The Centralian Advocate Fri 10 Jun 2022
Centralian Advocate; NewspaperNT
Made available via the Publications (Legal Deposit) Act 2004 (NT).
Community newspapers -- Northern Territory -- Alice Springs; Tennant Creek (N.T.) -- Newspapers; Alice Springs (N.T.) -- Newspapers; Australia, Central -- Newspapers
News Corp Australia
Copyright. Made available by the publisher under licence.
News Corp Australia
MOTORING 21 V1 - NTNE01Z01MO it for a test drive. Over one large-ish bump I whacked my head on the side pillar. The back seat is strictly a kids-only affair behind the driver. With a bit of mixing and matching on the passenger side, you could squeeze in two smaller adults. The boot is tiny as well and theres a repair kit in lieu of a spare under the load floor. ITS FUN TO DRIVE The Abarth is a whippet on the road: light, nimble and quick off the mark. The 1.4-litre turbo puts out a modest 132kW and 250Nm but its feather weight means it can reach 100km/h in just 6.7 seconds. That puts it on par with the Ford and the Hyundai. The exhaust note is a hoot, too. It sounds positively feral when the car is being pushed hard in sport mode. The suspension is a mixed bag, though. The car feels planted and secure on smooth surfaces, but it can skip over mid-corner corrugations, unsettling the car. Around town, its very firm, crashing over bumps and sharp edges. The five-speed manual gearbox is slick and precise but an extra cog would make for more serene progress on the highway, where the engine revs high at the speed limit. black wheels and suede highlights on the dash. The final tally on our press car came to $42,350 plus on-roads, or roughly $47,000 in the traffic. To add insult to injury, the little turbo fourcylinder drinks premium unleaded only and the warranty is a skinny three years/150,000km. THEY LEFT PLENTY OUT That premium price tag would be easier to swallow if the Abarth provided the safety aids and creature comforts youre entitled to expect from a modern car. Alas, theres no cruise control, no reversing camera, no auto emergency braking and no blind-spot monitoring. The 7-inch touchscreen is on the small side and can be fiddly to navigate, although it does sync with smartphones and it has built-in satnav. Elsewhere the cabin feels pretty downmarket, with lots of hard plastic panels. BASKETBALLERS NEED NOT APPLY Admittedly, space is low on the priority list for hot-hatch buyers, but its in very short supply in the Abarth. The combination of a highset drivers seat and a sunroof that eats into head room means the Abarth is cramped for average-sized people. If youre taller than six foot, make sure you take THERE ARENT MANY CUTER CARS ON THE ROAD If cars sold on emotion alone, the Abarth 595 Competizione would be a runaway success. The pimped out Fiat 500 looks sensational in Rally Blue matt paint with yellow Brembo brake callipers and quad exhausts. With its wheels pushed to the extremities of its tiny body, its Italys spiritual rival for the Mini Cooper S. The sporty theme continues inside with a flat-bottomed, perforated leather and suede steering wheel and snug-fitting bucket seats trimmed in diamond-patterned leather, with embossing on the head rest. BUT ITS NOT CHEAP TO BE FASHIONABLE The Competizione starts at $32,950, which is lineball with other hot hatches such as the Ford Fiesta ST, Hyundai i20 N and Volkswagen Polo GTI. If you want all the trimmings, though, it becomes an expensive exercise. The special Rally Blue paint job is $1600, those yellow callipers are $350 and the body kit costs $2450. A $2500 premium pack adds xenon headlights and a sunroof, while the sport pack (also $2500) includes Sabelt race seats, 17-inch F I V E T H I N G S pint-sized but punchy Little Italian firecracker is fun to drive, if you can cope with the compact dimensions RICHARD BLACKBURN