Carlo Abarth was born in November under the Scorpio zodiac sign and when he founded the Abarth brand in 1949, he chose the scorpion as its logo. People born under the Scorpio sign are known for qualities such as determination, bravery, loyalty, and ambitiousness. These traits could also be used to describe the small, but mighty Abarth 595 Competizione.
Weighing in at just over a tonne and less than 3.7 metres long the Competizione is the literal definition of a pocket rocket. Powered by a 1.4 litre, in-line 4-cylinder, turbocharged petrol engine with 132kW of power and 250Nm of torque and this Abarth is capable of accelerating from 0-100km/h in 6.7 seconds and on to a maximum speed of 225km/h. On start-up the Abarth sounds more like a truck, thanks to the chunky bark from the Monza dual mode quad tip exhausts, announcing this scorpion has some sting in its tail.
I love the optional Rally Blue paint ($1,600) and the numerous scorpions that adorn the inside and out of the 595 Competizione as a visual reminder of the Scorpio qualities that the Abarth possesses. My 595 was fitted with the Premium Pack ($2,500) so came with Xenon headlights, sunroof and antenna with an Aluminium roof cap. Along with the Competizione Body Kit ($2,450) and the yellow Brembo brake calipers ($350), which finished off the sporty look of the Competizione nicely.
The 5-speed manual gearbox is piloted using the high-mounted gear stick with the beautiful to touch round top that moves with your palm as you change gears all while chasing the 6,500rpm red line on the digital driver’s dash and watching your turbo bar. There is some torque steer from the front wheel drive Abarth under hard acceleration though and in the wet I perceived a loss of traction from the front tyres between first and second gears.
The Abarth 595 is old school with a key that is inserted into the steering column and turned to poke this scorpion to life and the key also needs to be used to open the fuel cap as well. The pedal box is quite small and possibly better suited to the smaller frame of a woman? I liked that the clutch felt slightly heavy and that you get a manual handbrake too.
The electric power steering felt reassuringly weighty also when Sport mode was activated by pressing the Scorpion button on the dash. Sport mode also results in some more noise from the exhaust as you discover the dynamics of the 595 Competizione. My enthusiastic exploration meant that I used 8.5l/100km of premium petrol, with the official combined fuel economy being 6.0l/100km.
My little blue scorpion had the optional Sport Pack ($2,500) that includes the Sabelt GT black leather seats, which did a great job of holding me in snuggly, the 17-inch Supersport matt black steering wheel and the Alcantara dashboard. The front seats have manual adjustment for recline and forward/back only and when I sat in the passenger seat, I felt like I was up quite high and my head almost touched the roof. Thankfully the driver’s seat does have height adjustment so I was able to lower myself down to enjoy the go-cart like driving experience of the 595 Competizione.
The rest of the cabin is quite sparse with single zone climate control and a 7-inch touchscreen display that does not support Apple CarPlay or Android Auto. Media options available include AM/FM radio, DAB+, Bluetooth and USB and at front of centre console is a slot to hold your phone with two USB ports and one 12V outlet. You do get voice control, which is activated by pressing the button on the steering wheel with the masculine looking silhouette on it. The voice control worked well for me for making phone calls and changing the radio station. The door cubby does not have space for a drink bottle, but there are two drink holders between the front seats and another two at the front of the centre console. A cute feature I liked was the car shape on the recycled air button looks like the Abarth.
The rear seats are not suitable for adults and only just had enough space for my tween-sized daughter to fit back there. The Abarth 595 lists the presence of two ISOFIX child seat restraint points, but I could not see them when I looked. You can see the two rear tether points at the base of the rear seats in the photograph below.
The 595’s boot is small but deep boot, so you can fit quite a bit of shopping in it before resorting to the rear seats via the 50:50 split fold mechanism. The tailgate is manually opened with power assistance and there is tyre repair kit located in the boot.
The Abarth 595 does not have an ANCAP safety rating and the safety features are limited to the seven airbags. There are rear parking sensors and you get auto lights and auto wipers.
All new Abarth vehicles come with a three year or 150,000km (whichever comes first) factory warranty coverage supported by every Fiat dealership in Australia and this includes Fiat Roadside Assistance free of charge. The service schedule for the Abarth 595 is every 12 months or 15,000km, whichever occurs first.
In the wild, a scorpion will bravely stand up to other animals much larger than itself, with the ambition to overcome sometimes certain death. The Abarth 595 Competizione feels like this because it’s a confident hatch that won’t let its size determine the outcome of a fight.
Prices for the Abarth 595 Competizione start at $32,950 excluding on-road costs and as tested with the options previously mentioned the 595 Competizione that I drove was $42,350 plus on-road costs. Visit your preferred Fiat/Abarth dealer to experience the feisty Abarth 595 Competizione for yourself.
|Feisty engine and exhaust note||High passenger seat|
|The steering feel||Small rear seats|
|The Rally Blue paint||Limited safety features|
Photographs by Driven Women Magazine.