1996 Fiat Barchetta LE 16v 1.8 from UK and Ireland
A nippy feel-good roadster that is more practical than you think
Roof has cracked over the hinge. Tends to leak a bit at the junction with the windscreen when parked, but not when driving.
Variator replaced free of charge with no quibbles by FIAT of Southend.
Bootlid tends to dent easily.
I bought it because I loved the styling, thought it sounded like a proper roadster (with DTR exhaust) and was not as common as the MX-5 or MGF.
Cabin works well with great steering. Gearbox can be tight if changing in a hurry.
Nippy round town, but best on the country roads. The only time left hand drive is a problem is when you are trying to overtake on a dead straight road with no passenger. Cruises at 160Km/h if required, where allowed.
Handling as good as can be for a light, but poky front-wheel drive car. A bit skittish over uneven roads in the corners. The bonus of FWD is that the boot is therefore big enough to take a half set of golf clubs or enough luggage for a holiday for two.
Other problems? The build quality is definitely more Italian than Japanese, but then the Barchetta actually looks good.
Last time the girlfriend borrowed it for 5 days she got asked out 3 times!
Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? No
Review Date: 12th September, 2002