2012 Fiat 500 Convertible
Starting price: $19,500
Top: Automatic convertible soft top
MPG: 30 city, 38 highway, 33 combined
The 500c version of the ciquecento doesn't have a whole lot of power in its 1.4-liter, 101-horsepower engine, but it doesn't need a whole lot to push a mighty mite that's 200 pounds lighter than a Mini Cooper.
The pricier Abarth series offers 165 horsepower for travelers who want a little more spring in this season's ride, but all of the 500s get the job done when it comes to the view and to interior space. The 500 mimics the Italian original's manual canvas roof with an automatic retractable soft-top that stacks up on the trunk like a retracted set of blinds. That roof doesn't do wonders for rear visibility when it's down, but it is retractable at speeds up to 60 mph and lets a whole lot of sunshine in.
It's the second-smallest car on American roads behind the Smart ForTwo, but it still has 9.5 cubic inches of cargo space in the trunk and more than 30 cubic feet with the rear seats down. In both configurations, that's more storage than the Mini Cooper for less money. It's a whole lot pokier than the Mini, with a 0-to-60 of more than 12 seconds, but when you're cruising with the top down, how fast do you really want to get from Point A to Point B?