2013 Fiat 500 Abarth 1.4 turbo from North America


Fun car in a poorly executed package


Intermittent unidentifiable electrical issues i.e.

- ABS failing

- ESC failing

- TPMS malfunction

- Power locks acting up

- Engine failing to start or misfiring

Poor build quality.

General Comments:

The Fiat 500 Abarth is a strange little car. As a performance machine, it's brilliant. The car feels light and nimble, it grips well and is fairly predictable. As to be expected, the engine suffers from a fair amount of turbo lag, but the 1.4 liter 4 cylinder produces plenty of satisfying punch. The brakes are sufficient if not slightly underwhelming, but tend not to fade except with prolonged abuse. All of this in a car that averages better than 30 MPG. Sounds great, right!?

Well... not exactly. Aside from the aforementioned mechanical foibles, this car has hilariously poor build quality. Many of the interior pieces are held together by friction alone and rattle like a tambourine. The driver's armrest was clearly an afterthought; it cracked within weeks of purchase. The base stereo has the sound quality of a turn of the century gramophone. The horrendously refined gearbox is as sloppy as kissing a basset hound, and reverse tends to grind while shifting, even while stationary. Although the fuel economy is good, the tank is so small that I now know the local gas attendant on a first name basis. Finally, the driving the driving position is akin to that of a school bus, sitting high and away from the controls.

All in all, the Fiat is a fun to drive hot hatch with several unfortunate drawbacks that make it not the perfect everyday pocket rocket that I had imagined.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? No

Review Date: 28th October, 2015

1st Nov 2015, 03:14

Excellent review of Fiat ownership - the good and the bad - a must read for future owners :)

1st Nov 2015, 13:56

Anyone who reads this review is unlikely to ever be a "future owner". Care to guess which brand is at the bottom of Consumer Reports list of 2016 models projected reliability?

2nd Nov 2015, 00:00

Would that be (F)ix (I)t (A)gain (T)ony? °v°

2013 Fiat 500 Sport 1.4 gas from North America


Fun with personality


Nothing. This review is based on a rental period.

General Comments:

I'm going to give an unbiased report of this model from the perspective of a guy in his 50s. I'm 285 and nearly 6'tall. So all that to say I'm a big guy.

Comfort: after spending a good few days knocking around San Francisco, up and down the hills, cruising the freeway at up to 85 mph, the car is comfortable considering its size.

I never felt cramped. The seats are comfortable with lots of adjustments. Getting in and out is easy. The seats are nice and high. There is a lot of headroom and plenty of shoulder room.

Power and handling: I have pushed this car pretty good. It holds its own. It performs as one would expect from a car with about 105 HP. So glad it doesn't have a CVT transmission. It shifts well.

The sport button is a good feature.

It handles really well in the corners.

It's a small short wheel base car, but the ride is solid and confident. It did not flinch in hard fast corners or bumpy roads.

Rear visibility is great. Left shoulder checks are a waste of time with the blind spot. The split rear view mirror solves this problem.

Parking anywhere you want is a good feature with such a compact car.

Finish: okay, here is where it comes up a bit short. The controls on the dash lack the quality and feel of a Honda or Toyota. It's not as tight as the Toyotas I've owned. However, this is a 2-3 year old rental car with nearly 40k on it. So suffice it to say it's likely been abused.

Conclusion: I was impressed with the looks of the 500 when I first saw them in France 6 years ago. They still impress with looks, styling and personality. The 500 is something I would enjoy owning and driving. Personally I'd prefer the Abarth for the extra power and fun factor. I would recommend the 500.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 28th July, 2015