The new Abarth 595C Convertible uses the popular Fiat 500 as its inspiration. This means that it’s bursting with character, stylish and lots of fun.
It’s more powerful than its sibling and comes with an electric fabric roof. It’s not a full-on convertible, however, and when you fold the roof the pillars and side windows remain in place. Neither is it a fully-fledged sports car, which means that hardcore enthusiasts will need to look elsewhere.
OSV takes a closer look at what it’s all about with our 2018 Abarth 595C Convertible review.
Overview of the Abarth 595C Convertible
On the Road
Not being a hardcore sports car isn’t a bad thing, of course, and the Abarth 595C is aimed at those who want fun, speed and thrills, but who don’t want to feel intimidated at the same time.
With five different models available you’ve got a lot to choose from, and a standard model sits at the bottom of the range with 143bhp. That’s enough to get you from rest to 62mph in 7.8, which represents a decent turn of pace for what is a very affordable car.
Next up is a Turismo model that produces 163bhp of welly, and which can motor its way from zero to 62mph in 6.8 seconds.
Also making up the range are two 695 models. The XSR variant has a 0-62 time of 7.3 seconds, while the bigger Rivale model has a 0-62 time of 6.6 seconds.
These, then, are decent times. Settling on a model won’t be easy as they all return pretty much the same economy, but from purely a driving perspective, we’d have to recommend the Competizone model. It produces 180bhp and has a 0-62 time of 6.5 seconds. Its steering is more accurate than the rest of the range, while its gearbox is slicker.
The Competizione model also comes with stiffer shock absorbers that means a firmer ride. As a result, it’s able to swiftly change direction without losing balance. It benefits from a “Monza” exhaust too, and while you will find the ride a bit harsh at times, you’ll also have lots of fun.
Abarth 595C Convertible Interior, Design and Build
Its cabin is neatly laid out, modern, stylish and easy to live with. We have no complaints with the standard of the materials used, although this isn’t a class-leading cabin by any stretch of the imagination.
If you’ve ever stepped foot inside the Fiat 500, it’s a lot similar – but sportier.
That said, only the Competizione model comes with sporty seats. Moreover, as sporty as they’re supposed to be, they should be set lower.
All models get the brand’s uConnect infotainment system as standard, but if you want the bigger seven-inch version you’ll need to pay extra.
Ride quality is poor for the most part and you’ll really notice it when you just want to cruise. It’s the same with the insulation. A noisy exhaust is fine when you’re in the mood, but a nuisance when you’re not.
Is the Abarth 595 Convertible practical? It’s essentially a compact Hatchback with a folding roof. All variants get just the 3 doors, access to the rear is poor, and once installed back there only two adults will be comfortable. Legroom is surprisingly good though.
When you fold the roof, it doesn’t actually disappear but instead sits on the car’s rear. This weakens visibility, although rear parking is standard on all models.
Moreover, the boot measures 185-litres whether the roof is up or down. Of course, that’s not a lot of space but you can extend it to 550-litres by folding the rear seats. A high boot lip will frustrate, however.
Equipment and Safety of the Abarth 595C Convertible
Standard kit is decent, but the entry-level model is a bit sparse. It comes with electric door mirrors, air conditioning, Bluetooth, a digital radio, a 5” touchscreen infotainment screen and 16” alloys.
The Turismo model adds bigger alloys, twin-zone climate control and leather seats, while the Competizione trim nets you sporty seats, xenon headlights and a few customisable options.
Optional extras, meanwhile, include sportier graphics for the exterior, a carbon-fibre finish for the dash, different alloy design and a seven-inch infotainment system.
In terms of how safe the car is, it has never been put through its crash test paces because it doesn’t shift enough numbers. As such, it has no safety rating. However, the car on which it’s based – the Fiat 500 – has a 5-star safety rating.
On the other hand, the 595C is lacking in safety kit – lane departure warning, hill start assist and autonomous emergency braking are all missing.
Costs of the Abarth 595C Convertible
Prices for the new car start at £17,510 and rise to £26,210. For more information on our leasing deals, you can check out our page here.
In terms of its running costs, there are a lot of models to choose from, but just one engine. This 1.4-litre turbocharged petrol engine powers all variants of the 595C, and it returns around 47.1mpg for each one. Emissions are also the same across the board and are pegged at 139g/km of CO2 if you stick to the manual gearbox and 134g/km if you specify the automatic.
Pros and Cons of the Abarth 595C Convertible
What we like is that it doesn’t matter which model you go for, all four return the same economy. This means you can splash out on the range-topping model and still return 47.1mpg on a good day.
It’s like a sexier, more aggressive version of the Fiat 500.
Fast but easy to drive
In other words, it’s accessible to those who don’t want a hardcore sports car but still have a need for speed.
Lack of engine choice
There are four models to choose from, but they’re all powered by the same engine.
