2013 Fiat 500 Sport 1.4 gas from North America

Summary:

Fun with personality

Faults:

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

2013 Fiat 500 Abarth 1.4 turbo from North America

Summary:

It's a POCKET EXOTIC!

Faults:

The car has been very reliable so far. We have noticed that it will pop out of reverse gear when backing up, every once in a while. We are keeping an eye on this and may bring it up to the dealer when we bring it in for service. It could be nothing, or perhaps an adjustment is needed to the linkage. In the worst case, it could be a syncronizer in the transmission.

The metal body seems to be very thin and prone to dents/dings. We have one or two already. Plus, when washing the car, I notice that very little pressure is needed before you start to "push down" on the roof. It seems very flimsy.

The quality of the hands free may not be good. When my wife calls me from the car, the sound is poor. Not sure if it is the car or her cell phone. Calls straight from her cell are OK, so I think it may be the car.

The ride is very choppy and those who are prone to motion sickness may suffer, especially as a passenger. This isn't as bad when driving. I think it is a combination of the short wheel base, sporty stiff suspension, high center of gravity, and tendency to roll/lean in corners.

General Comments:

My wife and I bought this new in the winter of 2014 as a dealer left over from 2013. We considered other cars like the Mazda 3, but found none offered the bang for the buck that the Abarth did. There are roomier, faster, more reliable cars out there, but none offered the same level of excitement in our opinion. It looks and sounds like an exotic car! There is no better exhaust note this side of a Ferrari. This car has a very big "bark", and with a red exterior and red leather interior, it's very flashy, too. We have 2 tall teenagers and the car fits my short wife and the kids just fine for the commute to school. We deduced that the kids could "tough it out" if things were tight, because they would be gone in a couple of years and we will still have the Abarth. LOL.

The car has a short wheel base, so the ride is firm and choppy. We did not realize this during the test drive, because the dealer took us on a windy road. But, after the purchase and on a smooth highway, we could notice a lot of porpoising. It is a very sporty ride, firm, somewhat harsh. It fits the nature of the car so it's OK, but took us a little by surprise. We've gotten used to it to the point where it doesn't bother us now. In fact, we recently took it on a 700 mile road trip and it performed very well, getting about 30-33 MPG.

You sit relatively high in the car and the seat is high off of the floor. It's like sitting in a dining room chair rather than a low slung lounger. And, your right knee sort of rubs on the hard console. There is a huge blind spot to the left rear. You MUST use the side view mirror to know what is back there. Looking over your shoulder is a waste of time. Not a big problem when you are used to it, but it took an adjustment for me.

It seems to consume about 1 quart of 5/w40 synthetic oil every 3,000 miles or so. This is the most expensive oil you can get at the local auto parts store right! It's about $12/quart!

We get lots of compliments about the car. Some, from people who don't know what it is. Others didn't know it came with the cool sounding exhaust on it.

There are a few other pocket rocket cars in the same sort of market that come to mind; Cooper S, Fiesta ST, GTI. They are all great cars in their own right, but none can really claim to be a Pocket Exotic like the Abarth can.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 13th November, 2014

16th Nov 2014, 04:53

Very nice review :)

The oil consumption seems reasonable. The reverse disengagement, not so much. If the shift linkage is properly adjusted, that leaves you with a bad transmission. Typically, when I encountered a transmission that would jump out of gear, the trans was worn. In your case, I think you should bring this to the attention of the selling dealer. This trans is too young for stuff to break ;)

3rd Apr 2015, 09:04

Having been a Pop owner, now a Sport owner and still loving my 13 Sport, I am considering an Abarth after taking a test drive not long ago. I am in love with Fiats after owning two of them. Not a single complaint so far. I just liked the "growl" and extra kick from the Abarth, so that will be my next car. I understand they are not for everyone, but I'm hooked.