Review and Test Drive: 2017 Fiat 500 Abarth

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DRIVING THE 2017 FIAT 500 ABARTH

Start the engine and take in the magnificent Abarth exhaust note. The Abarth sounds and feels fast, although in reality 0-60 times hover around seven seconds, although this doesn’t really take any of the divertimento away.

The Abarth-specific seats are extremely comfortable and provide excellent support and steering is extremely responsive with great feedback. Power is somewhat nonlinear thanks to some turbolag in the mid range (it’s a bit less with the automatic, but the automatic is also somewhat slower) but the Abarth makes up for this with its attitude.

Despite the additional power, the EPA fuel economy rating is 28 mpg (8.4 l/100 km) city and 33 mpg (7.1 l/100 km) highway, a bit less than the standard 500, which gets 31 (7.6) in town and 38 (6.2) on the highway).

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My greatest concern, given its size, is safety. Seven airbags – driver and front passenger, front-passenger side airbags, front and rear side curtain airbags, and a kneebag for the driver – are standard. The 500 received a four-star rating (out of five) from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration for most tests but it received a “Poor” rating in the “Small Overlap Front” category. This combined with a lack of driver assistance technology such as collision detection and blind-spot detection, should gives one pause.

BOTTOM LINE

For those looking for a sporty Italian, this is it. It is fun to drive, seats four (sort of), and has an attitude that puts it up there with Sophia Loren.

THE DETAILS

2017 Fiat 500 Abarth
Base price/price-as-tested $19,995/$21,985
Drivetrain Front engine, front-wheel drive
Engine 1.6-liter turbocharged inline 4
Horsepower/Torque 160 / 170
Transmission 6-speed Automatic
Fuel economy (mpg) (city/hwy) 28/33

 

(Photos: Accura Media Group)

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