July 18, 2013

2013 Fiat 500 Abarth

I’m never going to forget this car.

Base Price: $22,000
As Driven: $26,200
Engine: 1.4L Turbo 4-cylinder, 160hp
Transmission: 5 Speed Manual
Curb Weight: 2533 lbs.
MPG Rating: 28 city/ 34 highway
Crooked Finger Scale: 5 out of 5

The first reason is that a Dodge Dart had to have a small electrical hiccup for me to be able to even drive the 500 Abarth. 

The second reason is that Kid 2.0 (my youngest) decided to do something amazing in this car.

But let’s talk about the car first…

It’s small, Italian, loud, and has red seats.

 I think the red seats are very sexy.  They are not always comfortable, but neither is sex…  There was just enough room to fit both child safety seats in the back.  The boys did not have their usual “neutral zone” between them, but they behaved well and it wasn’t an issue.

It is Italian being that it’s a Fiat.  Fiat as a brand does not have the best reputation in the US.  The last time they were here all the cars rusted, didn’t work, or just fell apart.  I’ve driven two 500’s since they’ve come back to the States and had no issues with either car.  The 500 is a car that’s been around since 2007 in Europe and Fiat seems to have shed its unreliable reputation over there. 

The 500 is a small car weighing in at 2,400 pounds.  The small stature allows you to zip the Abarth in and out of traffic with relative ease.  You don’t have to worry about checking your blind spot because you are sitting directly in the blind spot.  The back of the car is just behind your back. 

The 500 is powered by a 1.4L turbo-charged 4 cylinder engine that makes 160 horsepower.  The power numbers are not overly eye popping for this car.  But the car does not weigh that much, so the power makes the 500 Abarth pretty quick.  It isn’t fast and I would not like to drive it at track speeds.  Seventy miles per hour on the Interstate is fast enough for this short wheelbase car. 

There was a weird moment in this car.  While accelerating, I noticed that it sounded a little funny…   This is unusual in the Abarth because the car sounds great!  I’m definitely a fan of the exhaust.  Turns out that Kid 2.0 was mimicking the sound of the exhaust behind me.  I realized it as I started going through the gears (#savethemanuals).  At the time Kid 2.0 was still pretty little like a year and a half.  He could communicate his needs, but he wasn’t quite old enough you really tell you what he likes.  This was one of the first moments when car guys have that connection. 

Just like the moment the summer before when Kid 1.0 was riding in a go kart for the first time and grinning so big that his face exploded.  We did go back to the karts this summer and took Kid 2.0 with us.  Both boys had an amazing time.  Kid 1.0 was not overly thrilled at first, but came out the last couple of times doing the sign language and saying, “More!” 

As for installing the child safety seats, the Fiat 500 Abarth rates 5 out of 5 on the Crooked Finger scale.  It’s a “scientific scale” that measures how messed up and crooked your fingers are after installing child safety seats.  The higher the number the more messed up.  I had some nicks in the skin and a number of irritated areas on my fingers after installing and uninstalling the seats.  It the 500’s defense; Fiat does not advertise it as a family car.

Overall, I really liked the 500 Abarth.  It’s not a four person family car, but can fake it in a pinch.  Because of my day job work schedule, I have to test the cars throughout the week, which means that both boys’ car seats have to fit in the back of the tester.  I was very worried about the 500 Abarth being able to accomplish this task.  They both fit; barely.  I was not in the most comfortable seating position when they were both in the car, but I wasn’t uncomfortable either.  It worked.

“Thank you” to the Fiat 500 Abarth for bringing me closer to one of my sons. I now know that Kid 2.0 is a budding petrolhead and will gently encourage him down that road.  I’m not going to drag him kicking and screaming, just nudge him a bit!  Kid 1.0 and I will always be able to talk about animals, the rain forest, and when we’re going to Africa.  Yes, the five year old has already asked when we’re going… 

I wonder if I can get a press car in Africa…  Land Rover, are you reading this? 

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