Abarth 595 - Small but Powerful

The Abarth 595 is a small but surprisingly powerful city car, which has a sting in its tail, just like the scorpion on its badge. The Abarth pocket-rocket is not only fast and nippy around town, but it looks sporty and aggressive. It may be a 3-door hatchback but don't let its small demeanour fool you, the Abarth 595 is big on performance.

The Abarth 595 was initially launched in 2008 as a performance-tuned version of the Fiat 500 and was named the Abarth 500. Over the years Abarth has tweaked and modified the 500, mainly aesthetically, and changed the model name from Abarth 500 to the current Abarth 595. The Abarth 595 was one of the first small city cars to be performance-tuned with others following, such as the Volkswagen Up GTI, Renault Twingo GT and Suzuki Swift Sport.

Abarth-595-front-sideview

There are five trim levels to choose from when selecting the current Abarth 595, 595, 595 Pista, 595 Turismo, 595 Competizione and 595 Esseesse. All Abarth 595 models share the same 1.4-litre T-Jet turbocharged petrol engine, with various power outputs depending on the model selected. There is also a soft-top convertible model available with the same engines and trim levels, named the Abarth 595C.

Continue reading the yoauto review to help you decide if the Abarth 595 is the right car for you. If the 595 does not tick all of your boxes, then don't forget to visit our Used Car Buying page, where you will find thousands of cars available across the UK at excellent prices.

Engines, Power and Performance

The Abarth 595 is powered by a 1.4-litre turbocharged engine which is tweaked to give it more or less power depending on the version chosen. With the Abarth 595 being a small city car, it's lightweight, coming in at around 1000kg, making it not only fast but also fuel-efficient and economical.

All Abarth 595 models are fitted with front-wheel-drive (FWD); however, Abarth has included an intelligent feature called Torque Transfer Control (TTC). The TTC automatically adjusts the brake pressure to allow the 595 to drive and accelerate through a corner at greater speed, without losing traction and control.

Abarth-595-wheel

The engine in the base model 595 gets 145hp and 206Nm of torque, capable of a top speed of 130mph and a 0-62mph sprint of 7.8secs, when using the five-speed manual transmission and 8secs with the optional automatic transmission.

The mid-range models (Pista and Turismo) get slightly more power with 165hp and 230Nm of torque. The 595 will now hit 0-62mpg in 7.3secs with the manual transmission and 7.4secs using the automatic.

The top-spec Competizione and Esseesse models receive the most tuned version of the 1.4-litre engine, with 180hp and 250Nm of torque. The manual model will hit 0-62mph in 6.7secs, while the automatic achieves the same feat in 6.9secs, and both will climb to a top speed of 140mph.

The two top models are both fitted with upgraded suspension and brakes, along with a limited-slip differential to enhance grip and traction, ideal when attacking corners at high speeds.

Interior, Quality and Technology

The interior of the Abarth is similar in layout to the standard Fiat 500, from which it is based. Where it differs is in the fine details and trim pieces, which make it stand out and look like a real performance car - all sporty and youthful.

The entry-level Abarth 595 gets a decent amount of kit as standard including; a 5-inch colour touchscreen to access the infotainment system with Bluetooth connectivity, DAB radio, a leather-wrapped steering wheel and a 7-inch TFT colour digital instrument display cluster.

Abarth-595-interior

All other 595 models get a larger 7-inch colour touchscreen, smartphone mirroring with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, while Turismo models and above get built-in sat-nav as standard.

The seats are comfortable and supportive with a variety of adjustments allowing for a pleasurable driving experience. The main niggle is the height of the front seats, which feel a fraction too high for a performance, hot, city car where you would expect to be lower to the ground like in a sports car.

Not only does the Abarth look mean and menacing from the outside, but the interior enhances the appeal further, with optional colour stitching, soft-touch plastics and carbon fibre effect inserts. The addition of a lap counter on specific models is also a cool addition, especially for those who are likely to take their Abarth onto a track to put it through its paces.

Space, Practicality and Safety

Although the Abarth 595 is a small city car, it is surprisingly spacious inside and can accommodate up to four adults. In the front, driver and passenger will find lots of legroom, and even with the high seat position, there is still plenty of headroom on offer unless you are well over 6ft tall.

Abarth-595-front-seats

Once you've struggled to get into the rear, due to the 595 only being available in 3-door body style, there is plenty of legroom, although minimal headroom. It's fine for short journeys, but anything longer and the Abarth is more suited to a couple of small children.

There are a few useful storage compartments to be found, such as a couple of cupholders, glovebox and door pockets. The boot is not the largest in its class, with a capacity of just 185-litres although this will rise to 550-litres with the rear seats folded down, enough to fit a small piece of furniture or camping equipment for two.

Abarth-595-maximum-boot-capacity

The Abarth 595 hasn't been safety tested yet, but the Fiat 500 from which the majority is based, achieved 5-stars from Euro NCAP. It would be safe to assume the Abarth would score just as well given the extra safety features and upgraded brakes.

The Abarth comes with various safety features as standard which include; multiple airbags, rear parking sensors and electronic stability control (ESC).

The Abarth 595 is a fun and trendy performance city car, which delivers driver thrills and excitement in abundance and is sure to get your heart racing. If you're after a city car with hot hatchback performance, then the 595 could be the car for you.

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Stuart Porro

Stuart is a nationally and internationally recognised automotive content creator. Reviewing cars for some of the biggest names in the four wheeled world, you can catch him right here on Yoauto.
  • Kent