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    1. Geriatric Member ValveCoverGasket's Avatar
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      07-25-2018 05:29 PM #1
      in our quest to consolidate the fleet this, im looking at some newer car options.
      and with sergios untimely passing in the news i was reminded of how awesome the 500 abarth sounds...
      i know almost nothing about them other than that intoxicating exhaust note, but have ridden in a regular 500.

      i wouldnt have paid new-money for one, but couple year old abarths appear to have comical levels of depreciation.
      also my quick googling of buyers guides, jalopderp, abarth forums, etc doesnt seem to have produced any glaring issues.

      side skirts not staying glued on is kind of funny in a cheap italian sort of way, but other than that is there any reason not to consider one of these for the money?

      im seeing some 2015s and 2016s for $11-13k with relatively few miles.


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    3. 07-25-2018 05:32 PM #2
      I know everyone here hates Doug Demuro, but he actually did a pretty good job on this segment and it's right up your alley.


    4. Member Volkl's Avatar
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      07-25-2018 05:56 PM #3
      I've come very close to buying one twice now.

      I love the sound, love the quirkiness, and they are a hoot to drive.

      The biggest problem the Abarth has is the Fiesta ST exists, and its better in almost every category but exhaust note.

    5. Member Volkl's Avatar
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      07-25-2018 06:08 PM #4
      They come in some of the best colors, if you can find one.

      My 2 favorites are probably

      Grigio Cerne:



      And Rhino



      Though I kind of like Celeste Blu too


    6. Geriatric Member ValveCoverGasket's Avatar
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      07-25-2018 06:10 PM #5
      Quote Originally Posted by Volkl View Post
      I've come very close to buying one twice now.

      I love the sound, love the quirkiness, and they are a hoot to drive.

      The biggest problem the Abarth has is the Fiesta ST exists, and its better in almost every category but exhaust note.

      They also appear to be around 50% more expensive... But that's a fair point
      I'll check out the Doug video. I'm not normally a huge fan but he's had a couple good ones

    7. Moderator Harv's Avatar
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      07-25-2018 06:54 PM #6
      Quality is not it's strong point.

    8. Senior Member VadGTI's Avatar
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      07-25-2018 07:00 PM #7
      Quote Originally Posted by Volkl View Post
      I've come very close to buying one twice now.

      I love the sound, love the quirkiness, and they are a hoot to drive.

      The biggest problem the Abarth has is the Fiesta ST exists, and its better in almost every category but exhaust note.
      Quote Originally Posted by ValveCoverGasket View Post
      They also appear to be around 50% more expensive...
      The bolded is correct. I've seen clean-title relatively-lowish-mileage early Abarths dipping below $7k. You're just not going to get a FiST for anywhere near that.

      Cheapest clean title Fiesta ST in SoCal is this 2014 at $12.8k with 60k miles:



      Cheapest clean-title Abarth is this 2013 for $7,500 with 72k miles:

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    9. Member Volkl's Avatar
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      07-25-2018 07:34 PM #8
      Quote Originally Posted by VadGTI View Post
      The bolded is correct. I've seen clean-title relatively-lowish-mileage early Abarths dipping below $7k. You're just not going to get a FiST for anywhere near that.

      Cheapest clean title Fiesta ST in SoCal is this 2014 at $12.8k with 60k miles:


      Cheapest clean-title Abarth is this 2013 for $7,500 with 72k miles:

      The OP was talking about newer ones in the $11-13K range, where you can find FiSTs. I haven't seen a refreshed Abarth with lowish miles drop below $10K yet. Yes, the FiST will likely have more miles, but it is still worth considering.

      $13.5K 50K miles:


      $13K 30K miles

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      07-25-2018 10:19 PM #9
      Do it!
      Savagegeese loves them, and they're the only other drivers I regularly see with grins as stupid as mine. They sound awesome and are silly and completely unserious. A FiST is absurdly awesome, but really only worth it if you plan to drive hard. For a runabout, the 500 Abarth has to be a hoot.

