2019 Fiat 500 Abarth Driven
The reborn, retro-chic, Fiat 500 first graced North American shores back in 2011 and now, eight years down the line, we got behind the wheel of the peppy Abarth version to get one final sting from the scorpion as the entire 500 range is being discontinued by Fiat-Chrysler. Prepare for some top-down driving as we assess whether we’ll miss the 500 for what it is or for its vibe akin to an endless summer holiday in the rolling hills of Tuscany.
The Fiat 500 L is classified as a Compact MPV – Minivan, as we know the term here in the United States – but it’s really more of a compact SUV or large hatchback. It’s been on the global market since 2012, but Fiat didn’t bring it to the states until the 2014 model year. It’s been on the market ever since, and was updated in 2018, but the truth of the matter is that the 500 L is still nearly eight years old. With this in mind, we’re kind of curious if the city car on steroids – remember, it’s based on the 500 city car – is still a viable choice in today’s market.
So, we spoke with our press fleet coordinator and managed to get our hands on a 2019 Fiat 500 L. A couple of weeks later, a 2019 Fiat 500 L Trekking showed up at Top Speed headquarters. This trim level sits above the entry-level Pop trim, but below the upper-class Urbana and Lounge trim levels with a starting price of $23,575. It is certainly positioned right in the middle of the affordable price bracket, but how does it drive? Is the aging 500 L comfortable and up to par with the competition? Does it provide the same thrills and entertaining experience as the smaller 500 that it’s based on? Well, after spending a week with the 2019 Fiat 500 L, we have answers to these questions and more – this is our story.
2019 Fiat 124 Abarth and 500 Abarth
2019 Fiat Centoventi Concept
For its 120th birthday, Fiat went to the 2019 Geneva Motor Show to present a concept car, except it’s really not a concept car. It’s called the Centoventi Concept, which literally translates to “one hundred and twenty” in our language. It’s not the most creative concept name in the world, but it’ll do, especially when you begin to understand what it’s really all about. Fiat’s press release calls the Centoventi Concept a vehicle that “perfectly expresses the Italian brand’s idea of electric mass mobility in the near future.” What that phrase doesn’t tell you is that the Centoventi Concept is a lot more than just a representation of Fiat’s vision for its future electric. The concept is also a blank canvas that invites user customization. It’s a design-your-own ride that lets you personalize the car’s design from the ground up. Future urban mobility? Sure, the concept is that, too. But it’s really a modular platform for creativity. The Centoventi Concept doesn’t really have a “look,” in large part because that “look” will depend on how you design it.
2019 Abarth 595 Esseesse
Fiat will launch a new performance flagship model for the 500 range in the form of the new, 2019 Abarth 595 esseesse that’s set to debut at the 2019 Geneva motor show. The Italian brand is also not only celebrating its 120th anniversary this year but the 70th anniversary of Abarth too, hence why it’s bringing this 500 and a limited series version of the Abarth 124 roadster to the auto show.
2019 Abarth 124 Rally Tribute
Abarth is headed to 2019 Geneva Motor Show with a spicy special edition sports car that pays tribute to the Abarth 124 Rally racer that triumphed in the 2018 FIA R-GT Cup. The special edition 124 Spider is appropriately called the Rally Tribute Special Edition, and it packs a collection of exclusive features that celebrates its status as a tribute car to the rally racer that, in addition to winning the R-GT Cup, also collected 40 class victories in the 12 national championships in which it competed. Only 124 units of the Abarth 124 Rally Tribute will be made. Pricing and allocation details haven’t been announced, but expect the special edition 124 to fetch north of $30,000 on account of the base Abarth 124 that starts at $28,295.
Fiat didn’t really want to make the 500e, but it was forced by emissions regulations to add a full EV to its lineup, which it reluctantly did back in 2013. The vehicle itself wasn’t received particularly well at the time, being criticized for its limited range and availability, as well as its high price - it can only be ordered in the states of California and Oregon, although there are plenty you can now buy second hand wherever you live, even in Europe where it was never intended to be sold.
Believe it or not, the 500e is still on sale and has gone essentially unchanged for the last six years, but it’s never really been that popular, an issue with which it hasn’t been helped by the constant introduction of new and better EVs. But, the 500e is not all bad, thanks to its instantly recognizable styling, peppy performance, and decent usability if you’re buying it exclusively for short journeys not too far away from a charging point.
2019 Fiat 500X
Fiat has revealed its revised 500X crossover which has been nipped and tucked for the first time since its 2014 European debut (in the US for the 2016 model year it was launched). It comes with a refreshed exterior with new front and rear light clusters, more tech, and improved engines.
Update 12/12/2018: We’ve updated this review with images taken at the 2018 Los Angeles Auto Show. Check them out in our gallery below!
2018 Fiat 500 1957 Edition
Fans of the Fiat 500 can’t seem to get enough of the 500 1957 Edition, so much so that the Italian automaker is rolling out a new version of the special edition model. The “new” 500 1957 Edition arrives this fall at a starting price of $20,740. There’s no stated cap on the model’s volume, but the package is available on hardtop and convertible versions of the 500.
