Thursday, April 24, 2014
YOLO COUNTY NEWS
99 CENTS

Fiat 500 Abarth Cabrio is a hard charger

By
From page A14 | June 28, 2013 | 1 Comment

The Associated Press

Introduced this year in time for warm weather stateside, the 2013 Fiat 500 Abarth Cabrio is a fun little car for hard-charging drivers.

They better be drivers who don’t mind getting stares and comments from passersby.

You see, at 12 feet in overall length, Fiat’s 500 Cabrio performance model is a cocky, yet cute bug of a car that’s 13 inches shorter from bumper to bumper than the already diminutive, 2013 Mazda MX-5 Miata.

2013 Fiat 500 Abarth Cabrio

Base price: $22,000 for Abarth; $26,000 for Cabrio

Price as tested: $31,600

Type: Front-engine, front-wheel drive, four-passenger, minicompact convertible

Engine: 1.4-liter, single overhead cam, turbocharged and intercooled MultiAir, inline four cylinder

Mileage: 28 mpg (city), 34 mpg (highway)

Top speed: 129 mph

Length: 144.4 inches

Wheelbase: 90.6 inches

Curb weight: 2,545 pounds

Built at: Toluca, Mexico

Options: Forged aluminum, 17-inch, Hyper Black wheels $1,300; leather-trimmed performance bucket seats $1,100; Beats premium audio $800; comfort/convenience group (includes Sirius XM satellite radio with one-year subscription, heated front seats, air conditioning with automatic climate control) $650; TomTom navigation system $600; black mirror caps $450

Destination charge: $700

At just 2,545 pounds, the Abarth Cabrio also is nearly 200 pounds lighter than a 2013 Mini Cooper Convertible.

And, with a 160-horsepower, turbocharged four cylinder making 170 foot-pounds of grunt, or torque for the Abarth Cabrio with standard sport-tuned suspension, low-to-the-ground stance and raucous, burbly exhaust sounds, this car can feel like it’s going faster than it is.

By the way, this is before the Cabrio’s power-operated, fabric top is open, allowing the exhaust sounds to become even louder in the passenger compartment.

The Abarth Cabrio’s fuel economy is noteworthy, too. Combined city/highway rating of 31 miles per gallon by the federal government tops both the 24 mpg for the 2013 Miata and the 29 mpg and 30 mpg for the base, 2013 Mini Cooper Convertible and uplevel Cooper S Convertible, respectively. All numbers are for manual transmissions. The Abarth Carbrio is not available with an automatic.

But, this front-wheel drive Italian Fiat that comes out of a Mexican assembly plant isn’t cheap.

Starting manufacturer’s suggested retail price, including destination charge, for the convertible Abarth is $26,700. This is $6,500 more than that for a base, 2013 Fiat 500 convertible with 135-horsepower four cylinder.

It’s also more than the starting MSRP, including destination charge, of $25,945 for a 2013 Mini Cooper Convertible with 121 horsepower and 114 foot-pounds of torque and the $24,515 starting retail price for a Miata with 167 horsepower and 140 foot-pounds of torque.

Still, when engine performance and stout handling are factored in, the Abarth Cabrio’s starting price seems more reasonable. Consider that a 2013 Mini Cooper S Convertible, with 181-horsepower, turbo four cylinder, has a starting retail price of $28,945.

Fiat, which is majority owner of America’s Chrysler Group LLC, introduced its performance Abarth here on a 2012 Fiat 500 hatchback more than a year ago.

The Abarth Cabrio followed in 2013 to become the Fiat 500 with the highest starting retail price and the most boisterous and playful attitude.

Family and onlookers at first couldn’t get over how small the car was, with one Hummer driver referring to it as a “helmet.”

Plenty of sport utility vehicle drivers, particularly on highways, took time to stare, too.

But it’s the taut handling and spirited driving that makes the Abarth stand out.

The test car responded readily, but without being twitchy, to steering inputs and moved with amazing agility around traffic, through city alleys, into parking spots and on curvy roads.

Because the Abarth Cabrio is a bit tall — nearly 5 feet — for its overall length, there can be a sense of tippiness in turns and aggressive curves. But the test car, with optional 17-inch tires, hung on and kept its line as it blasted through curves.

The Abarth Cabrio still is quite low to the pavement when compared with a van or SUV. At one point, the test car was behind a school bus, and the driver’s eye was at the same height as the exhaust pipe of the bus.

Note that the Mini Cooper S is 4 feet 7.7 inches tall, while the low-slung Miata is just 4 feet 1.

Everyone inside the Abarth Cabrio feels the road intimately. Even on smooth-looking pavement, there were vibrations pretty much all the time for passengers in the test car. It was worse on patched and rough pavement, where the ride was downright jolting and jarring, and the short wheelbase sometimes made for a choppy ride.

Thankfully, the test car’s low-profile tires didn’t suffer any flats from some major potholes.

The ride also was loud, and the driver often had to adjust the volume of the radio.

