By on January 10, 2018

2017 Fiat 500 Abarth

2017 Fiat 500 Abarth

1.4-liter turbocharged four-cylinder (157 horsepower @ 5,500 rpm; 183 lb-ft @ 2,400-4,000 rpm)

Six-speed automatic, front-wheel drive

24 city / 32 highway / 27 combined (EPA Rating, MPG)

9.7 city, 7.4 highway, 8.7 combined. (NRCan Rating, L/100km)

Base Price: $19,995 (U.S) / $27,585 (Canada)

As Tested: $23,970 (U.S.) / $29,480 (Canada)

Prices include $995 destination charge in the United States and $1,895 for freight, PDI, and A/C tax in Canada and, because of cross-border equipment differences, can’t be directly compared.

Fun, when it comes to cars, manifests itself in different ways. The Fiat 500 Abarth represents one of those ways, in theory – extra power in a small car, plus the right suspension tuning, should result in a quick, nimble hatchback.

Not content with that recipe, Fiat also made the Abarth version of its 500 city car into a brash, loud machine that doesn’t go anywhere in subtlety.

That last bit isn’t an exaggeration. Like or not, the Abarth’s exhaust is set at a volume that’s not normally seen (heard?) in this class.

The Abarth has been around a while, as has the 500 upon which it’s based – the big changes for this year involve available appearance packages. It’s been a minute (is that how the kids say it these days?) since I’ve spend time with one, but the experience came back just as I remembered it.

Fire it up, and the Abarth comes to life, rude and crude (Fiat wants it that way). Outfitted with the six-speed automatic transmission, the 1.4-liter turbocharged four-cylinder makes 157 horsepower and 183 lb-ft of torque.

My last Abarth experience involved three pedals, and I’ve got to say – the car is a lot less fun with the auto, even though it has an extra 13 lb-ft of torque. That’s because hot hatches just don’t feel right when paired to an automatic. This one especially.

2017 Fiat 500 Abarth

The hopped-up Abarth suffers from many of the same flaws as the base 500 – almost no rear seat, cheap-looking plastic interior materials, small cargo area – and adds one: Not only is the exhaust loud, it’s not aurally pleasing in most situations. The car sounds, frankly, flatulent.

At least, at most RPMs. There is a sweet spot under power that, while still not pleasant, at least works in context of what kind of car this is.

The Abarth is supposed to be nimble, and it is, but the steering is more distant than I’d like in a car with sporting pretentions. It’s still fun to whip the little bugger around corners, but other small, sporty cars feel better tuned. Yes, the Sport mode does liven things up.

Acceleration has an odd feel to it – the engine doesn’t always feel as gutsy as the numbers indicate, yet because the car is so small and light, the Abarth still jumps forward briskly.

2017 Fiat 500 Abarth

One expects a stiff ride from a short car with a sport suspension, and one gets that. If your daily commute involves long drives over America’s crumbling freeways, save a few hundred extra bucks and take a peek at a Honda Civic Si or Volkswagen GTI. Between the noise and the ride, I can see how one might get exhausted quickly.

Fiat has modernized the nav system, though – no more aftermarket-looking afterthought tack-on. Overall, the interior experience is simplicity, in a good way. Everything is easy to use, and thanks to the tiny cabin, easy to reach. Just be ready for your right knee to get familiar with center stack when you make a hard left.

Feature-wise, the 500 Abarth offers the basic goods. Fog lamps, USB, Bluetooth, UConnect infotainment – all among the standard features, along with dual exhaust, rear spoiler, rear park assist, and painted brake calipers. Options on this tester included nav, a grey roof, satellite radio, heated front seats, and automatic air conditioning.

2017 Fiat 500 Abarth

Nothing earth-shattering or must-have, but you’re not being punished for driving a “city car,” either.

Fuel economy checks in at 24 mpg city/32 mpg highway – a bit low for such a small car, but not unreasonable when factoring the sport mods.

It’s hard to place this Fiat within the greater universe of vehicles. It’s probably too small to really be cross-shopped against the Volkswagen Golf GTI. It stands mostly as a value alternative to Mini and a sportier, more conventional option to Hyundai’s Veloster.

