Not having driven an Abarth in several years, there was little before-hand personal knowledge. But a week with the Hatchback allows for some expressive opinions.
The Abarth has a 1.4 L MultAir Turbo I-4 engine with a dual exhaust system, and puts out 160 hp at 5,500 rpm and 170 lb-ft of torque at 2,600 rpm. With the optional Aisin heavy-duty 6-speed automatic transmission it delivers 24 city/mpg, 32 highway/mpg, and 27 mpg combined. The fuel tank holds 10.5 gallons.
The cab is small and a little tight. Performance cloth high-back bucket seats are marginally comfortable.
The premium 7-inch color cluster display with turbo boost gauge was well positioned and easily read. The instrument panel cluster was leather wrapped and attractive.
The Fiat audio system with AM/FM/CD/MP3 capability provided quality sound, but the Media Hub in the center console was very small. Also, there was little room for beverages or item storage inside the vehicle.
The power windows had front one-touch-down feature. The button controls for the windows were located near the bottom center of the dash, which often seemed to confuse me. I always looked to the doors for controls.
The perforated leather wrapped steering wheel had a tilt column. The shift knob was leather wrapped, while on the floor the aluminum pedal cover fit a much too small accelerator pedal, even for an average-sized foot.
The air conditioner was superb with an immediate cool impact on numerous 100-plus degree days in August.
The rear 50/50 split fold-down seat provided much needed storage space.
The Abarth had some great standard features like security alarm, Torque Transfer Control, Hill Start Assist, and remote keyless entry—items usually found on larger, more expensive vehicles.
The interior was black, while the exterior was icy white. The outside gave a pristine look with sporty contours to onlookers. The 16-inch X 6.5-inch cast aluminum wheels, performance spoilers, dual bright exhaust tips, red brake calipers, and fog lights added extra charm and character to the robust outside.
There were numerous optional items and packages ranging anywhere from $250 to $900. Heated seats, SiriusXM Satellite Radio, and auto-temperature control A/C were part of a $900 Comfort/Convenience Group package.
Abarth is a little bumpy on the drive, but can be parked anywhere. It is the perfect answer to crowded roads and narrow alleyways, having a Big City personality. Ideal for one person or a young couple. They will love the car while older folks like me will admire the car and envy those younger folks who drive it.
In Galveston last week, while driving down Broadway Street, I saw a young lady driving the new Abarth. At a red light I rolled down the window and asked her what she thought about her Abarth. “I love it,” she replied, as she sped away.
4-year/50,000-mile Basic Limited Warranty
4-year/50,000-mile Powertrain Warranty
5-year/100,000-mile Anti-Corrosion Perforation Warranty
4-year/Unlimited-mile Roadside Assistance
Durhl Caussey writes a car column read around the world. He may be reached at this paper or email@example.com