2013 Fiat 500 Abarth 2dr Hatchback (1.4L 4-cyl. Turbo 5-speed Manual)
When all is said and done, the Fiat 500 Abarth is a fun car to drive. It lacks the fundamentally solid underpinnings of its biggest competitor, the Mini Cooper S, and therefore lacks that car's refinement, feedback and speed, but it's still a kick.
ComfortThe Abarth's ride comfort is better than a Mini Cooper S with the Sport package, but because there's little else to compare it to, it's difficult to quantify. Overall, considering its abilities, comfort is good.
The seats are comfortable enough but lateral support is lacking for a car with high cornering limits. The short seat bottoms may bother taller drivers.
Surprisingly, the 500 Abarth is a reasonably comfortable car. It can get a little bouncy over cracked pavement, but that's the price to pay for small-car performance.
The Abarth's exhaust is quite loud, but it adds character and it doesn't drone miserably on the freeway. Road noise is prevalent. This is not a quiet car.
InteriorInterior details are a bit flashy, but add a level of detail and character only found in -- you guessed it -- a Mini Cooper.
With the automatic climate control there's not a single knob on the Abarth's dash -- a big mistake. Radio controls are cryptic. Non-telescoping steering wheel and close pedals put some drivers in a bad position.
Wide-opening doors are a good thing. As are the high seat bottoms. The front seats are easy to get into. Rear seat access is, as expected, a pain.
Sunroof-equipped cars compromise headroom and rear seat space is limited. The hard center console protrudes into the side of the driver's knee in a very uncomfortable way.
Tall, upright seats and large windows give the Abarth good outward visibility. The rear view is compromised by some thick roof pillars, but it's still easy to back up.
There's room for soft bags behind the rear seats, but anything larger will require folding the seats down. Interior storage is minimal. Shallow door pockets and cramped cupholders.
PerformanceThe Abarth model is far quicker than the base Fiat 500. It's engaging to drive quickly and reasonably well behaved. Still, it shows its subcompact roots when driven to its limits.
With a 160-horsepower 1.4-liter, the Fiat's got enough power to spin the front wheels easily. Power delivery is a bit peaky, but it pulls hard.
The Abarth squirms around more than we'd prefer during full-ABS stops, but it remains stable. In daily driving, the brakes are light and easy.
Sport mode firms up the steering, but doesn't add any more feedback. Easy to throw around, but lacks precision.
Good enough to hang with its primary competition in our instrumented tests, and a total riot on the road. This car likes to be pushed hard but lacks the finesse and grip to keep up on twisty roads.
In normal mode, the throttle response is lazy. Pair that with a short clutch uptake and you've got a recipe for a jerky ride.
ValueWith a starting price of $22,000, value is the Abarth's shortcoming. In this price range, you can get either better performance or a nicer car. You'll buy the Abarth simply because you love it.
Build Quality (vs. $)
The Abarth doesn't look or feel like a premium car inside the way the Mini Cooper does. Hard materials abound.
You'll have to pay more if you want features like 17-inch wheels, navigation and Abarth badging. Standard features include power doorlocks, Bluetooth, cloth seats and a tilt steering wheel.
Fully optioned, the 500 Abarth hits almost $27,000, which is simply too much for this little car.
An EPA rating of 31 mpg Combined (28 City/34 Highway) is encouraging, but we only averaged 22 mpg while the car was with us. On our 116-mile evaluation loop we managed a respectable 31.8 mpg.
The 4-year/50,000-mile warranty is decent, and includes roadside assistance for that time period.
Oil changes and wear items like brake pads are covered for the first 3 years/36,000 miles of ownership.
Fun To DriveBeing fun to drive is the Abarth's biggest selling point. It makes good sounds, squirts effortlessly between corners and manhandles traffic. Yes, it's fun.
Plan on being looked at in the Abarth. The raucous exhaust note gets people's attention, while the car's visuals hold it afterward.
There's plenty of personality here. It's quirky, unusual, fun and loud in every way.
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The Edmunds TCO® estimated monthly insurance payment for a 2013 FIAT 500 Abarth in VA is:
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