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The Fiat 500 Abarth – An Italian Eye on Mini’s Market

Mini had a good run for a while in the stylish, hot, hatch market. With a level of cheekiness a Smart car couldn’t match but with the same flexibility and vim, they were everywhere from the city streets to movies. In 2007, this all changed with the relaunch of the Fiat 500 Abarth. Dashing, daring, nostalgic and Italian in its feistiness, the Abarth became a staple in music videos, and in the streets of Rome, London, and Paris. So why would I sell my car if it was a Fiat 500 Abarth. Here’s why.

Gorgeous but Fragile

The biggest complaint people are making about the Fiat 500 Abarth is that it just falls apart. This ranges from the trim to cheap plastic buttons that run the air conditioning and the radio.

Even the badges have a habit of disappearing on the road, as do the hubcaps. By far the most frustrating experience befalling the average Abarth owner is the door handles, which snap off randomly. I’d sell my car to the scrapyard as soon as these problems arise, as you won’t get much resale for it.

Electrical Faults

Leaving aside the iPod player that’s strangely incompatible with iPods, the biggest frustration is the army of warning lights that keep coming on and insisting you check the engine. There

usually isn’t anything wrong with the engine, but it can be disconcerting to have your Abarth disagree with you. Then there’s that endless problem with electric windows that go down, get lodged, and don’t want to go back up. Not dangerous but extremely frustrating.

Danger Signals

Perhaps this is Fiat being cheeky, but the clutch on the Abarth is a nightmare, and Fiat seem unprepared to admit it. It’s also extremely dangerous, as many drivers have found the clutch simply fails without warning. Adding to the clutch problems is the acceleration. Sometimes the Abarth takes off with a zap, the rest of time it crawls like a snail. This is a potential nightmare if you need to get away from a dangerous driver. Finally, there are too many blind spots in a Fiat 500 Abarth. If you like safety with your looks, you’re best to sell your car for scrap.

Looks aren’t enough, no matter how Italian you are. The Abarth fails in the reliability stakes, sometimes annoyingly but often dangerously. If you’ve had a good run with your Abarth, it won’t last.

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