2018 Fiat 500 Cabrio vs. 2018 Volkswagen Beetle

Detailed Review, Specifications & Comparison

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The 500 Cabrio has standard Reactive Head Restraints, which use a specially designed headrest to protect the driver and front passenger from whiplash. During a rear-end collision, the Reactive Head Restraints system moves the headrests forward to prevent neck and spine injuries. The Beetle doesn’t offer a whiplash protection system.

Both the 500 Cabrio and the Beetle have standard driver and passenger frontal airbags, front side-impact airbags, side-impact head airbags, front seatbelt pretensioners, front-wheel drive, plastic fuel tanks, four-wheel antilock brakes, traction control, electronic stability systems to prevent skidding, daytime running lights and rearview cameras.


The 500 Cabrio comes with free roadside assistance for 4 years 50,000 miles. Fiat will send help if you run out of gas, need a jump start, lock your keys in or need any assistance on the road. Volkswagen doesn’t give free roadside assistance for the Beetle.


The engines in the 500 Cabrio have a single overhead cam for simplicity. The engine in the Beetle has dual overhead cams, which add to the number of moving parts and the complexity of the cylinder heads.

To reliably start during all conditions and help handle large electrical loads, the 500 Cabrio has a standard 500-amp battery. The Beetle’s 380-amp battery isn’t as powerful.


The 500 Cabrio offers a manual transmission for better acceleration, control and fuel economy. The Beetle doesn’t offer a manual transmission.

Tires and Wheels

The 500 Cabrio’s standard tires provide better handling because they have a lower 45 series profile (height to width ratio) that provides a stiffer sidewall than the Beetle’s standard 60 series tires. The 500c Abarth’s optional tires have a lower 40 series profile than the Beetle’s optional 45 series tires.


The Fiat 500 Cabrio may be more efficient, handle and accelerate better because it weighs about 500 to 700 pounds less than the Volkswagen Beetle.

The 500 Cabrio is 2 feet shorter than the Beetle, making the 500 Cabrio easier to handle, maneuver and park in tight spaces.

The 500 Cabrio is 7.7 inches narrower on average than the Beetle, making the 500 Cabrio easier to handle and maneuver in traffic.

To almost totally eliminate engine vibration in the passenger area, the 500 Cabrio has liquid-filled engine mounts. The liquid helps further dampen engine harshness. The Beetle uses conventional solid rubber engine mounts.

The design of the Fiat 500 Cabrio amounts to more than styling. The 500 Cabrio offers aerodynamic coefficients of drag from .352 to .362 Cd (depending on bodystyle and options). That is lower than the Beetle (.37 to .39). A more efficient exterior helps keep the interior quieter and helps the 500 Cabrio get better fuel mileage.


The 500 Cabrio’s speed-sensitive wipers speed up when the vehicle does, so that the driver doesn’t have to continually adjust the speed of the wipers. The Beetle’s standard manually variable intermittent wipers have to be constantly adjusted.

The 500 Cabrio’s standard steering wheel mounted cruise control is close at hand. The Beetle’s standard cruise control is on an over-crowded turn signal stalk.

© 1991-2018 Advanta-STAR Automotive Research. All rights reserved.

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