2016 Fiat Abarth 595 Quick Review

06 May 2016 Car Reviews

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2016 Fiat Abarth 595 Quick Review

It’s the cheapest Abarth ever sold in Australia, but does the new entry-level Abarth 595 live up to its feisty Italian heritage? Read on to find out.

TELL ME ABOUT THIS CAR

The Abarth 595 is a small, cute and powerful hot hatchback based on the Fiat 500 city car. It’s the cheapest Abarth ever sold in Australia and bridges the gap between the regular Fiat 500 range and the existing, and more expensive, Abarth models.

STRENGTHS

  • It has character. Like all Fiat 500s, the Abarth 595 is dripping with personality thanks to exterior styling that manages to be cute, retro and tough all at once.  
  • It’s fast. Actually brisk is a better word, given 0-100km/h takes 7.9sec, but the Abarth 595 feels sporty and is powerful enough to keep keen drivers entertained
  • Even better news is you can probably afford one. Previous Abarth 500 models have been annoyingly expensive, but this new 595 model is the cheapest Abarth model ever offered in Australia. It starts at $27,500 for five-speed manual models, which undercuts the previous Abarth entry point by a sizeable $6500.
  • It’s also the most comfortable Abarth model you can buy. Sure it has firm sports suspension but it’s not as stiff as other Abarth models. Smaller 16-inch wheels (other Abarths roll on 17s) ensure the 595 rides bumps with reasonable compliance.

WEAKNESSES

  • The retro interior is funky, but it’s beginning to show its age. There’s no central touch screen, no reverse camera and no cruise control
  • The cabin materials also aren’t up to standard. The dash and door plastics are hard and scratchy, reminding you that the 595 is based on a much cheaper model
  • Cabin ergonomics aren’t a strength either. There’s no reach adjustment on the steering wheel, the front seats feel too high and the pedals aren’t where you’d expect them to be. The foot rest for your left foot also feels like an after thought
  • The handling isn’t as sharp as some rivals. The 595 is a hoot to drive in isolation with sticky handling and a rorty engine, but those interested in driving will prefer the Ford Fiesta ST or more polished Volkswagen Polo GTI.

ANY RIVALS I SHOULD KNOW ABOUT?

For serious drivers, the Ford Fiesta ST is more fun and rewarding to drive quickly. It’s also marginally cheaper than the Fiat and is better equipped. The Volkswagen Polo GTI should also be on your shopping list due to its superb build quality and slick dynamics.