I started with a Fiat 500 Prima Edizione (think Sport) and promptly traded it in for an Abarth once they were available for order. My advice is get the Abarth. It is a completely different machine. Th...
I started with a Fiat 500 Prima Edizione (think Sport) and promptly traded it in for an Abarth once they were available for order. My advice is get the Abarth. It is a completely different machine. The power difference between the two cars is like night and day. I have 26,000 miles on my Abarth, so I think I have a good feel for the car and its reliability, Let's start with the tires. They come with performance tires that lasted about 25,000 miles before needing to be replaced. There are other good options for tires out there, so shop around. The engine and exhaust still sound amazing and perform very well. I have had to use the warranty to make two unexpected repairs. One was replacing a bearing in the steering column as there was a "knock" when I would turn the wheel. The second was a mysterious clutch pedal that would either stick to the floor or catch all over the place. It was very uncomfortable to drive the car like that, so I dropped it off at the dealership and they kept the car until they could find the problem. One week later and I had a new clutch master cylinder. The dealer said it was strange that it was faulty. Everything was fixed for free.
The ride in the Abarth is a bit choppy as the suspension is firmed up for handling. I wouldn't hold this against the car as it is pretty typical for sport-tuned vehicles. Inside can be a bit cramped. I am 6'1" tall, and fit - just. I would recommend that if you are over 6' tall, do not buy your car with a sunroof. It lowers the headliner about two inches.
I drove this car cross country during the summer of 2013. I left from California headed for Florida and then Massachusetts. I turned around for California one month later. I put almost 12,000 miles on the car that summer and I had no problems. I did meet a lot of people at various gas stations along the way asking about the car. I averaged about 30 mpg, although I must admit, I do drive with a heavy foot. Who wouldn't if you had this car?
Just recently, I had my car in the shop for 1 week, and by the time that week was almost over, I was telling everyone how much I missed my car. This car evokes something emotional in me that I doubt not many cars starting at $22,000 would be able to make the same claim. I could not hand over the keys to my rental soon enough.