54 of 64 people found this review helpful
By rreichar on
2013 FIAT 500 Abarth 2dr Hatchback (1.4L 4cyl Turbo 5M)
Fiat was a sponsor of the US Grand Prix in Austin and had some Abarths on display. I really liked the look of the thing. Nice interior but not as quirky as a Mini Cooper.
For such a tiny car it just looked mean. A week later I test drove one. I decided that buying the car just didn't make sense for me. A week later I bought one. Sense had nothing to do with it. This car is loud, raw and rides like an ox cart. It is also FUN! I traded in the best car I ever owned, a 2012 VW Jetta Sportwagen TDI, that averaged 40 mpg. The Abarth seats look great but hurt my back. The shifter is rubbery. It could use a sixth gear. It only holds 10 gallons of gas. Go drive one. You will either get it or not....
The sound! The handling! The power! Don't kid yourself. This is a performance car in every sense of the word. It is not really that fast but it feels really, really fast. Weighing in at 2500 lbs with a wheelbase of 90 inches it is very quick to react. There is nothing subtle about it. The 160 horse turbo motor sounds great and feels better. Did I mention that it's loud? I am not a young guy at 58 and I thought my fast driving days were long behind me. I keep catching myself winding it out in every gear just to listen to it. Despite that I am getting 27mpg in mixed driving. This is an exciting car to drive. It does require a certain level of commitment though. Just go drive one...
The optional Beats audio system sounds great but the head unit is awful to use. The iPod integration is terrible. To get any functionality at all you have to get the optional TomTom nav that blocks your vision and looks tacky. To tune the satellite radio requires that you click up or down. There is no way to tune by entering numbers. You just have to click until you get there. Potentially up to 200 clicks just to get from one channel to the other. It is hands down the most frustrating system I have ever used. I am looking to replace the head unit after one week. It's that bad. The Bluetooth for the phone works well though. You don't buy this car for for the radio though...
I sold my Abarth about a year ago because it was a little small to be an only car. However I find myself checking them out on Carmax lately. I think for most people it is a fine only car. I have a hobby that requires a lot of space occasionally. My plan was to use my wife's 3 row SUV for those times but the arrangement was not really working out that well. I traded the Abarth in for a Ram 1500 truck. Now I am thinking of buying an Abarth to use as my daily driver.
Is this your only vehicle now?
I'm thinking about trading my Pontiac Vibe for an Abarth but am concerned about having a car that small as my only car-hauling people, dogs, shopping, etc.
I know if I get an Abarth it will be an emotional (that sound!!!) purchase not a practical one!!