This firecracker hits the road by delivering big thrills in a small package, but one type of person might want to avoid it.
This little Italian firecracker is full of personality, delivering a lot of excitement along with some unique quirks.
Here are five things you need to know about the Abarth 595 Competizione.
THERE ARE NOT MANY CUTE CARS ON THE ROAD
If cars only sold out of emotion, the Abarth 595 Competizione would be a smash hit. The exploited Fiat 500 has a sensational look in Rally Blue matte paint with yellow Brembo brake calipers and quad exhausts. With wheels pushed to the ends of its tiny body, it’s Italy’s spiritual rival for the Mini Cooper S. The sporting theme continues inside with a flat-bottomed steering wheel in perforated leather and suede and wrap-around bucket seats finished with motifs. rhombuses in leather, with embossing on the headrest.
BUT IT IS NOT CHEAP TO BE FASHIONABLE
Competition starts at $ 32,950, which is lineball with other hot hatches like Ford Fiesta ST, Hyundai i20 N, and Volkswagen Polo GTI. If you want all the trimmings, though, it becomes an expensive exercise. The special Rally Blue paint job is $ 1600, those yellow calipers cost $ 350, and the body kit costs $ 2450. A $ 2500 premium package adds xenon headlights and a sunroof, while the sports package (also $ 2500) includes Sabelt racing seats, 17-inch black wheels and suede highlights on the dashboard. The final tally on our press came to $ 42,350 more on the road, or about $ 47,000 in traffic. To add insult to injury, the premium lead-free small four-cylinder beverage turbo and warranty is three years / 150,000 lean miles.
THEY HAVE LEFT SO MANY
That premium price tag would be easier to swallow if the Abarth provided the safety aids and creature comforts you are entitled to expect from a modern car. Sadly, there’s no cruise control, no reversing camera, no automatic emergency braking, and no blind spot monitoring. The 7-inch touchscreen is small and can be tricky to navigate, although it syncs with smartphones and has a built-in sat nav. Elsewhere the cabin looks pretty shoddy, with lots of hard plastic panels.
BASKETBALL IS NOT NECESSARY
Sure, space is low on the priority list for hot hatch buyers, but it’s very scarce in the Abarth. The combination of a tall driver’s seat and a sunroof that eats into the head room means the Abarth is cramped for midsize people. If you are taller than six foot eight, be sure to take him for a test ride. On a big bump I hit my head on the side pillar. The back seat is strictly a child’s affair behind the driver. With a little mixing and matching on the passenger side, you could squeeze two smaller adults. The trunk is also tiny and there’s a repair kit instead of a spare under the cargo bed.
IT’S FUN TO RIDE
The Abarth is a whippet on the road: light, agile and fast in the mark. The 1.4-liter turbo delivers modest power of 132 kW and 250 Nm, but its featherweight means it can hit 100 km / h in just 6.7 seconds. This puts it on par with Ford and Hyundai. The exhaust note is also a hoot. It sounds downright wild when the car is pushed hard in sport mode. The suspension is a mixed bag, though. The car feels planted and safe on smooth surfaces, but can skip undulations mid-corner, upsetting the car. Around town, it’s very solid, crashing into sharp bumps and edges. The five-speed manual transmission is smooth and precise, but an extra cog would make progress more peaceful on the freeway, where the engine runs high at the speed limit.
Originally published as Abarth 595 Competizione review of 2022