Not a proper convertible
That might not bother you until your mates tell you that, no matter how you dress it up, you don’t actually own a proper convertible.
Abarth 595C Convertible vs MINI Cooper S Cabriolet vs Peugeot 108 Convertible
Let’s see how the car fares against its rivals in the comparison section of our 2018 Abarth 595C Convertible review.
Abarth 595C Convertible vs MINI Cooper S Cabriolet
The new MINI Cooper S Cabriolet is one of the best-selling convertibles in Britain, delivering all the drop-top fun you could want or need.
Despite removing its roof, MINI have managed to make their convertible almost as sharp as the Hatchback model. It runs a bit wide if you take corners too hard, but the steering is precise and communicative.
There’s lots of grip on offer too, while drivers can flick between three different driving modes. Sport will no doubt be a favourite as it makes the car even more rewarding to drive.
Meanwhile, this Cooper S model also gets a louder exhaust than the standard model, as well as a new rev-matching function.
In terms of its engines, the Cooper S is powered by a 2.0-litre petrol engine that develops 189bhp. 0-62 is taken care of in just 7.1 seconds if you specify the automatic gearbox, and when you put the car into Sport mode it crackles and fizzes with great glee.
Running costs? The Cooper S is one of the most expensive MINIs to run and manages returns of 46.9mpg economy at best here in convertible form. It emits 139g/km of CO2 and has a BiK rating of 26%.
Inside, the MINI’s cabin is better than ever before. There’s more luxury included, the materials are plusher and the layout is a lot more user-friendly. It’s also nicer to look at, and the Cooper S model gets a neat 6.5” touchscreen as standard.
Insulation isn’t too bad, although it’s a shame that a wind deflector doesn’t come as standard. Speaking of that, sat-nav is also optional.
Is the MINI Cooper S Convertible practical? A 215-litre boot shrinks to 160-litres when you fold the roof down, and while you can use the rear seats as extra luggage space, it’s not exactly ideal.
MINI have redesigned the roof and it now folds in 18.0 seconds, but it does worsen your view of the road when it’s down.
Other than that, there’s more rear leg and headroom than there used to be, and overall the MINI can offer more space than the Abarth.
Abarth – £17,510 – £26,210
MINI – £19,800 – £32,990
Abarth 595C Convertible vs Peugeot 108 Convertible
The new Peugeot 108 Convertible is, much like the Abarth, not a fully fledged convertible. But it’s still stylish and ultra-affordable.
On the road, the 108 Convertible drives just like the standard 108. It’s quiet, and while it can be taken out on longer journeys, it’s not the best car for that kind of thing. Ride quality isn’t the best, and it can get loud – especially when you drop the roof.
That said, it’s pretty good on winding country roads. However, it’s at its best in the towns and cities, where light steering and good visibility prove useful.
In terms of its engines, which engine you end up with depends on the trim you pick. The Active trim is offered with a small 1.0-litre 68bhp petrol, while the Allure trim is paired up with a handier 1.2-litre petrol engine that develops 82bhp.
The latter is our top pick. It’s shared with the bigger 208 model and has a 0-62 time of 11.0 seconds. The smaller engine, on the other hand, covers the same sprint in a rather plodding 14.3 seconds. It’s also a tad noisy.
Running costs? Nothing separates the two engines on this front, and they can both return as much as 65mpg economy on a good day. Emissions, meanwhile, are pegged at 100g/km of CO2, although adding stop-start can dramatically reduce that number.
Inside, this cabriolet version is pretty much identical to the standard 108. The cabin has a sense of fun about it and will appeal to younger buyers. The colours are funky and bright, and all models come with a useful central touchscreen display.
Is the Peugeot 108 Convertible practical? This is the area where the car lets itself down somewhat. The standard 108 model is a tad on the small side, and this variant is smaller still. Shoulder and legroom is okay, but headroom is a problem, with the folding fabric roof eating up considerable space.
Worse still for rear seated passengers, it doesn’t retract down the back of the tailgate. This means they won’t actually feel any benefits.
The boot meanwhile, measures just 180-litres, and you can choose between a three or a five-door model.
On the whole, while the 108 has its deficiencies, it’s cheap – although it’s no match for the Abarth when it comes to speed or driving finesse. Instead, this is more of a city car alternative.
Peugeot – £10,345 – £12,245
Verdict of our 2018 Abarth 595C Convertible Review
The 595C is a niche car for a niche audience. It’s not a full-on convertible, nor a full-on sports car, and will instead find its home among buyers who want fun, sunshine and wind in their hair, but who don’t want anything too hardcore.
That said, it’s not boring either, and 0-62 can be completed in a matter of 6.5 seconds if you go for the range-topping model. Overall, the new Abarth 595C Convertible is accessible and affordable, but still fun and stylish.