The interior layout, fit and finish
Open the door and it’s immediately obvious that you're inside an Abarth rather than a regular Fiat 500. The general interior layout mirrors that of the Fiat, of course, but the detailing is pure Abarth.
Even in the ‘standard’ Abarth 595 you’ll find alloy ‘racing’ pedals in the footwell, a flat-bottomed steering wheel, and an Abarth-specific 7.0in digital instrument cluster. Meanwhile in the range-topping Essesse essentially every option box has been ticked for you. There are carbon-fibre backed Sabelt seats, a carbonfibre lined dashboard and an Alcantara wrapped instrument binnacle, and the high-mounted aluminium alloy gearlever and boost-gauge-cum-shift-indicator add a welcome bit of theatre. Just don’t expect these touches to completely transform the interior; the hard plastics and flimsy controls still feel cheap.
However, despite its sporty accoutrements, the 595 is still cursed by the Fiat 500’s sit-up-and-beg driving position (even if it does provide good forward visibility). Compared with a Volkswagen Up GTI, you feel like you’re sitting on the 595’s seat rather than in it, and you have to contort your left foot to feather the clutch because the pedal area is cramped, while the lack of a proper left-foot rest is annoying on longer motorway journeys.
In fact, finding a comfortable driving position is difficult; there’s no reach adjustment for the steering wheel so you’re always either too close or too far away from it. It’s also frustrating that with the chunkier Sabelt seats fitted, it’s effectively impossible to reach the seat back adjuster without opening the door; a triumph of form over function. Still, at least the seats are supportive once they’re adjusted.
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