Style over substance
The worst quality plastics I have seen in a car, including 1980s Yugos. Door panels scratch after jeans brush them.
Vinyl seats stain with a whitish stain after elbow contact.
The vehicle is filled with squeaks and rattles after less than 8,000 miles -- something I would not expect of a $20,000 "premium small car".
The tires lose air pressure and require constant refills.
The Bose audio system causes buzzes and rattles throughout the car when turned up to a merely adequate volume.
The rear fold-down seats rattle and squeak due to loose attachments to the latch.
The driver's seat has loose portions that "thud" and "clunk" around during acceleration, stops, and sharp turns.
The control buttons for the climate system are beginning to stain and change color after the buttons have been pressed a few times.
This car is an absolute disappointment.
I purchased it to get a "premium small car" with plenty of comfort, decent handling and good fuel economy for a grueling urban commute.
What I got was a pimped up cheap econobox, with flashy styling features that wear away fast, and decent handling.
The quality of this car's interior is utterly appalling. I would have expected better from a $9,000 Kia. The plastic used in the doors can literally be scratched by having your blue jeans rub against the door. I've owned seven other cars, and none of them had cheap, soft plastic like this car.
The quality of the other interior components is way below par, especially for the price point. The vinyl seats are starting to stain at just 8,000 miles, and scrubbing with warm water and a cloth doesn't help that much. The buttons on the dashboard are staining due to simple finger contact. The driver's door armrest is staining similarly to the vinyl seat.
The entire car's fit-and-finish seems okay on visual inspection, but start to drive it and lots of flaws emerge after just a couple of months of ownership. My driver's seat has a "clunk" inside of it that feels like a slipping anchor point, poorly mounted internal airbag, or some other component that is "thumping" at hard stops, starts, or turns. The entire car is a creaky, rattly mess -- my 2001 Sebring convertible had fewer squeaks, rattles and body flex noises after 8 years than this car has in less than 8 months of ownership. The rattles and buzzes are so bad at speed that one has to raise his voice to have a conversation.
Mechanically, the car has been reliable (something that's reasonable to expect just eight months into the ownership experience), but overall the quality of this car is WAY below what it should be for the price. Resale values reflect this -- the car has already depreciated by over 35%, a much steeper hit than other comparably priced cars.
If this was a $10,000 car, I wouldn't be so harsh, but for the $17,000 to almost $30,000 (in Abarth trim) that this vehicle sells for, almost everything about the build quality and materials should be much, much better.
Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? No
Review Date: 11th January, 2013