2018 Fiat 500L S-Design
Fiat adds another name to its line of S-Design models, this time the family-friendly 500L. Based on the crossover-inspired 500L Cross, the aim of the S-Design version is to inject some extra style into the package, like it’s already done with the Tipo, 500X and 124 Spider.
2018 Fiat 500 Spiaggina by Garage Italia and Pinninfarina
Marking the 60th anniversary since the unveiling of the first special edition car based on the model 500 - the 500 Jolly, known as "Spiaggina," Fiat showcased their new limited edition of the latest Fiat 500. Called the Fiat 500 Spiaggina ’58, the new model is limited to 1958 units. A number which is an homage to the year Fiat showcased the original 500 Jolly, a car adored by rich and famous of the time.
However, apart from Fiat showcasing a rather cool Spiaggina ‘58 production model based on the 500C with a 1.2-liter, 69 horsepower engine, Garage Italia and Pininfarina prepared their own celebration model. It is a better one.
By the time you read this review, spring may very well have sprung for most of the Northern Hemisphere. There may be no better cure for cabin fever than the 2018 Fiat 124 Spider Abarth.
Based upon and built in the same factory with the Mazda MX-5 Miata, the so-called “Fiata” is at its best in Abarth form, with a tiny bump in horsepower accompanying a sharpened chassis and better-sounding exhaust. Like most Fiats I have driven, the 124 Spider Abarth brings to mind two other F-words: frugal and fun
2018 Fiat 500 Urbana Edition
Originally introduced in 1957, the Fiat 500 remained in production for nearly 20 years, during which it became one of the most iconic vehicles in history. The nameplate was revived in 2007 as a competitor for the modern Volkswagen Beetle and Mini Cooper and was received with great enthusiasm. However, Fiat didn’t do much to upgrade it over the last 11 years, with only two minor facelifts launched as of 2018. The latest update was unveiled at the 2018 Chicago Auto Show, where Fiat also brought the turbocharged 1.4-liter engine back to the U.S. in a non-Abarth model. Two months later and the Italian brand launched a new special edition model called the Urbana Edition.
It’s become quite common for automakers to add special edition models when their facelifts aren’t very consistent, and this is exactly what the Urbana Edition is all about. With add-ons that include black trim, new wheels, and a limited color palette, the Urbana Edition was designed to keep things interesting for a vehicle that’s getting a bit long in the tooth. The 500 is not alone in this though, as both the 500L and 500X received identical packages. The 500 Urbana Edition will become available this spring.
Continue reading to learn more about the Fiat 500 Urbana Edition.
2018 Fiat 124 Spider S-Design
Revived in 2016, 50 years after its iconic predecessor first hit the streets, the Fiat 124 Spider was the first compact to challenge the popular Mazda MX-5 Miata after many years. Ironically, the Italian roadster sits on the same underpinnings as the Miata, as Mazda and FCA co-developed most of the chassis. But the 124 Spider received its very own styling — some say that it looks more elegant than the Miata — and borrowed its engines from other Fiat models. And unlike the Mazda, it uses turbocharged units too. With less than two years on the market, the 124 Spider lineup has already expanded to include various trims, an Abarth model, and even a racing version. At the 2018 Geneva Motor Show, Fiat launched yet another variant, the 124 Spider S-Design.
If you’re tempted to think about Audi S-Line models, you’re not doing it wrong. The S-Design package is somewhat similar, adding extra features inside and out. The exterior is slightly sportier and boasts an exclusive set of wheels, while the cabin gets extra standard equipment that enhances luxury and comfort. Was another package necessary with so many trims and special-edition versions already available? Not exactly, but this is what keeps the market going and the customers coming into dealerships. Let’s find out more about the S-Design upgrade below.
Continue reading to learn more about the Fiat 124 Spider S-Design.
2018 Fiat 500 Abarth
Without a doubt, the Fiat 500 is an absolutely iconic automobile. First rolling off the production line way back in 1957, this tiny little go-getter found owners across Italy, eventually selling nearly 4 million units by the time it was discontinued in 1975. In 2007, Fiat Chrysler Automobiles reintroduced the nameplate as a modern front-engine, FWD city car, infusing it with as much charm and fun as possible in an attempt to rekindle the old Cinquecento flame. Although bigger and heavier than those first 500’s, the new model managed to offer some real smiles behind the wheel, especially with the go-faster Abarth versions. Taking cues from the old school sport models, the new 500 Abarth gets more power, firmer suspension, and nippier steering, not to mention every aesthetic performance nod possible in such a small package. Fast forward to today, and the entire Fiat 500 lineup was upgraded for the 2018 model year with a turbo engine and a new look, but the fastest and most aggressive of the bunch remains the Abarth model. Upgrades over the normal 500 once again include all the right stuff – big wheels, big brakes, hard suspension, and more power, not to mention the requisite go-faster stripes in the flanks.
All told, the Fiat 500 remains a quirky and fun little city car with a decent splash of performance, a modern take on a classic micro machine. However, with so many other killer hot hatches on the market, such as the Ford Fiesta ST and Mini Cooper S, can the 500 Abarth keep pace, or has the scorpion lost some of its sting?
Continue reading to learn more about the 2018 Fiat 500 Abarth.