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Abarth 595 Review

Abarth 595
Abarth 595
Abarth 595
Abarth 595
Abarth 595
Abarth 595
Abarth 595
Abarth 595
Abarth 595
Abarth 595
Abarth 595

1/10

Abarth 595

2/10

Abarth 595

3/10

Abarth 595

4/10

Abarth 595

5/10

Abarth 595

6/10

Abarth 595

7/10

Abarth 595

8/10

Abarth 595

9/10

Abarth 595

10/10

1 / 10

heycar review

      Launch year
      2012
      Body type
      Hot hatch
      Fuel type
      Petrol
heycar editorial team

Written by

heycar editorial team

00/10
heycar rating
Feisty but flawed hot hatch

Best bits

  • Massive character
  • Looks
  • Faster models pack a big punch

Not so great

  • Rear seat space? Err…
  • Running costs
  • Feels very dated in every way

Read by

Abarth 595 Exterior front

Overall verdict

Abarth 595 Interior

On the inside

Abarth 595 Driving

Driving

Abarth 595 Side Picture

How much does it cost to run

Abarth 595 Seat

Prices, versions and specification

Overall verdict

"Long before Fiat launched its retro-cued 500 and turned up the wick with the Abarth models, fast and fun small cars were a relatively common sight on our roads. Most of the mainstream makers had a compact, lightweight pocket rocket ready to fire some excitement into your daily drive, yet by the time Abarth unveiled its first hotted-up modern 500 in 2008, the market had all but disappeared."

Abarth 595 Exterior front

This was good news for Abarth as it suddenly found itself with no natural rivals and a steady stream of willing buyers who wanted something almost ridiculously small and potent. No wonder Abarth’s badge features a scorpion as this car has plenty of sting in its tail. Well, front, actually, as the modern 500 models are front-engined and front-wheel drive rather than punting all of the oily bits at the back as the original 1950s machines did.


No matter, Abarth gave its baseline model an update in 2012 that turned it into the 595 and this was improved again in 2018. So, what we have now is a range that starts with the straight 595 in either hatch or Convertible forms with a turbocharged 1.4-litre four-cylinder engine producing 145PS. That’s a decent amount in a car this small and it sees the 595 from 0-62mph in a sprightly 7.8 seconds.


However, it’s not in Abarth’s nature to leave things at ‘sprightly’, so there are more potent versions of the 595, starting with the Pista. It has the power turned up to 165PS to knock half a second off the 0-62mph dash. There’s also the Turismo version with the same power unit but more luxury kit such as leather upholstery, climate control and rear parking sensors. Quite why you need these in a car as small as the 595 beats us, but there you go.


If you want the full-on Abarth 595 experience, you need the Competizione or Esseesse. They pack a whopping 180PS under the diminutive bonnet and whisk away 0-62mph in 6.7 seconds.


So, you can see the 595 may be small, but it offers a wide range of options to buyers even in the face of increased opposition from the like of the Volkswagen Up GTI and Renault Twingo GT.


There’s no doubt that both of these rivals are more sophisticated cars in most senses, but this is part of the appeal of the Abarth 595. It’s a raw little car that delivers a big hit of fun and driving thrills. You only need to hear the noise it makes when you turn the key to start the engine to know it’s a little bit special and, maybe, just a bit pazzo. After all, why have a pint-sized hot hatch if it’s not going to make you smile every time you get in it?


Of course, there are downsides such as the 595’s handling and ride both feeling quite dated next to newer rivals. The cabin is best described as for two with occasional rear seats, while even the entry-point model is not what you’d call cheap when you can have the far superior Ford Fiesta ST for the same money.


Ready to get your top quality Abarth 595?

  • All cars come with a warranty
  • Selected dealers only
  • All quality checked

Abarth 595

1.4 T-Jet 180 Competizione 3dr Auto

  • 2018
  • 14,083 miles
  • Rockingham Cars Abarth Corby
  • Northamptonshire, NN175DU
Price:£18,495
PCP: £282.03/mo

Representative example: Contract Length: 37 months, 36 Monthly Payments: £282.03, Customer Deposit: £2,774.00, Total Deposit: £2,774.25, Optional Final Payment: £8,433.63, Total Charge For Credit: £2,865.96, Total Amount Payable: £21,360.96, Representative APR: 7.9%, Interest Rate (Fixed): 4.07%, Excess Mileage Charge: 14.9ppm, Mileage Per Annum: 10,000

Abarth 595

1.4 T-Jet 145 3dr

  • 2018
  • 7,300 miles
  • Desmond Motors FordStore
  • Londonderry, BT487PU
Price:£12,199
HP: £335.90/mo

Representative example: Contract Length: 36 months, 34 Monthly Payments: £335.90, Customer Deposit: £1,829.00, Total Deposit: £1,829.85, Total Charge For Credit: £1,743.25, Total Amount Payable: £13,942.25, Representative APR: 10.9%, Interest Rate (Fixed): 5.54%

Is the Abarth 595 right for you?

Like so many Italian sporting cars, the Abarth 595 is a car that, if it needs explaining, is probably not for you. There’s little common sense attached to choosing this car as the cabin is cramped, it has high running costs and there are more able, sophisticated hot hatches out there for the same money or less depending on which version you choose.


Yet, and yet, the Abarth 595 holds a certain appeal. It’s the mouse that roars, a car that punches much higher above its weight in terms of fun and personality and kudos that draws in buyers. All of this comes down to the Abarth 595 being a car that makes you smile, so it’s little wonder that many of its owners also have many far more expensive and exotic cars alongside the 595 in their garages.


This is part of the joy of the 595 as you become part of a covert club. For some, that will be just as off-putting, but there are plenty of other hot hatches out there to pick from. The Abarth 595 may be flawed but that doesn’t necessarily detract from what makes it really rather special.


What’s the best Abarth 595 model/engine to choose?

Much as the sensible, rational decision here would be to opt for the least expensive model in the standard Abarth 595, we’re going to nail our colours to the mast and choose the all-out 595 Competizione.


This model is not quite as pricey as the Esseesse but it shares the same 180PS version of the 1.4-litre T-jet turbo petrol engine. As a result, you get all of the performance at a keener price and it also comes with the limited slip differential and superb sports front seats reserved for these two upper trims.


Choosing the Competizione also gains you improved rear suspension for better handling, bigger front brakes for sharper stopping power, and the Dual Mode Record Monza exhaust system with four tailpipes. In essence, this is the most outrageous version of the Abarth 595, so therefore the best.


What other cars are similar to the Abarth 595?

It’s not often the MINI Cooper S will be accused of being too big, but that’s the case when it’s compared to the Abarth 595. So, the only real rival to the Italian is the Volkswagen Up GTI. The Up is slower but no less fun to hustle down country lanes thanks to its willing engine and agile handling.


Others to look at in this little corner of the hot hatch market are the Renault Twingo GT and Suzuki Swift Sport. Neither matches the Abarth on pace or fun, so that leaves the Ford Fiesta ST as the only other credible rival at the same sort of price.


Learn more

Abarth 595 Interior

On the inside

Abarth 595 Driving

Driving

Abarth 595 Side Picture

How much does it cost to run

Abarth 595 Seat

Prices, versions and specification