It’s also probably the only “standard” (as in, non-X or non-L) 500 I’d throw money down on. Not because I love this little oddball, but because adding power is a good way to compensate for the flaws of the 500 – which exist mostly for reasons of novelty or ease of parking. Not to say the 500 is bad – it’s just too small to be useful for many.

2017 Fiat 500 Abarth

I’m of two minds when it comes to the Abarth. It’s quick and fun enough to be amusing, and I can live with the verbose exhaust and stiff ride. But it’s still just as small as the 500, and not much less basic. I can also see its charms wearing off over time.

The price is right, at under $25K. The problem is that the Abarth remains a novelty. You can have fun and utility for a just a few grand more.

If novelty works for you, by all means, give Fiat a shout. If they can hear you over the Abarth’s pipes.

[Images © 2018 Tim Healey/TTAC]

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65 Comments on “2017 Fiat 500 Abarth Review – For Your Inner Child...”


  • avatar
    Sub-600

    Pretty busy cockpit. I haven’t seen any of these in CNY, a few JCW MINIs, but no Abarths yet.

    • 0 avatar
      civicjohn

      You think? That is one ugly mishmash of buttons, screens, and red(?) paint. Has to rank in the top 10 of worst dashboards ever!

    • 0 avatar
      MoDo

      Been driving a 2015 Abarth 5-spd for 2 years. Bought it purely for sh!ts and giggles and while its almost time to get traded off I know I’ll miss it. I could see myself buying another one when they are used $6000 cars one day if that happens. For now its time to go back to V8 SRT power.

      • 0 avatar
        brettc

        I recently discovered (the day that Tim wrote this) that used 500 Abarths can be had under 10K. Imagine my surprise. Thinking about getting one of these despite the fact that it’s an out of warranty FCA vehicle.

        If it’s cheap enough, it would be a fun car. Plus I measured and I can easily roll it to the back of the garage on wheel dollies if I use it as a summer only car.

  • avatar
    Heino

    I think it sounds great. Most of the 500’s I saw in Montreal were Abarth convertibles with a stick. The drivers were always rev happy.

    • 0 avatar
      threeer

      I agree. The sound to me on the Abarth is glorious. I’ve test-driven too many to count and secretly just love the little bugger, but at this stage in my life, can’t justify a toy car. The used minivan I bought over the holiday is a reminder of just how much my life has changed since adopting my daughter 1.5 years ago.

      The Abarth is a little crude and unrefined, but it’s one of the few cars I’ve genuinely giggled while driving. Make mine Grigio with the manual trans and I’d be set.

  • avatar
    Lightspeed

    Sound is in the ear of the beholder. There’s two cars I crack my window to hear, 2017 Mustang GT and FIAT 500 Abarth. I’d love to have one, but tiny car with poor reliability just isn’t on my radar.

    • 0 avatar
      scott25

      I agree, right up there with the WRX for best 4-cylinder exhaust note.

    • 0 avatar
      Syke

      I’m fairly active with the Fiat club here in Richmond, and I’ve yet to run across major complaints about reliability on these cars (members here are driving anything from 12’s to 15’s). And we all know quite a few other 500 owners who aren’t particularly car nuts and show up at Car and Coffee Richmond, or any other gatherings of that type. They seem to be having the same luck as we are.

      I’ve been quite overjoyed with mine. Yeah, gas mileage in the low thirties is supposedly abysmal, but this is a car that is NOT driven for gas mileage. And that exhaust is to die for.

      Add the cabriolet (I did) and I’ve got something perfect for the days when riding the motorcycles isn’t practical.

      This is running up there with my late, lamented 924S for Best Car Ever.

      • 0 avatar
        GeneralMalaise

        Very much in agreement. I have owned a bought new ’12 Abarth for 6 years come May 13th. It has been the lowest cost to run and maintain of any new car I’ve ever owned. Nothing but fun!

    • 0 avatar
      Vulpine

      The assumption is the poor reliability. It’s nowhere near as bad as you think it is.

    • 0 avatar
      legacygt

      Agreed. There’s one on my block and I love hearing it go by. There really aren’t many cars that give you this aural thrill with a stock exhaust. I also agree with the reviewer in that I’d never want to live with one, particularly for a long commute. But, if you’re the kind of person who wants to turn some heads, it’s hard to beat the sound this car makes.