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      07-25-2018 10:48 PM #10
      As a previous Fiat owner, the "quality" for the 2015 I owned was not bad. Rotors replaced under 500 miles, then no issue and some days my phone did not want to link up. Anyone jumping into a 500 knows it is not competing with a GTI for build. A used Abarth look like great deals right now. If you are using for it around town, commutes up to 30 minutes on back roads it could be a great commuter car. Highways I didn't mind, but some people might be against the short wheelbase and susceptibility to winds. It was a fantastic city car that I miss dearly when I travel in now.

    12. Goes in two directions RAVatar's Avatar
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      07-26-2018 12:19 AM #11
      *ahem*

      What specifically would you like to know?
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    13. 07-26-2018 12:35 AM #12
      I have a regular 500 with 83,000 km on it, and it has been pretty good.

      If you look in Consumer Reports, clutch issues are probably responsible for a black mark under "powertrain". There was a design problem with the clutch linkage on the regular 500 but not the Abarth. There was a recall to fix this. Mine has been fixed. Abarths use a different clutch assembly which was not affected.

      There's probably another black mark under "body hardware". They have a reputation for breaking door handles. Hold the handle open and peer into the gap that it reveals, and observe the little pivot pin up near the front. Every few months, give that a squirt of something like Fluid Film so that it doesn't seize and subsequently break. Solved. (Lubricating latches, handles, and hinges should be something that you do every few months anyhow.) That reminds me, I should do mine tomorrow.

      Mine has a wonky outside temperature sensor, which I haven't really looked into getting fixed. It works most of the time. Every once in a while, and only when it's quite hot outside, it displays minus whatever and tells me that there might be ice on the road.

      Rear wheel bearings tend to go. My car was involved in a small collision that involved the right rear, and a few months later the right rear wheel bearing started making noise. Coincidence? Probably not. In any case, changing the rear wheel bearing is an easy 45 minute DIY job. Done.

      The Abarths tend to attract people who tinker and modify. I'm sure any reported engine, clutch, and transmission problems are in no way connected to people modifying and beating on their cars. No chance at all. (Hah!)

      Don't buy one if you need a functional back seat. For what I use the car for (commuting) ... I don't.

      Don't expect it to ride like a Cadillac, because it isn't a luxury barge. Don't expect it to corner like a Corvette, because it isn't a sports car. The journalists love complaining about this for some reason. It's fine for what it is - and the imperfections are part of what makes it enjoyable.

      I'm happy with it. I'd rather have this than a Yaris. (Yawn.) I'd rather have this than a Spark. (Yawn.)

    14. Member Car Problems's Avatar
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      07-26-2018 09:13 AM #13
      Ive always been interested in these but the plastic pt cruiser quality interior and tiny back seat/hatch area is a killer for me. A VW golf has more room than this thing.

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      07-26-2018 12:17 PM #14
      I've thought about getting an Abarth and removing the rear seat so it has good cargo space, but reliability stories scared me away. Really cool cars though, maybe I'll get one anyway at some point.

    16. Geriatric Member ValveCoverGasket's Avatar
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      07-26-2018 12:21 PM #15
      thanks for the detailed responses!

      im not hearing anything thats a huge surprise - theyre small inside, theyre mostly made of tupperware, etc.
      our city commuter right now is a spark ev, which isnt exactly an s-class competitor on the inside... so i think that transition will be fine.
      ive been in a regular 500 which i didnt find any more off putting inside than our spark.
      the doug video did point out some odd wear spots on the car he rented but maybe that was on account of that car being a rental. otherwise he didnt point to anything too scary!

      and it sounds like some of the common stuff is relatively minor or an easy DIY fix

      as to the fiesta st option, id rather not spend $15k if i can get more or less the same car for half that - even if it means getting an older abarth.

      which brings me to my next question -
      is there any compelling reason to get a '15 or a '16 v. a '13 or something early?
      i read the '12s were to be avoided, they didnt mention specifically why but assuming both cars have similar mileage is the 15/16 worth 5-6k more than a 13 for example?


      Quote Originally Posted by SAV912 View Post
      *ahem*

      What specifically would you like to know?
      assuming im aware of it being a small car built to a price, is there any reason to avoid these?

      also, whats a good forum to check out?
      i found the fiat500usa site but it doesnt seem to be super active.


      also, im not so hot on that factory stereo, if we can get something aftermarket that doesnt look too crazy, has bluetooth and keeps the stock abarth amp/sub intact, that would be great. im guessing this isnt any hard than any other chrysler product?

