In 2007, Fiat revived the 500 plate for its old-fashioned small hatchback to compete with the Mini and (Citroen) DS3. At about the same time, Fiat was acquiring bankrupt Chrysler from the Daimler Group, giving it the perfect opportunity to return to North America. In fact, they’ve brought the new generation Abarth 500 to North America, starting in the 2012 model year.
500 Abarth . Overview
The Fiat 500 Abarth is a compact hatchback. FCA sold this car in North America from 2012 to 2020, with only minor changes throughout its life. The highlight of the 500 Abarth is undoubtedly its look. Although much larger than the original 500, each design element is purposeful and designed to replicate the original, albeit in a more modern style.
The round headlights and vertical taillights, as well as the side profile, were designed to mimic the original 500 that the world loved in the 1960s. Like the original car’s supercomponent, the 500 Abarth is also an FWD with a front-engine layout. The original 500 is one of the most important cars in FWD design and has become an industry standard after all. During its time on the market, the 500 Abarth has competed with the likes of the Mini Cooper S and VW Beetle Turbo, and is known to be a very popular choice.
Fiat 500 Abarth Powertrain and drivetrain
Although overseas markets got different, different versions of the 500 Abarth, such as the 595 and 695, this was not the case in North America. In the US and Canada, you can get 500 Abarth one way only. Under the hood is a 1.4-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine, featuring Fiat’s innovative Multiair variable valve timing technology.
The four-wheel drive generates 160 horsepower and 170 pound-feet of torque, and all of that power goes through the front wheels. 0-60 happens in under seven seconds, with the 500 Abarth topped out at 127 mph.
This power was delivered to the front wheels through either a five-speed manual transmission or a six-speed automatic transmission. Needless to say, a manual transmission is the preferred option. For sheer fun and smiles per gallon, very few cars can get close to 500 Abarth.
The engine sounds playful, but surprisingly cool, the chassis is well balanced and a pleasure to drive. Although it’s just a simple FWD hatchback with all that power, especially compared to competitors, the 500 Abarth doesn’t slack off in the handling department.
Comfort and quality Fiat 500 Abarth
Inside, the interior is mostly identical to the regular Fiat 500. That means, again, more retro touches, most notably the dashboard with a painted metal effect and the three jewel-like buttons on the dashboard.
Of course, there are some unique changes to the Abarth model. There’s a new flat-bottom steering wheel, lots of red stitching everywhere, power sport seats and, best of all, a turbo thrust gauge with integrated shift light.
In terms of quality, the fact that this is an FCA product may tempt you away. But, if you maintain regular maintenance, your 500 Abarth will actually last a very long time. In addition, since it is relatively simple, you can do a lot of the work yourself if you are skilled enough that the owners advise you to do it anyway. The 500 Abarth seats four (barely) and boasts a maximum of 30.2 cubic feet of cargo space.
Fiat 500 Abarth Prices
There are few other ways to have that much fun for that little money. The price of the Abarth 500 was very low even when it was new, but it is cheaper on the second hand market. High mileage cars go around $7,000, and the most expensive low mileage cars go around $20,000. A solid, well-maintained, low-mileage example with a manual transmission should set you back around $15,000, or maybe less.
The Fiat 500 Abarth is one of the best value for money small hatchbacks that money can buy at the moment. It’s epic fun to drive, cheap and easy to maintain, decently equipped, and can hold rear passengers in a jiffy. If you are looking for a high-value performance vehicle, this one definitely deserves your attention. There are several reasons not to buy one, but there are many reasons why you should.
read the following
About the author