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.
13th Nov 2018, 16:31
Original poster here for an update. We've now owned the car for going on 5 years and it has about 35k miles on it. Overall, we are very pleased with this car.
Things that have gone wrong are pretty limited. A rear caliper went bad and was replaced under warranty. We had to pay to replace the rotor as a result and of course that meant replacing the other side. I noticed the smell of coolant and had to top it off every so often, and when it was in for an oil change I had the dealer check and it was only a loose hose clamp at the bottom of the coolant reservoir.
We started getting a door rattle in the passenger side door. The dealer opened it up and said that the window motor was loose and tightened it. However, the door rattle is back. Withing a week of getting it back for this, the driver's side exterior door handle broke!
My independent Porsche mechanic said he fixed one on an Abarth and the door handles are cheap pot metal and not super easy to fix (ours still functions but I don't know for how much longer). He also mentioned the Abarth he works on has had horrible trouble with the shifting cables. Our car, knock on wood, shifts great and also doesn't seem to pop out of gear like it did when we first got it.
The last thing that has broken is the rear hatch latch. Actually, the cover on the latch button has fallen off and left a sort of exposed electrical button there. Like the driver's door handle, it still functions but is loose and floppy. The dealer quoted me $250+ to fix it so I passed for now. Now, my wife uses the hatch A LOT so it's gotten a lot of use. But, I feel this is unacceptable.
The car is also in need of its third set of tires. So, in 35k miles, we are going through tires every 18k miles or so.
I will also note that I have not seen any signs of rust on the car and we live in the rust belt. We don't drive the car in heavy snow, but it is on the salted roads during winter months.
In all, the drivetrain seems to be durable. However, the little things like cheap door handles, a loose screw here and there, etc. do point to quality issues and make me question long term durability.
We still love the car and will live with these issues as long as nothing more serious happens. It's just that fun of a car!
13th Nov 2018, 23:51
Thanks for the update. The Fiat 500 is a fun modern car, but you are right to be worried about durability. 5 years with only minor problems is good going for a Fiat - they are not known for durability.
I live in the UK, and the only really old cars you see about here are German cars. Even your average Ford outlasts the Fiats here. Rust is a common issue on a lot of Italian cars, and some barely make it to 10 years old, whereas some other cars still have plenty of life in them at that age and no rust if looked after. Fiat really need to up the quality of their cars for long term durability.
16th Nov 2018, 17:01
There's no way I would buy one of these cars. I've known far too many people who've owned them that wound up having a whole slew of non-stop problems. 35k is not really enough miles to determine the car's true nature, but OTOH if you've only put 35k in 5 years, then perhaps you'll never put enough miles on it for it to start having issues anyway.