    17. Member r_fostoria's Avatar
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      07-26-2018 12:27 PM #16
      Quote Originally Posted by troyguitar View Post
      reliability stories scared me away.
      What is the story here? I hear people saying that Fiats are unreliable, but I have yet to see any specific examples. They don't seem to have any super common know problems like the Northstar headgaskets or BMW cooling systems. I had an Abarth 500 for a few months, but ended up getting rid of it for a variety of reasons. The car itself wasn't bad, but I just wasn't the right owner for one. The biggest problems I think were the seating position which is just too high (like, higher than normal cars. You sit above people in Corollas.) the ergonomics, and actually the size. I'm a single guy without and equipment heavy hobbies, but there were still a few occasions where I had to fold the seats down to fit a single box in the car. I like small cars, but the tiny hatch area size and the tall seating position really worked against it here. The thing that was 100% was the exhaust, though. There was literally never a situation in which that wasn't awesome.

    18. Geriatric Member ValveCoverGasket's Avatar
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      07-26-2018 12:35 PM #17
      Quote Originally Posted by r_fostoria View Post
      the thing that was 100% was the exhaust, though. There was literally never a situation in which that wasn't awesome.
      i had a neighbor in a building i used to live in that had a black abarth. we parked in the underground garage together and it was always a good day when i heard that thing fire up and drive off
      another one of the reasons im thinking this could be fun

      as you said, the forum i was able to find, and the buyers guides - mostly european - didnt really mention any engine issues. in fact i havent read anything about common engine issues on the abarth.
      and it sounds like they take rather well to tuning, though oftentimes a piggyback system due to the valve actuation.

    19. Member Cr4shT3st's Avatar
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      07-26-2018 12:39 PM #18
      super fun and a car that always makes you smile. It was a no-go for me as the sunroof-equipped model I tried had my head tilted and poking out of the open roof in order to drive it. Seating position was tall and upright, too. I liked the Fiesta a lot more.
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    20. Member r_fostoria's Avatar
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      07-26-2018 12:42 PM #19
      Quote Originally Posted by ValveCoverGasket View Post
      which brings me to my next question -
      is there any compelling reason to get a '15 or a '16 v. a '13 or something early?
      i read the '12s were to be avoided, they didnt mention specifically why but assuming both cars have similar mileage is the 15/16 worth 5-6k more than a 13 for example?
      My car was a '12 and it was fine. There were some parts that were unique to it being a first year car, but it was all inconsequential stuff like the seat slider levers and the carpeting material and some software changes like the shift light programming. My fancy audio was Bose branded instead of Beats. I forget the exact years ('15 I think), but at a certain point they replaced the real instrument cluster with a digital one (I like the real one better, although some folks complain about it being difficult to read. I never had a problem with it.) and then the following year they replaced the awful old radio with a much better touch screen unit (with a volume knob!) I remember trying to avoid the year that had both the bad radio and the bad instrument cluster. They also added an armrest to the passenger seat for '13 or '14. The updated radio cars also have some new wheel and color options, like that bitchin' blue color.



      Last edited by r_fostoria; 07-26-2018 at 12:52 PM.

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      07-26-2018 12:52 PM #20
      Quote Originally Posted by r_fostoria View Post
      What is the story here? I hear people saying that Fiats are unreliable, but I have yet to see any specific examples. They don't seem to have any super common know problems like the Northstar headgaskets or BMW cooling systems. I had an Abarth 500 for a few months, but ended up getting rid of it for a variety of reasons. The car itself wasn't bad, but I just wasn't the right owner for one. The biggest problems I think were the seating position which is just too high (like, higher than normal cars. You sit above people in Corollas.) the ergonomics, and actually the size. I'm a single guy without and equipment heavy hobbies, but there were still a few occasions where I had to fold the seats down to fit a single box in the car. I like small cars, but the tiny hatch area size and the tall seating position really worked against it here. The thing that was 100% was the exhaust, though. There was literally never a situation in which that wasn't awesome.
      Second-hand info but the 2 guys I know who had Abarths both had oil burning at very low mileage and a few other random issues. Boost codes that appeared and disappeared out of nowhere, occasional hiccups at high rpm, one of them had all of the speakers stop working for a week and then come back to life overnight, etc.

