Used Abarth is a perfect second car- Updated twice
written on 09-26-2015
Abarth 2dr Hatchback (1.4L 4cyl Turbo 5M)
I love my Abarth. It's our second car, but we've already taken it on one long road trip. It is a very fun car to drive and feels much faster than it is. I'm surprised how comfortable it is, given all the negative press I've read. For 2 six foot adults, the car is perfectly comfortable. Miles per gallon are better than EPA estimates, but smiles per gallon are off the charts. The touch points in the cabin are very nice, even if there is a lot of hard plastic. No complaints at all. Comfortable, fun, economical, practical and it sounds awesome when you run it up through the gears! Buy a lightly used one and you won't regret it.
UPDATE - The Abarth continues to impress! I've put about 5,000 miles on it and everything continues to work as it should. Overall fuel mileage remains 30 mpg average in mixed driving. I recently took the Abarth on a nice long road trip up to PA and it was great fun hurtling along the backroads of MD and eastern PA. Third and 4th gears are perfect for that kind of thing. The Abarth is surprisingly comfortable on the Interstate, but I prefer secondary roads if only to allow me to use the gearbox more! Many folks complain about the shifter, but I find that it works just fine. The throws might be a tad on the long side, but engagement is precise and shifts can be very smooth. The leather wrapped Abarth steering wheel and shifter are both a pleasure to use. The 'sport' button on the dashboard provides a noticeable bump in power, but I usually don't bother w/ it. The brakes are VERY good. As noted by some others, the turning diameter is about the same as most mid sized SUVs, which is surprising. Apparently, the Abarth modifications to the front suspension required it. I've adjusted, but it's ironic to drive such a small car and have to plan ahead in some parking situations as if you were driving a truck.
Overall, I consider the Fiat Abarth to be an excellent alternative to a big sport touring bike for those of us who have outgrown (literally and figuratively) motorcycles. Evening blasts through the countryside w/ the windows down, cruising around town listening to the burbling exhaust, running it up through the gears and stints on the interstate are all at least 95% as much fun as I'd have on a motorcycle. The roof, windshield, wipers, HVAC, heated seats, stereo, airbags, luggage space, and relative comfort (for two!) more than make up for the other 5% of lost performance and 'freedom'. And my lightly used Abarth was much cheaper than any of the big sport touring bikes.
UPDATE Sept. 28, 2016 - I'm over a year in with my used 2014 Abarth and I still love it. A ball joint started creaking in the front suspension, but that was repaired under the excellent 4 year/50,000 mile bumper to bumper warranty. At my rate of driving, I'll be able to enjoy full warranty coverage through August of 2018! My local Fiat service department is primarily a Dodge shop and customer service is TERRIBLE. But the Fiat mechanics seem solid and the annual oil change was only $68 for full synthetic. The Abarth has proven to be very reliable and I'm looking forward to some autumn road trips. I added a $15 Bluetooth dongle for the aux input and now I can enjoy streaming music from my phone as well as the standard Bluetooth phone integration. Later models have better Bluetooth capability standard. Bottom line - If you are looking for a fun, inexpensive second car you should definitely test drive a 500 Abarth. The bang for the buck is tremendous and it's an absolute blast to bomb around in.