  • avatar
    TheEndlessEnigma

    Fiesta ST is a superior hot-hatch all round.

    • 0 avatar
      windnsea00

      Agreed, was looking at this segment last month and the Fiesta ST is truly fun to drive and a far better package. Was able to snag a new 2017 ST the day before Christmas for $17,900 (not including TTL). Can’t beat that for a fun city/canyon carver to use each day.

    • 0 avatar
      NG5

      I ended up in a Fiesta ST but I still have a soft spot for the Abarth. The exhaust is so ridiculous that the car had its own “fun”.

      Unfortunately for FIAT sales, I found the Ford more fun on an immediate, tied in kind of feeling even though the exhaust note is far less inspiring. The seating position and clutch pedal actuation in the Abarth was just a little strange, too. It felt kind of like driving the old manual VW bus we once had in the family.

      If my city had even tighter street parking, I would have been even more tempted by the engaging and strange little Abarth. Ultimately, I went with the Fiesta because exhaust aside, I connected with it more when I drove it. Side benefit is I don’t have to hear the same FIAT acronym joke ten thousand times.

      • 0 avatar
        Featherston

        @ NG5 – good point about street parking. The 500 is over a foot and a half shorter than the 6th and 7th-gen Fiestas. Most Americans probably look at them and think, “Who cares? They’re both tiny,” but that’s a meaningful difference for people who do a lot of street parking in certain cities.

        The “almost no rear seat” criticism in this review isn’t really accurate. I’m 5’10” and did a “sit behind myself” test at an auto show when the 500 came out. While certainly not roomy, the 500’s (rounded) two-box shape means the rear seat is usable in a way that, for example, a Mustang’s is not. Three adults(or four, if the driver is short) could get across town in a 500 without anyone’s being too badly contorted. The same can’t be said of many cars with swoopier rooflines.

    • 0 avatar
      krhodes1

      I absolutely agree that the ST is the better all-round car. The Abarth is way more fun, which is why I bought an Abarth and not a Fiesta. Kept it two years, loved every minute of it, would buy another one if I had a place to keep it. A car that just turns your frown upside-down.

      Ultimately, had I needed the car to be a daily driver and not a toy, I would have bought the Fiesta. Reality is that for a daily driver it would be between the Focus ST and a GTI, and the GTI won that battle, as that is what I now daily drive in FL.

      But that exhaust note in the Abarth is just stupendous. So much ferocity out of such a small package is giggle-inducing.

    • 0 avatar
      mzr

      But then you’d have a Fiesta. I have a 2014, and it is a miserable penalty box.

      • 0 avatar
        windnsea00

        Have you driven the ST? It’s a whole other animal relative to the base Fiesta. The interior of mine is mundane but the drive is excellent. This is coming from a M3/911 guy for what it’s worth, just sold a 997.

    • 0 avatar
      GeneralMalaise

      Meh… has a 6th gear, which is good, but they can keep the Mothra Meets Rodan interior styling.

  • avatar
    PrincipalDan

    Could you fit it with a quieter exhaust?

    Quiet exhaust and with the stripes removed it could be entertaining.

    Although not as entertaining as the commercial featuring Charlie Sheen that introduced it.

    WINNING!

    • 0 avatar
      Sub-600

      I like the Abarth ad with Catrinel Menghia where she asks the guy “What are you looking at?”, then slaps him. Charlie would have to drink a lot of tiger blood before he tried to tackle her.

      • 0 avatar
        IBx1

        I don’t think a commercial more well-matched to its product has ever been made than that streetside ad with Catrinel. The “topless” Cabrio commercial is just as good, again with the same model.

    • 0 avatar
      bumpy ii

      That’s basically what the 500 Turbo is: you get most of the punch of the Abarth without the rough edges or garish looks.

      • 0 avatar
        krhodes1

        The Abarth both rides and handles better than the Turbo thanks to the trick Koni dampers it comes with. But I like the turbo a lot too – it’s a little cheaper, comes in better colors, and is just a muffler delete away from sounding the same. I’m sure the extra 30hp is readily obtainable, and I mostly drove my Abarth in non-sport mode anyway, which is the same 130hp as the Turbo.

