2015 FIAT 500 C Abarth C Abarth 2dr Convertible (1.4L 4cyl Turbo 5M)
I got mine used. Fiat's rather undeserving reputation for poor quality works out for those of us buying used. Car was probably 33000 with every single option available new and I picked it up for 14000 with 15k miles and 2 years old. So, not the car you want to absorb initial price on. Even if the price stayed strong like a honda, 33k would be a bit much for a car this size and power. A great MX-5 could be had for less than that. PRACTICALITY- It can seat 4 as long as they're all middling size. I'm 6'3" and can fit my teen children and wife in there. Not for long, but it can be done. Not much cargo space on the cabriolet, but enough to do a grocery run without putting the seats down. Gets good fuel mileage without giving up power. INTERIOR AMENITIES- Beats Audio is pretty great. I've owned a lot of cars and this has the best stereo ever. I thought the HK in the Mini S was nice. No where near. Controls are simple. Not many options. Has an easy to access menu in the gauge cluster to adjust beeps and DRL etc. Instant and trip MPG. Normal car computer stuff. Bluetooth is lacking. Technically you can use it to connect phone calls. But NO BT STREAMING AUDIO to the stereo. Unforgivable. Does have the requisite USB and 1/8" jack though. Seats (leather) are comfortable. Height adjustable (a la VW). Passengers complain about the rear headrests. The rear seats are almost perpendicular to the ground and the headrests stick out in front of them. You pretty much have to lean forward. BUT... technically its for safety. Safe isn't always comfortable. The arm rest is only on the drivers seat and is perfect for me. My wife considers it to be too high (she's short). It can be stowed if it bothers you. Seats are bolstered but not straight jacket. You sit high for a sports car.... but its not a sports car. Its a hot hatch. Good visibility. you never notice how small the car is till you park it or squeeze by into the turn lane that's almost blocked. DRIVABILITY- I came out of a mk6 GTI most recently. The GTI was almost too perfect. It lacked fun. You had to bring it to a track to get "on the edge" safely. The abarth isn't an "est" car. Its not the fastest, not the best in corners, its not the most powerful. What it lacks in power and skid pad and rapid weight transfer, it makes up for in spades with FUN. It must be driven on the edge. You don't sit back and marvel at your speed through the turn. You earn it. It handles better than most things on the road and anything in its class, but it doesn't beat your brains out on rough roads. It has a very sophisticated shock absorber that lets it soak up bumps and still perform. The shifter is spot on. Some call it sloppy. It doesn't offer a lot of feed back, but I've NEVER missed a shift. Only thing weird about it is that it will let you try to put it in reverse if you forget its only a 5 speed and try to grab 6th. When you come to a stop in a 3 point turn, if you quickly shift from forward to reverse you might hear it grind as the transmission spins very freely. The ASC is VERY intrusive when "all the way on". Starting from a green light can find you bogging down if you try to start quickly at all. The tiny firm tires try to spin on intersection rubble and the ASC/TSC kicks in and cuts the throttle all but completely. I generally drive it on "1 push". That is. Tapping the ASC controls put it in a "sport" mode. It allows a bit of wheel spin and will let you performa an "L" turn with the hand brake before it stops you. It still assists if you start sliding around a corner, or stab the brakes too hard out of a dip. Push and hold the ASC button for 5 seconds and you're in track mode. Full off as far as I can tell. Smoke the tires, pull J turns, drift through chicanes, spin backwards into the gravel or trees. Not a great idea for the road, but kicks butt on the auto cross circuit. The ASC has saved me a couple times. It has my trust. The noise... OH the noise. Pops and crackles. Pull away from the drive up window and you hear the turbo spin up. Build full boost at anything below maximum torque curve and let off to a satisfying after fire. The car has NO MUFFLER! Catalytic converter into down pipe, into a small flex converter---- 6 feet of straight pipe, T to the 2 outlets. Its obnoxious in confined spaces. On the road its not even noticeable. No drone, just a very european crackle. Blip the throttle between shifts. Sounds race car. The pedal box is perfect. My wife automatically learned to heel toe. She had never even heard the term before. It just comes naturally in the 500. "I can brake and rev match without taking my foot off the brake". Its amazing. The steering is responsive but not heavy. The steering wheel could be better. I can't find a perfect place for my hands. It wants you to be at 10&2 but I prefer a 9&3. The car has a bit of body flex and body lean, but nothing dramatic.