Abarth 595C Review 2024

Abarth 595C At A Glance

Honest John Overall Rating
The Abarth 595C brings fresh air to the already intoxicating mix of brisk performance and exciting looks that this pint-pot hot hatch delivers.

+Great handling. Zesty performance. Plenty of scope for personalisation.

-Bouncy ride. Semi-auto transmission isn't great in automatic mode. Poor rear visibility.

Insurance Groups are between 14–34
On average it achieves 84% of the official MPG figure

The Abarth 595C is an open-top hot hatch that is huge fun, but it can be quite bouncy, especially on anything less than a perfectly surfaced road. However, you’ll forgive it a lot for its looks, sound and zip compared with a broad spread of rivals that includes the MINI Convertible, the stylish DS3 Cabrio and even South Korea’s Hyundai i20 N. Read on for our full Abarth 595C review.

The Abarth 595C is simply an Abarth 595 fitted with the full length canvas electric sunroof of the Fiat 500C.

Since the Abarth brand reached the UK in 2008, it’s caught the imagination of drivers looking for something exclusive, stylish and sporty.

Sales of the original Abarth 500 and the Abarth Grande Punto exceeded the firm’s expectations, so introducing an Abarth version of the chic Fiat 500C was an obvious move, and it’s also popular as a used car.

Abarth re-engineered the standard Fiat 500C, giving it some unique features, great performance and a distinctively sporty style. It was powered by the same 1.4-litre turbocharged petrol engine as was in the Abarth 500, with output boosted by 5PS to 140PS.

The buzzy engine gives the Abarth 595C strong performance, and there is much to like about it, with a great exhaust note and plenty of low-down poke.

Of course, having the open-top car means you’re able to appreciate that racy sound even more. In summer, with the roof down, it’s a real feelgood car to travel in.

It’s not all show and no go, though. Along with the turbocharged performance, the Abarth 595C has re-tuned suspension to deliver agile and precise handling.

There’s also a system called Torque Transfer Control, which mimics a limited slip differential and endows the Abarth 595C with a sharpness in corners, helped by very little body roll.

Unusually, the Abarth 595C wasn’t immediately available with a manual gearbox. Instead it started off with a five-speed semi-automatic Competizione gearbox, which dispensed with the traditional gear lever and replaced it with buttons on the dash, along with gear shift paddles on the steering wheel.

The cabin of the Abarth 595C is as sporty as the outside with some unique features and a great hot hatch feel.

For those seeking the ultimate Abarth 595C, there’s also an optional esseesse pack which boosts engine power to 162PS, speeds up the automatic gearbox’s shift times and adds larger alloys.

Fancy a second opinion? Read heycar’s Abarth 595 review.

Ask Honest John

Which small petrol hatchbacks have a sunroof and navigation?

"I would like to buy a smallish petrol hatchback that has a sunroof and navigation, between 1 and 3 years old. What would you suggest?"
FIAT 500C, Citroen C1 1.2 Airscape, Peugeot 108 1.2 Airscape, Renault Twingo Colour Run.
Answered by Honest John

Best three-door warm hatch?

"My wife is considering replacing her 2002 Toyota Corolla T sport, which has provided outstandingly reliable and fun motoring from new. She only does 5000 miles a year and prefers the style and flexibility of a three-door hatchback, but requires a reasonable performance (0-60 in less than nine seconds) with sporty handling and a petrol engine. I know the Fiesta ST is the class leader but she definitely doesn't want a Ford. A MINI Cooper is her current favourite but is there anything to challenge it? What about options as a cabriolet?"
If she wants a cabrio that sort of size then the options are a blustery MINI Cooper or a cabrio where just the canvas top rolls back such as a Twingo, Citroen C1, Peugeot 108. Toyota Aygo, FIAT 500C, Abarth 500C or a DS3 cabrio. A Twingo GT with 110PS has just arrived, but the C1, 108 and Aygo don't have the performance she wants (they definitely would do if PSA put the 130PS 1.2 PureTech into them).
Answered by Honest John

Can you recommend a fun, stylish car for under £20,000?

"I wrote off my 9-year-old BMW 330i and am trying to decide what to replace it with. My husband is fixated on Mercedes-Benzs or BMWs and so I have considered a CLK. Part of me feels that I don't need something quite as flash (having got it out of my system), but I do want style and reliability. I even thought about a Cinquecento. Whatever I buy it will probably be about two years old. I have a budget of up to about £20,000. Any suggestions?"
A MINI convertible or a Fiat 500C TwinAir or Abarth 500C will be good fun. £20,000 also buys a Mazda MX-5 2.0i Sport, either a Roadster or Roadster Sport with an electric folding hard top. A Citroen DS3 1.6THP 156 cabrio is a decent drive (soft-top now available). So is a Peugeot 208GTI, and the stunning looking KIA Pro Cee’d GT at £19,995 with a 7-year warranty. But a new Fiesta ST is cheaper at £16,995 and generally reckoned to be the best of the bunch.
Answered by Honest John

Fiat 500C - which model?

"Which model Fiat 500C would you recommend? I would like one with a bit of go and an automatic gearbox. "
The automatic is a Dualogic automated manual - the worst type of 'automatic', but FIAT's is actually better than most and certainly better than Toyota's. I would stick to manual. But they did do a Dualogic of the Abarth 500C.
Answered by Honest John
More Questions

What does a Abarth 595C cost?