City cars may be ten a penny, but locating a fast one is trickier. While most makers have shied away from high heeled shopping trollies, the Abarth 595 has supplied pint-sized excitement for at least a decade.
The recipe for turning a routine Fiat 500 in an Abarth 595 is an easy one. Up front is a rorty 1.4-liter turbocharged engine, the suspension is reduced and stiffer, and there is a tough-looking body kit and racy sports chairs inside. Nevertheless, the 595 outguns them all.
But are brute horsepower and cutesy seems enough? During the next few pages, we will inform you. And when a 595 is really what you are after, visit our new car deals page to find the best discounts around.
The Abarth 595 comes in many trims, with three motor results. All are outfitted with the recognizable turbocharged 1.4-liter T-Jet motor, but it is the top-spec 178bhp Competizione version that more concentrated drivers will be considering. Below 30mph, little accelerator inputs have the Abarth 595 gurgling, popping and crackling; using the Record Monza exhaust fitted to Competizione versions, this is not a hot hatch for people who crave anonymity. Even the lesser models using a standard’ twin-pipe system seem slightly naughty.
The motor is ready to rev harder than many small turbocharged motors, has innovative shipping and feels responsive even from lower revs. The slick, snappy gearbox makes it effortless to use the engine to its fullest, also. In actuality, with a 0-62mph period of 6.7sec and a 143mph high rate, straight-line functionality is on a level with hot hatches in the class above.
Lower down the scope, the entry-level 143bhp version could have the ability to demonstrate the Volkswagen Up GTI a clean pair of heels in a straight line, but it is brisk instead of outright fast.
But that straight-line speed is not backed up with rewarding handling. Compared with the best hot hatches, which let you modify your lineup with a lift of the accelerator or any well-calculated braking, the Abarth 595 feels rather one-dimensional and strait-laced, even if you opted for the Competizione version.
That said, despite not being the most involving hatch on the current market, the 595 can nevertheless be hustled down a winding street quickly, while the Performance Pack-equipped Competizione is downright startling. Granted, on busier road surfaces, some may get the bouncy ride comfort rather sporting, but the upshot is surprisingly small lean given that the Abarth 595’s tall and narrow body. In the end, an upward GTI is much more competent, though.You can also compare it with abarth 124 spiders.
Interior & Layout
Open the door, and it is immediately clear that you’re within an Abarth as opposed to a regular Fiat. The overall interior layout is similar to a routine 500, of course, but it is the little detailing which is absolute Abarth. Everything inside the Abarth 595 has been completed exquisitely.
The pedals are replaced by metal’racing’ bits, the steering wheel gets the now-obligatory flat place at the base, and you receive an Abarth-specific 7.0in electronic instrument cluster. Just do not expect these bits to transform the inside; the tough plastics and poor controls feel cheap. In comparison with a Volkswagen Up GTI, you feel as if you’re sitting on the 595’s chair as opposed to in it and you must contort your left foot to feather the clutch, with all right-hand-drive models blighted with a narrow pedal area. Meanwhile, the absence of a suitable footrest is very annoying on longer motorway journeys.
On country roads, sitting that piece lower would allow you to feel like a more intrinsic part of the package. And, to make matters worse, the absence of telescopic steering adjustment implies that you are never quite at the right driving position, being either too close or too far away from the steering wheel.
Counting from the automobile’s favor are supportive chairs, a high-mounted aluminum alloy gear lever that’s a real highlight and a boost-gauge-cum-shift-indicator that adds a welcome piece of theatre.
Though the front seats are mounted relatively high, you are only going to have issues with the head area if you’re well over six feet.
The 595’s inside is also an excellent example of style over function; this body-colored face on the dashboard looks great but means the glovebox that sits below it’s extremely pokey, while the door bins are even smaller. There are two good-sized cupholders under the dash-mounted gear lever.
Getting into the rear of the vehicle is not as simple as in many competitions since the Abarth 595 has just three doors. As with lots of its hot hatch rivals, there are only two rear seats that, while they are going to fit two adults, are relatively cramped. A similarly sized Volkswagen Up GTI is a lot more spacious, and there are bigger rivals still.
There is enough space for a few shopping bags in the 185-liter boot, but many rivals, even those of a similar size, have substantially larger load regions, with smaller lips at the entry and wider boot openings. Fold down the rear seats, and the distance expands considerably, but the chairs lie at a slight angle, and there is no false floor to iron out the annoying step from the protracted load area once the seats are down.
Price & verdict
Though the starting price looks like a small deal, a Volkswagen Up GTI is much cheaper if you are buying outright.
That said, even the entry-level Abarth 595 has loads of kits, such as air-con, a 5.0in touchscreen infotainment system with DAB radio, Bluetooth, USB, and 3.5millimeter relations, twin exhaust pipes, a sporty body kit, and sports chairs. It is well worth considering if you would like to have more pace and luxury. The range-topping Competizione adds tons of additional performance kit, but you’re going to be spending more than £20k. While some are a relatively reasonable price, others are eye-wateringly pricey given the Fiat 500 base. If you fancy one of those limited-run automobiles, look closely at what you are getting for the money — you do not need to spend thousands on a garish paint job and flashy wheels.
The 595 includes an adequate line-up of security gear, including seven airbags, anti-whiplash headrests, and electronic stability control. It is a shame that there is no choice of automatic emergency braking and, with those carbon-backed chairs fitted, you need to forgo front side airbags.
While the 595 nor Abarth featured in our latest reliability survey, parent company Fiat has a reasonably poor reliability record, ranking 24th from 32 manufacturers.