      • 0 avatar
        GeneralMalaise

        The one to get if you are more sedate and see yourself as refined is the GQ… if you can find one. My youngest son owns one, loves it. White with an Alcantara interior and a convertible, as well.

    • 0 avatar
      HotPotato

      Last I checked they had added a Fiat 500 Turbo model: quieter but still nice sounding exhaust, somewhat lower peak power output (same as the Abarth if you DON’T push the Sport button), and unfortunately deletion of the fancy-pants shocks, all for a reasonable price. Might be the Goldilocks model for you.

    • 0 avatar
      Featherston

      I believe the Turbo was eliminated after the ’16 model year. I think FCA deemed it superfluous once they’d introduced an automatic and stripe delete for the Abarth. Kind of a shame for those of us who like our exhausts quieter and our rides a little softer, but still with some pep and fun in the mix.

      From C&D’s review of the ’13 Turbo (NB: an auto would be offered for both trim levels later): “Also from the Abarth, the 500 Turbo borrows its engine (detuned), manual transmission, final-drive gearing, half-shafts, CV joints, brakes, and lower control arms. Stuff ­carried over from the 500 Sport—slightly firmer than the Pop and Lounge trims—includes the torsion-beam rear suspension, spring rates, shock tuning, and electrically assisted power-steering calibration. Laudably, the five-speed manual is the only choice in either car. The Abarth refused to share its Koni shocks, unique rear suspension, and stiffer, shorter springs.”

      • 0 avatar
        krhodes1

        I was looking at the website the other night – yup, no more Turbo and I think that is too bad too. Though really, it kind of makes sense as the Turbo was $2K cheaper but probably minimally cheaper to actually build – and the base price of the Abarth is about $3-4K cheaper than it was five years ago when I bought mine! My car today would be only $21K MSRP, and I bet you can still get $2K+ off that price. And no more Sport either – Sport is now an option package on the Pop. I could not figure out if it still came with the stiffer suspension or just the appearance stuff.

        Having owned an Abarth – those Konis make it ride better than the Sport and the Turbo, even with the lower and stiffer springs. Kind of magic, really. MY Abarth had no stripes, they were an option in ’13. Now you can get the Turbo’s dark head and taillights as an option on the Abarth, but I never cared for those. And they added two colors – ooooh. Irritated me to no end that I couldn’t get my Abarth in a cool color.

    • 0 avatar
      stevelovescars

      In 2015 they had a GQ edition. It was the full Abarth convertible package but with alcantara seats, more understated graphics, and a quieter exhaust.

      Personally, I think the exhaust on this car added a lot of fun. I had a 2013 for a couple of years. It was loud when starting the car (your teenagers won’t be sneaking out at night) but I found it fairly quiet on the freeway and when driving at constant speeds. They did a really good job tuning it.

      For the size and handling, I felt like my Abarth was the reincarnation of a Mk. 1 GTI but with a lot more power.

      Oh, and I ordered mine in solid black with the stripe delete package. It was hilarious seeing people look around trying to figure out where all the noise was coming from… it couldn’t possibly be that little black hatchback.

  • avatar
    30-mile fetch

    The 500 has been out for about a decade and I see fewer on the road now than in the year of their debut. I have seen one Abarth ever. Looks like a riot of a little car in urban cores and narrow roads, though. Even the 100hp version with a manual would be: the tight turning radius and narrow size of subcompacts are just a joy in tight quarters, and the dearth of power means little when you’re topping out at 30mph anyway.

    • 0 avatar
      Syke

      Don’t underestimate the base versions. What convinced me to buy my Abarth was test driving a 2012 Pop with absolutely nothing optional on it, and the clock reading 122,000.

      Scared the hell out of the wife on the test drive, decided if this is how they hold together at 122,000, let’s see what one feels like with 20,000 on it.

      I haven’t been disappointed.

      • 0 avatar
        krhodes1

        Same here – a couple rented autotragic Sports got me to go test drive them, and 10 minutes in an Abarth and I was sold. I was initially interested in a stickshift Sport.

        I kind of have a thought that when my Mom-car/airport beater Saab blows up in FL, a convertible 500 will replace it. Probably just a Pop automatic as Mom will have to be able to drive it. Cheap and cheerful in the best way, and no need for speed down here in flatland.

