The FREE Complete Bay Area Auto Enthusiast Guide

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.

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
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