Costs & verdict
Everyday costs, plus how reliable and safe it is
Although the 595’s starting price looks like a bit of a bargain, the Volkswagen Up GTI is even cheaper if you’re buying outright. It’s also worth bearing in mind that it’s easy to spend a lot more if you’re tempted by the Competizione and Essesse models at the top of the range.
That said, even the entry-level 595 gets plenty of kit, including, a 7.0in touchscreen infotainment system with DAB radio, Bluetooth, and a USB connection, plus, twin exhaust pipes, a sporty bodykit and sports seats.
We’d make the jump to the Pista model, though, as you get more power, better rear dampers, bigger wheels, air conditioning, a sportier exhaust system and Apple CarPlay and Android Auto smartphone compatibility. It’s our pick of the range. Of course, you can step up to the Turismo, Competizione and Essesse models, and they do come with plenty of extra performance kit. However, when the 595 starts to cost similar money to larger and more involving hot hatches, it becomes extremely difficult to recommend – the best value is definitely found at the lower end of the lineup.
It’s also worth mentioning that Abarth always seems to offer at least one limited edition 595. While some are pretty good value, others are eye-wateringly expensive. If you fancy one of these limited-run cars, look carefully at what you’re getting for the money – it makes little sense to spend thousands on a garish paint job and flashy wheels.
The 595 has a decent line-up of safety equipment, including seven airbags, anti-whiplash headrests and electronic stability control, but with those carbon-backed seats fitted, you have to forgo front side airbags. The 595 hasn’t been tested by Euro NCAP, but the car it is based on, the Fiat 500, scored only three stars back in 2017. That’s a poor performance by anyone's standards, and it’s very disappointing that there’s no option of automatic emergency braking (AEB).
While neither the 595 nor Abarth featured in the 2019 What Car? Reliability Survey, parent company Fiat finished in the lower half of the table, coming 19th out of 31 manufacturers.
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