2012 Fiat 500 Abarth (939)


This week we’re looking at the 2012 Fiat 500 Abarth which is the racing version of the 500.

The first competitor that came to mind is the MINI Cooper that is however a more expensive option. Of course the Abarth is more comparable to similar “Small”, “Inexpensive” Smart fortwo and the Scion iQ. These are super practical cars that are super popular in much of the world where gas prices are much higher than in the US.

Many cars these days blend in with the crowd but Fiat has always stood out and this Abarth will turn heads, whether they think it is great, a shocking looker or just because it is the new kid in town.

General Information:

Parts from the US / Canada 11%, Germany 59%. It is assembled in Toluca, Mexico. Classification is Mini-Compact. Cars from Fiat: 500, Abarth, Gucci, Lounge, Pop, Sport.

Handling & Performance:

Excellent. Fun fast and furious.


Not the prettiest but unique and the Abarth model stands out. Abarth is like what AMG is to Mercedes-Benz – a tweaked version of the 500 in this case.

Fit and Finish:

Very good.


Competitive across the spectrum of prices and is a good value relative to the entire field and overall in the top contenders.

Conveniences and comfort:

It is comfortable and is well equipped for the money, size and pricing. But this class is small, and the small back seat is marginal or folded down you have a reasonable cargo area. But you can’t really have both 4 seats and cargo area.

Consumer Recommendation:

As you may know, Fiat owns Ferrari, Alfa Romeo, Maserati, Lancia, Zastava and Iveco car companies. And in addition, it owns over 50% of Chrysler. It is not the largest car company outside of Italy, but substantial and Fiat cars, in particular are exceptional leaders in the world when it comes to being recognizable as affordable, and economical to operate.

Of all the suggested competition here, all of which I have driven with the exception of the Scion iQ, this Fiat 500 Abarth has been a real performer and a ball to drive. And if you are not into performance cars you may be happier with one of the others that offers a larger rear seat, or better fuel economy. However, Fiat is very competitive with even the more expensive MINI and Beetle. It fits between those and the smaller most economical options.

Recognized Competition:

Fiat 500 Abarth Hatchback $22,000, Chevrolet Aveo $12,000, Chevrolet Spark $12,000, Ford Fiesta $14,000, Honda Fit $20,000, Hyundai Accent $15,000, Kia Rio $17,000, Mazda 2 $15,000, MINI Roadster $27,000, Nissan Versa $15,000, Scion iQ $15,000, Smart fortwo $15,000, Toyota Yaris $14,000, Volkswagen Beetle $28,000.

Good News:

Fast turbo power that adds 60 hp to the standard 500 engine, great commuter with good fuel economy, unless you push the performance side

Bad News:

Almost useless visors for the side since they don’t extend. If you opt for the Nav system, it is a TomTom that is removable from the mounting on the dash. I noticed it did not make continuous connection and it needs some attention by Fiat.

Standard Equipment:

1.4 liter turbocharged 4 cylinder 160 horsepower engine, 5-speed Manual transmission, performance leather high back bucket seats, electronic stability control, front, side and side curtain front and rear airbags, driver knee airbag, LATCH system, 4-wheel ABS performance disc brakes, hill start assist, remote keyless entry, cruise control, power windows and locks, engine immobilizer, tire pressure monitor, rear window defroster, variable intermittent wipers, turbo boost gauge, performance tuned suspension, dual Intercoolers, air conditioning, driver memory seat, rear 50/50 split fold down seat, Bose premium Audio with CD/MP3, Bluetooth with USB port, aux audio input jack, steering wheel mounted audio controls etc., tilt steering column, Abarth Performance leather wrapped steering wheel and shift knob, information center, 16” aluminum wheels, spoiler, fog lights.

Gas Stats:

$4.03/ Gal avg. Sept. 7, 2012


For more information.

28 City and 34 Highway MPG


MSRP $22,000.


Your comments are welcomed. My e-mail is joe@atthewheel.com

Copyright © 2012 – An Automotive Love Affair 

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