Search
The FREE Complete Bay Area Auto Enthusiast Guide
FIAT ABARTH GETS ALL-NEW AUTO GEARBOX

By NITISH S. RELE - motoringtampabay@gmail.com
If you have always yearned for the Abarth trim but did not buy one because it lacked an automatic transmission, your prayers have been answered. The performance-oriented turbocharged and intercooled 2015 Fiat Abarth is equipped with an all-new 6-speed auto gearbox (additional $1,350). But the hatchback or convertible retains the 1.4-liter inline-4 cylinder engine packing 160 hp @ 5500 rpm and 170 pounds-feet of torque @ 2500 rpm. Switch to sport mode and you will get a firm grip and handling, thanks to specially tuned shock absorbers and springs.
The track-ready, front-wheel-drive car touts its familiar whiskers and the Fiat badge while surrounded by bi-halogen circular projector headlights and honeycomb grille. The all-new instrument panel now has a digital display for speedometer, fuel level, eco index and driver information center. Another useful feature is the circular turbo boost pressure gauge. Push a button and the power cloth top retracts up at speeds of up to 60 mph. Notable comforts include a flat-bottomed tilt steering column, aluminum pedals, leather instrument panel cluster and shifter, and a 50/50 fold-down second-row seat.
Standard safety features are dual front and side airbags, side curtain airbag, driver knee airbag, electronic stability and traction control, four-wheel antilock brakes, rear park and hill start assist, active front head restraints, remote keyless entry, tire pressure monitoring system and daytime running lights.
Base-priced at $26,395, the Abarth is nimble, cool, sporty and, of course, stylish on the cheeky side. But a word or two of caution. The rear seat is crammed for tall folks. And our fuel economy did not touch EPA estimates, which are 24 mpg city/32 highway and 27 combined. We averaged just 24 mpg in city/highway driving, a disappointment.

FIAT 500C ABARTH
Wheelbase: 90.6 inches
Length: 144.4 inches
Suspension: retuned MacPherson strut front; torsion-beam axle rear
Steering: electric power
Brakes: 11.1-inch front vented; 9.4-inch solid rear
Weight: 2,545 pounds
Fuel capacity: 10.5 gallons
Web site: www.fiatusa.com

CALLING ALL FIAT DEALERS IN THE WEST CENTRAL FLORIDA AREA: if you would like to be listed here as one of the test-drive dealerships, e-mail us at motoringtampabay@gmail.com