There was turbo lag at times from the 1.4-liter, turbocharged, MultiAir four cylinder, but the driver can maximize performance with smart shifts of the five-speed manual. No six speed is offered.

Peak torque of 170 foot-pounds comes on starting at 2,500 rpm and continues to 4,000 rpm. This contrasts with the 177 foot-pounds of peak torque that arrives by 1,600 rpm in the Mini Cooper S Convertible.

Premium gasoline is recommended in the Abarth Cabrio to get top performance, but regular is OK, too. Still, the Abarth Cabrio’s gas tank holds just 10.5 gallons, so the travel range is about 325 combined city/highway miles. In comparison, the Mini Cooper S Convertible’s tank holds 13.2 gallons.

The test car’s optional performance seats were a thick, cushioned surprise and a welcome addition, given all the jolts and jarring that came through from the road.

Front passengers enjoyed nearly 41 inches of legroom, but the top of the head of a 6-footer protruded from the cabrio opening. Back seat legroom of 31.7 inches is decent, considering the Mini Convertible has just 28.5 inches.

Push a button and the top opens — either for a sunroof style or a full cabrio, with the fabric folded down by the rear spoiler and spoiling rear views.

The Fiat’s TomTom navigation system, while removable and stowable, blocks views out the windshield and has smallish buttons. The radio, too, seemed clunky to use.

While fit and finish looked good on the test car, one slight hit on a wheel well by a neighboring car door took a chip of paint off.

LEAVE A COMMENT

Discussion | 1 comment

The Davis Enterprise does not necessarily condone the comments here, nor does it review every post. Read our full policy

  • charlesJuly 01, 2013 - 3:36 pm

    I HAVE THE HARD TOP VERSION ABARTH,AND THIS CAR IS JUST AWESOME.I HAVE LOWERED MINE EVEN LOWER,AND THE HANDLING IS AWESOME.THE MINI BRZ SION HYUNDAI FORD FIESTA NEVER EVEN CROSSED MY MINE.THIS CAR HAS LOOKS,ATTITUDE,SPEED AND ITALIAN FLAIR.

    Reply | Report abusive comment
.

News

Will city move forward on public power review?

By Dave Ryan | From Page: A1

 
 
4-H members get ready for Spring Show

By Anne Ternus-Bellamy | From Page: A1 | Gallery

 
Obama to Russia: More sanctions are ‘teed up’

By The Associated Press | From Page: A2, 3 Comments

 
2 pursuits, 2 arrests keep Woodland officers busy

By Lauren Keene | From Page: A2

 
 
Conference puts focus on Arab studies

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

 
Youth sports in focus on radio program

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

Rummage sale will benefit preschool

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

 
Concert benefits South Korea exchange

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

Davis honors ‘green’ citizens

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A5

 
Water rate assistance bill advances

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A5

Program explores STEM careers for girls

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A5, 4 Comments

 
Embroiderers plan a hands-on project

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A5

Central Park Gardens to host Volunteer Orientation Day

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A5 | Gallery

 
Volkssporting Club plans North Davis walks

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A5

Hotel/conference center info meeting set

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A5

 
MOMS Club plans open house

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A7

 
Cycle de Mayo benefits Center for Families

By Anne Ternus-Bellamy | From Page: A8

Author to read ‘The Cat Who Chose to Dream’

By Anne Ternus-Bellamy | From Page: A12

 
.

Forum

Things are turning sour

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: B5

 
Tom Meyer cartoon

By Debbie Davis | From Page: A6

The high cost of employment

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A6, 1 Comment

 
High-five to Union Bank

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A6

Broken sprinklers waste water

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A6

 
Three more administrators?

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A6

Neustadt has experience for the job

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A6

 
Here’s a plan to save big on employee costs

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A6, 4 Comments

Davis is fair, thoughtful

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A6

 
Ortiz is the right choice for Yolo

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A6

.

Sports

DHS tracksters sweep another DVC meet

By Enterprise staff | From Page: B1 | Gallery

 
Another DVC blowout for DHS girls soccer

By Evan Ream | From Page: B1, 2 Comments | Gallery

Young reinvents his game to help Aggies improve on the diamond

By Bruce Gallaudet | From Page: B1 | Gallery

 
DHS boys shuffle the deck to beat Cards

By Thomas Oide | From Page: B1 | Gallery

DHS/Franklin II is a close loss for Devil softballers

By Enterprise staff | From Page: B1

 
Baseball roundup: Giants slam Rockies in the 11th

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
UCD roundup: Aggies lose a softball game at Pacific

By Enterprise staff | From Page: B3

Jahn jumps to Sacramento Republic FC

By Evan Ream | From Page: B8

 
.

Features

.

Arts

 
Bach Soloists wrap up season on April 28

By Jeff Hudson | From Page: A11

Congressional art competition open to high school students

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A11

 
Emerson, Da Vinci to present ‘Once Upon a Mattress’

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A11

 
Winters Plein Air Festival begins Friday

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A11

 
.

Business

.

Obituaries

.

Comics

Comics: Thursday, April 24, 2014

By Creator | From Page: B6