hatchback for those who want a really quick 500.

Video: The new Fiat 500C