        We live in spoiled times when a car that is as fast as a basic sports sedan was when I was in high school is considered horribly slow. A stickshift Pop is just as fast as my ’84 Jetta GLI was, and that car was considered a rocketship for the class in those days.

        • 0 avatar
          Vulpine

          The automatic Pop is a lively little car too… with one extra gear and a surprising amount of ‘git!’

          … especially when you drop it in Sport mode and pull the shifter over to ‘manual’ mode.

    • 0 avatar
      Vulpine

      What dearth of power, 30? I had a ’14 Pop at 101 horses and the thing was QUICK! Strangely though, it’s VIN kept insisting it was an Abarth, though its history had it as a former (6-month) rental unit. Kicking 80 on I-95 passing slowpokes surprised a lot of people and almost nobody could keep up with it on scooting away at a red light. Even the biggest engines took nearly a quarter mile to catch up… AFTER I settled in at 55mph on one specific road (popular with street racers.)

      Sure, there are faster cars and I’ll wager the Abarth is notably faster than the Pop… but until you try one you simply won’t believe how quick… and how FUN… those little cars are… at half the price of the much more problematical Mini.

  • avatar
    Charles Clement

    I have one of these cars,and I love it. Also have a Maserati Gran Sport,but the Abarth is my daily driver,and so much fun.

  • avatar
    IBx1

    I sold my 266k mile 2000 crew cab 6-speed 7.3L Powerstroke this year to get one of these. I flew up to Missouri in July to drive it all the way back to Houston for 18 hours through the gorgeous roads of the Ozarks. I’ve wanted one ever since they came to the US and I took my first test drive in late ’12; I’ve literally had tens of dreams since then of just driving these through different scenic backdrops.

    I got a white 2013 Cabrio with black stripes/mirrors that only had 18,700 miles on it, and it’s an absolutely perfect daily driver for people like me (and many readers here) who can’t be normal. Cloth seats, concentric analogue gauges, knobs for HVAC, base audio since I ripped it all out to put my own harness and speakers in, and did I mention the cabrio top? I got a new car coverage warranty with it good for 100,000 miles and the car only held 1/3 of its original value so I bought it straight across with what I sold my truck for. It’s the 5-speed because it’s an absolute sin to put an automatic in a car with this much personality.

    It has a straight-pipe exhaust (catted downpipe) from the factory. It backfires from the factory. It makes 24psi of boost from the factory. They put so much engine in from the factory that they didn’t have enough room for the turning radius to be any tighter than a truck. Sure the Fiesta ST puts down better numbers, but it is a soulless number generator. This is an Italian sports car with a landaulet top and a color-keyed dashboard.

    Also, they are incredibly reliable if you know what to do. Chase down boost leaks by fitting a front mount intercooler (mainly to replace all the pressure-side factory hose clamps) and a better wastegate actuator, and use a dry paper filter instead of an oiled one, and you’re good for years of use. This thing has the most secure electrical connectors I’ve seen on any car by the way, and you get enough room to work on everything.

    Only real-world gripe I have is the seats don’t recline enough to take a nap. I’m having so much fun that I haven’t been able to get more than 25mpg out of it on my 60-mile round trip commute through the highways of Houston.

    • 0 avatar
      Syke

      My only squawk on mine is the single line display on the tuner. I get so tired of pushing the button over and over when I’m trying to figure out who the artist is on the song on SiriusXM.

  • avatar
    kcflyer

    I’m in the target demographic for this car. I’m cheap, I like fast/fun cars and I don’t have a problem with small cars. Still wouldn’t be interested in this car. Oh how I wish Honda would put the 1.5 turbo and six speed from the civic in the Fit Sport. 175 horse power and better economy to boot. I would trade my current Fit in a heartbeat. Small cars don’t have to be small on the inside.

  • avatar
    Jeff Waingrow

    Presently, in MA, you can buy a 2017 GTI with DSG for $21,300. If you find a standard transmission version, it would be that much less. I just bought a 2017 Sport with DSG for under $25,000 along with an excellent trade- in price for my 2015. How can you beat these deals? By that standard, the Fiat is currently vastly overpriced.