      Fun cars but they both sold them as they were afraid that little issues would eventually become big issues. The seating position is also weird as you said, it's like a minivan.

    22. Member TangoRed's Avatar
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      07-26-2018 12:57 PM #21
      Quote Originally Posted by Car Problems View Post
      Ive always been interested in these but the plastic pt cruiser quality interior and tiny back seat/hatch area is a killer for me. A VW golf has more room than this thing.
      Well duh a Golf has more room, it's over 20 inches longer.
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      07-26-2018 01:01 PM #22
      I had a '12 Abarth and loved it. With a clean title and good maintenance records, it is a hoot. However, as great a commuter as people will say it is, the suspension is STIFF. If you live in a city with potholed streets, it's a thinker.

      In the 6 years I had mine, the following happened:

      • Front control arms cracked ($$$)
      • Front CV joints worn out
      • Shifter linkage broke while driving
      • Alternator gave out without warning
      • Side skirt on the driver side came unglued while jacking up the car
      • Paint peel on the panel between sunroof and windshield (I put a 3M wrap)
      • Massive fade on the side decals (I removed them)
      • The rear logo decal chipped off
      • Paint chipped around the rear chrome strip and started rusting quickly


      I also installed:
      • KYB rear shocks
      • H&R Sports all around
      • Madness Go Pedal
      • Eurocompulsion UniChip
      • Eurocompulsion V3 intake


      I loved it, it was fun, but it will keep reminding you that it's Italian

    24. Member DerSpiegel's Avatar
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      07-26-2018 01:15 PM #23
      Very fun, very Italian (quirky seating position, quirky controls), and our 2016 has been reliable so far aside from a bad O2 sensor and a minor oil leak.

      They are a zippy, frenetic ride; I love banging around in it for a week but then I'm ready to park it and drive the Jetta for a month.

      Sport mode adds @ 20bhp from the seat of the pants, and tightens up the steering. There is some active anti-tork steer software at work, otherwise it would dart around like a Saab Viggen with one drive shaft disconnected.

      Dash rattles and buzzes are no extra charge. We have two so far, one fixed by a wad of paper jammed in the right spot.
      Last edited by DerSpiegel; 07-26-2018 at 01:29 PM.

    25. Geriatric Member ValveCoverGasket's Avatar
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      07-26-2018 01:35 PM #24
      Quote Originally Posted by Johnny Blue View Post
      I had a '12 Abarth and loved it. With a clean title and good maintenance records, it is a hoot. However, as great a commuter as people will say it is, the suspension is STIFF. If you live in a city with potholed streets, it's a thinker.

      In the 6 years I had mine, the following happened:

      • Front control arms cracked ($$$)
      • Front CV joints worn out
      • Shifter linkage broke while driving
      • Alternator gave out without warning
      • Side skirt on the driver side came unglued while jacking up the car
      • Paint peel on the panel between sunroof and windshield (I put a 3M wrap)
      • Massive fade on the side decals (I removed them)
      • The rear logo decal chipped off
      • Paint chipped around the rear chrome strip and started rusting quickly


      I also installed:
      • KYB rear shocks
      • H&R Sports all around
      • Madness Go Pedal
      • Eurocompulsion UniChip
      • Eurocompulsion V3 intake


      I loved it, it was fun, but it will keep reminding you that it's Italian
      that really doesnt sound too terrible for a cheap small car

      after all those mods and tuning, what kind of mileage did you typically get on the open road?

      our commute is ideal for maximizing mpgs - lots of 50-60mph side roads with not a lot of stops for the most part, but curious if youre still able to get into the mid 30s with all that work done.


      will have to get out and test drive one soon but i think on paper anyway this seems like it could be a good fit. i didnt try driving the base 500 i was in, so i wonder how that seating position would translate to driving ergonomics.

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      07-26-2018 01:46 PM #25
      Mileage was great. It needs premium, but still ended up cheaper on gas than my Accord Sport 2.0T on regular (which itself gets good mileage). I would always shift at 4k rpm and above. Full boost is around 2800 rpm.

      Maintenance wise, it's not so bad but those control arms cost me a lot... to be fair, I went to the dealer for this

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