Used Fiat 500 Abarths are officially sub $10,000 cars. If the 500 Abarth didn’t pique your interest as a new car, what about as an affordable curiosity? Sure $20,000 is a lot of money for a marginally practical hot hatch but at $10,000, it’s quite a bargain. The Fiat 500 Abarth has the personality and soul of an Italian sports car. It also depreciates at the same dizzying pace making it the real deal. If you’re willing to live with the endless “Fix It Again Tony” jokes and its small size, a used Fiat 500 Abarth is a hot hatch bargain.
A quick Cars.com search revealed over 40 used 500 Abarths for $10,000 or less. Many of these cars had low mileage hovering around 30,000. For a fairly new hot hatch with low miles, the 500 Abarth is a steal at only $10,000. The playful nature of this car paired with a torquey engine leads to endless driving fun. While the relatively useable hatchback body style makes it semi-practical. Numbers aside I swear this car has a soul. It feels more like a loyal companion rather than a simple transportation device.
My first encounter with a 500 Abarth was on the track at Monticello. The car was being used by journalists for sighting laps to learn the track. By the time I hoped into our Red 500 Abarth it must have done about 20 laps. Although it spent hours getting beat on prior to my arrival the car was completely fine. Engine temperature was normal and the car didn’t even want to catch on fire like its Ferrari cousins. As I drove out of pitlane with my instructor, burbling exhaust note in tow, I had no idea how much fun was in store for me. Even with only 160 horsepower, the little Fiat attacked the track with surprising ferocity. In tighter sections of the track, the little Fiat couldn’t be matched.
Within minutes of hoping out of the 500 Abarth, I was on Cars.com looking for a used one. I wanted my own personal Italian go-kart with an exhaust note fit for a supercar. To my surprise, there was not only a large supply of used examples but most of them were surprisingly affordable. I didn’t purchase any Abarths that day since I like to leave impulsing buying to the other auto journalists, but the idea stuck in my head. Since then I’ve watched the used 500 Abarth market drop. Today there is a large supply of low mileage used 500 Abarths for $10,000.
When looking for a used 500 Abarth, like the one picture above, simple used car buying rules apply. First, find a strong service history. These Multi Air engines love to drink oil so it’s important to see oil changes were done regularly rather than the owner topping it off and forgetting. Try to stay away from the 2012 model year. Since this was the Abarth’s debut year in the USA it had some electrical gremlins that were worked out in later models. I told you it had the soul of an Italian sports car. Finally, do not buy the automatic version. Shifting gears is what makes this car great and without the manual gearbox, it loses much of its charm.
The Fiat 500 Abarth may not be the most powerful car in its segment. But it makes up for outright speed with a driving experience dominated by the sounds and sensation of speed. This tiny hot hatch will soon become the mini Ferrari of your dreams for a fraction of the price. If you’re looking for an affordable fun to drive hot hatch a used 500 Abarth is hard to beat. I mean come on! Just listen to this thing!