    • 0 avatar
      krhodes1

      I paid notably less than that for my Abarth in 2013, and the discounts are allegedly bigger now. MSRP on FIATs is just as much a fantasy as it is on VWs, so comparing dieselgate prices on a GTI to MSRP on the FIAT isn’t really fair. I paid about $4K less for my Abarth than I did my GTI, which feels about right to me.

      That said, much as I loved my Abarth, I wouldn’t want one as my only car. The Golf in any of it’s permutations is far better at that. But in no universe is my 2017 GTI Sport 6spd as grin-inducing or just plain fun as that silly Abarth was. The Fiat was a 4th car for me, and it was wonderful for that. I rocketed around town in it, and autocrossed it, and left the grownup car duties to the grownup cars in the stable. At my place in FL I needed one car to do it all, and the obvious choice was the GTI.

  • avatar
    Vulpine

    Question: Did you even try to use the automatic in manual mode? My ’14 Pop was a blast in manual mode despite being an automatic. I can’t see how the Abarth could be any worse.

    If it weren’t for the fact that I need AWD at a minimum for winter and foul-weather driving (including the occasional hurricane) and a small pickup for hauling (a ’97 Ranger, not one of these huge mid-sizers.) As such, the Fiat 500 Abarth is a fun toy but can’t meet my needs as a daily driver.

  • avatar
    Tim Healey

    I don’t think I did — I don’t use manual mode much since in most cars, it’s superfluous. The last time I drove an Abarth, it was a stick, and it’s definitely more fun with the manual.

    • 0 avatar
      Vulpine

      I used to play the manual shifter mode all the time in my ’14, especially on the hilly, winding, semi-rural roads of central and southern Pennsylvania. People on that road were all the time surprised at how quickly that thing would climb some of the steep grades that had larger MT vehicles struggling to crest the rise.

      And that was with a mere 101 horses.

  • avatar
    jalop1991

    “That’s because hot hatches just don’t feel right when paired to an automatic.”

    Never driven a modern GTI, have you. DSG changes all the rules.

    24/32 mileage? That’s WAY low for something that tiny.

  • avatar
    jh26036

    I am about to roll 54k miles on my 2013 Abarth Cabrio and bought it brand new. Price was $18,200. It even came with an extended warranty to 80k miles at that price.

    There’s really no objective excuse to buy this car because it doesn’t offer the best power, or the best handling, or the best interior, or really anything. It’s a car that tugs at people’s emotions. It stands out from how it looks and of course how it sounds. The car is fun because it doesn’t drive like anything else, driving position is awkward, has torque steer, 90s style turbo lag, high speed hard braking causes the tail to become super light and literally wants to step out. If you try to compare it objectively to a GTI or Fiesta ST, it’ll lose every single time. But you know what, the Abarth will put a smile on your face and during my commute, that’s really all it matters. The day I don’t downshift and do a quick WOT inside a tunnel, that’s the day I should sell the car.

    • 0 avatar
      IBx1

      jh26036, check out the Abarth Owners Club on Facebook and look for a fellow named Giacomo Pinzoni. He’s an Italian aerospace engineer who machines aluminum steering column extensions that bring the wheel 2″ closer to you and keep your airbag and clockspring plugged in. Makes the world of difference!

      • 0 avatar
        earthwateruser

        Thank you for the tip! I may pick up the steering wheel spacer. I don’t find the stock position too uncomfortable but, as the lady once said, “I think two more inches would make a world of difference.”

  • avatar
    gearhead77

    I love these cars and I was considering one until I realized my growing, long legged children will not fit into it. Better than an FRS, but not much.

    That doesn’t stop me from wanting one. There’s one I’ve had my eye on for over a year. It’s at a CJD(f) dealer in truck country 3 hours away. It’s a Cabrio in light grey(Grigio Cenre) with the grey top, bronze multi-spoke wheels. Pictures or the configurator on the website don’t do it justice, it’s much nicer in person.

    It has everything besides leather and it’s a stick. I’ve been watching it on Autotrader. Typical awful dealer, no pics on Autotrader, but they keep messing with the price. The lowest it’s gone is 19700, off it’s 25k sticker. It’s been there a year now, probably longer.

