£17,980 - £24,630 Price range
40 - 42 MPG
The Abarth 595C is a cute-looking convertible that’s fast and lots of fun to drive. Tight rear seats mean it’s not much more practical than a two-seater, and the boot’s small
If you’re looking for a small convertible that oozes cool and is barrel-loads of fun then the Abarth 595C just might be the car for you.
As with the Mini Convertible, the 595C hopes to lure you in with its retro good looks and you can stamp your identity on the car thanks to a range of two-tone colour options, stickers and alloy wheels.
That retro theme continues on the inside. The Fiat doesn’t feel quite as well-built as the Mini and its seven-inch infotainment screen is a pig to use (and not much better to look at) but the round metal gear knob, sporty rev-counter and huge speedometer are cool enough to help you forget some of the 595C’s foibles.
Not all of them though, and the fact that the 595C’s steering wheel doesn’t adjust for reach means that if you’re tall (or just have long legs) you’ll have to sit further from the steering wheel than feels comfortable.
At least you can seek solace in the fact that whoever’s in the back will be having an even worse time – the rear seat is only fit for very small kids and the boot is also tiny, so you can forget about this being a sensible family car.
But it is lots of fun, and that’s obvious the minute you turn the key and hear the gurgle of the 595C’s sporty exhaust reverberating off walls and buildings when you’ve got the roof down. There are two 1.4-litre models to choose from – the 165hp Turismo or the 180hp Competizione – and both feel quick for this size of car.
It’s no motorway cruiser though, there’s a fair bit of wind and road noise, the suspension bounces down the road like a startled kangaroo with a rocket up its bottom and the lack of a sixth gear means there’s a fair amount of engine noise past the legal limit.
Find yourself on a twisty country road however, and it all starts to make sense. The firm suspension means the 595C darts around corners without leaning over, the gearshift has a mechanical, sporty feel and the steering that’s heavy in town gives you lots of confidence when you’re going around bends fast. Factor in the growls and splutters from the exhaust and it’s easy to imagine you’re driving a tiny Ferrari and not a relatively humble city car.
And that’s centre to the Abarth’s appeal. It makes no sense if you have kids or need a big boot, but if you want an affordable car that’ll make you feel happy every time you use it, the 595C’s reasonable price and cheap running costs make it an ideal candidate.