    I wouldn’t think of trading my Golf for it, but if it drops any more and I can do it financially, I might pick it up. There’s no value in these cars though and it would be a tough sell to have two cars in the house that my wife doesn’t know how to drive. I’d probably be better off getting the Fox Mustang convertible I’d like.

    • 0 avatar
      krhodes1

      I had four full-size adults in mine on occasion. I would not want to cross the country that way, but for an hour it is OK. Admittedly, I am a very short-legged 6’2″. If you are long of leg then there will be less rear legroom of course. But the kitchen chair type seats make the most of a small car.

  • avatar
    scuzimi

    Sold my 2004 MINI Cooper S to buy my 2012 Abarth. Loved that car but hated the seats, very uncomfortable, for me. Sport mode was amazing though tough on the MPG. I put 45k on the car and had on 1 minor problem with the sunroof which was fixed under warranty sold it last year and bought an 500X.

    Loved the track day they gave us buyers back then. I wonder if that still happens.

    Why did I sell it… Wife hated it, hadn’t been in the car for 2 years, I hated the seat. For me a long excruciating painful drive was 150 miles and if I used a seat cushion maybe 500. If I had a bigger garage I would have keep it as I only got 10k for this rocket.

    Bought a 500 X. I like the car but so far the 9 speed trans goes it really sucks and the rough idle especially with the AC on also sucks. It’s in for those items this week and hopefully they can be fixed, other than that it’s been a fine, comfortable vehicle.

    Come on FCA, bring the 695 over to the USA.

  • avatar

    I’d love to try one of these out. My driveway contains my wife’s 500 Sport and my Renegade 1.4 turbo 6-speed. Both of us are totally happy with our vehicles. The 500 is an automatic but I still have a blast every time I drive it. I’ve driven rented Mazda2’s, Versas and Yaris (Yarii?) and the 500 is smoother and quieter on the highway than any of them. With the turbo and a manual it would be so much fun. I’ve put over 70k miles on my ’15 Renegade and plan to keep it as long as possible.

    I am surprised that the Abarth 500 is still using the 5-speed manual rather than the C635 6-speed as used in the Renegade, Dart and others. Is it a space issue?

    • 0 avatar
      earthwateruser

      As I understand it, it is a space issue relating to U.S. crashworthiness standards. Apparently, to meet U.S. standards an additional brace (or a beefed up brace) was required and the 6 spd transmission case would no longer fit. I like the 5 speed just fine and appreciate the increased protection.

  • avatar
    stevelovescars

    In 2015 they had a GQ edition. It was the full Abarth convertible package but with alcantara seats, more understated graphics, and a quieter exhaust.

    Personally, I think the exhaust on this car added a lot of fun. I had a 2013 for a couple of years. It was loud when starting the car (your teenagers won’t be sneaking out at night) but I found it fairly quiet on the freeway and when driving at constant speeds. They did a really good job tuning it.

    For the size and handling, I felt like my Abarth was the reincarnation of a Mk. 1 GTI but with a lot more power.

    Oh, and I ordered mine in solid black with the stripe delete package. It was hilarious seeing people look around trying to figure out where all the noise was coming from… it couldn’t possibly be that little black hatchback.

  • avatar
    stevelovescars

    I think the “flatulence” of the exhaust in this test is a byproduct of the transmission. Mine was a manual and I loved the way it sounded. I drove an Alfa 4C and it sounded horrible at normal driving speeds. Every time the transmission upshifted it sounded like a whoopee cushion behind my head. I really wanted to love the car, and in some ways I did, but the sound it made was horrible. With a real manual, it likely would have driven and sounded like heaven.

  • avatar
    djazz

    Wife’s daily driver is a 2012 Abarth 5sp we bought used and she loves it. BUT… we also have a z28, an M5 6sp, an 8.1l pick-up, a geo Tracker 5sp, and a Buick Rendevous. No bragging, they’re all old.

    The fiat fits right in. It is loud and reasonably fast and it fits in the compact spaces at work. It is comfortable for maybe two hours before we start feeling cramped. (Both over 6ft) The shifter feels weird to me but otherwise it’s fun to drive.

    We enjoy cars with personality and this one is all personality.


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