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Old 31-08-2004   #1
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Question Stilo Abarth - worth buying?

Hi there,

I currently have a 2.0 Mondeo which I fancy changing. My local FIAT dealer has a silver, 3-door Stilo Abarth for a nice price. I've read the magazine reviews (not wholly favourable to be honest), but I'd be interested to hear the opinions of people who actually drive the car every day.

It's a while since I've driven an Italian car, and I've always found them to be engaging things to drive; had a 127, a 128 3P, 3 Alfa 33s, and a much missed Bravo 1.6SX.

I'm on my second Mondeo, and while it's a nice enough car, I'm getting mightily bored with it.

Ta.
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Old 31-08-2004   #2
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Re: Stilo Abarth - worth buying?

the 3 door definately much better llooking han the 5 door version. They do have lots of lovely toys/gadgets on them and are proper boys toys in that they can do demon boy racer stuff, whilst being "grown up" enough to do the day to daystuff and it not be a pain/boring.
Im pretty new to abarths (my better half is a big rufty tufty car fan) and it replaced our merc slk as it was much more practical to do my business mileage in ( up to 6-700 a wk). We've had ours 3 weeks.
GOOD POINTS - its a dream to drive, great power steering even without the "girlie" city button, lots of extras like sat nav,the groovy gear box is great and is virtually idiot proof , integral fone etc make em good value although ours is an 02 plate and the newer ones seem to have less on as standard.
milage wise, it averages about 28-33 gallon depending if Im driving or the other half is so its not bad.
BAD POINTs - all these gadgets mean thers more things to go wrong - so far I've had auto gear box failure warnings (now occurs on almost daily basis) ASP, ESP and airbags warnings. The dealers had it back but their machine wasn't working so its not been sorted yet - looking on forum it seems these problems aren't uncommon and whilst they are probably minor + more annoying than a sign of a "real" problem, its still seems a bit pointless having warning lights etc that you can't trust. Iam HOPING the trip to the dealer to get sensors re-routed (took a print out from the forum to the dealer to ensure they knew about it!) will sort the problem.
Its definately much more WOW ish than a mondeo though. Hope you get lots of useful stuff feedback. Take it for a test drive and do your worst - you'll probably fall in love.
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Old 31-08-2004   #3
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Re: Stilo Abarth - worth buying?

Stu just moved from a 2lt Mondea to an Abarth, I am sure he will set you right
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Old 31-08-2004   #4
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Re: Stilo Abarth - worth buying?

Quote Originally Posted by pghstochaj
Stu just moved from a 2lt Mondea to an Abarth, I am sure he will set you right
Indeed I did, only about a week ago last Monday!

I ended up with the 5-door Abarth, on an 02 plate. Since then, done about 1000 miles in it and I am loving every minute of it.

I sat back in the Mondeo only yesterday to move it on driveway [a P-plate Ghia X, 133k on clock], and I couldn't believe how bad it felt to drive, which is pretty amazing coz I did love the 5 years of driving it.

The Abarth is a cracking car - I bought it with an open mind, knowing most of the niggly problems with it, but also knowing what support I would get from this forum to ease my mind. Yes, I got warning sensors already [Airbag, Autobox, 1 other that flashed up!], but hey. The overall driving experience is pretty damn good for the price , plus they are not common, which is even better. I actually go hunting for Golf TDi and GTis now for a bit of fun - my only downer is fuel consumption, but this week I have been USING the car a lot, so hoping this will settle down to a more sensible figure.

Stu
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Old 01-09-2004   #5
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Re: Stilo Abarth - worth buying?

Hi m8,
have had mine for 18 months now and I think its a great car, the driving experience is fabulous, described as a "warm" hatch it has plenty of grunt once you get it pass 3000 rpm..the look on some faces when you accelerate
70mph upwards...I think it is a car that has to be "driven" there is nothing lazylike because its a semi-auto..try parking on a hill/incline...it requires some skill as does gear changing you can develop your own comfortable way...auto is a bit jerky but it does keep you awake...manual is fun..exhaust note is seductive....the gadget are really secondary but you can get a car with much for so little...ah so why am i selling mine I hear you say...(see for sale section)..well a case of economics an practicality.....so have to downsize.....
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Old 01-09-2004   #6
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Re: Stilo Abarth - worth buying?

Quote Originally Posted by Noz
H.the look on some faces when you accelerate
70mph upwards...I think it is a car that has to be "driven" there is nothing lazylike because its a semi-auto..try parking on a hill/incline...it requires some skill as does gear changing you can develop your own comfortable way...auto is a bit jerky but it does keep you awake...manual is fun..exhaust note is seductive....
Couldn't agree more, the mid-range pull from 70 upwards is immense, as people who went on the rally last weekend will hopefully agree.

Yep, the auto-box does not have 'creep', but a sleight foot and not a problem, tbh.

Auto can be jerky, but turning off ASR helps. I find I am constantly switching between Manual and Auto depending on my mood

And the engine burble - oh yes

Stu
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Old 01-09-2004   #7
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Cool Re: Stilo Abarth - worth buying?

The car I'm interested in has a manual gearbox. It is also missing a lot of the fancy gadgets (sat nav, phone stuff), so hopefully it won't have the abundance of warnings that seem to be common in these cars. Also, it's a brand-new pre-registered model, so I would hope FIAT has sorted the electrical gremlins by now.

This month's What Car has a quick road test of the Abarth. It describes the car as comfortable and brisk, but says it isn't really that quick, feels under damped, and wallows in corners. It does admit the car is value for money though, and sounds nice. Bit of a mixed review really.

I was initially concerned about fuel consumption, but at 12000 a year I reckon the difference is only a couple of gallons a week. That's less than the cost of a CD. I can cope with that. I can feel a test drive coming on at the weekend.

As a quick aside, how refined is the car when cruising on the motorway?
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Old 01-09-2004   #8
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Re: Stilo Abarth - worth buying?

It's built for the motorway hence why it's not pocket rocket off the start but has one of the torquiest engines in the class (quote Stu ). I think you will miss the point of getting the abarth going for the manual over the selespeed, I doubt you would find the cost to be hugely different?
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Old 01-09-2004   #9
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Re: Stilo Abarth - worth buying?

the abarth is a mile muncher. it is quite refined at speed and feels very relaxed. i think it was always designed as a bit of a cruiser.
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Old 01-09-2004   #10
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Re: Stilo Abarth - worth buying?

I think the car is very spritely off the mark - I note that it changes up from second just a bit under 60, which probably explains its time of 8.5seconds due to that lurch into 3rd.

How come no fancy gadgets? Are these now options?

And the Selespeed does make it a whole lot more fun
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Old 01-09-2004   #11
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Re: Stilo Abarth - worth buying?

Stu, i think without selespeed, i.e. manual, they lose all the standard options and you have to add extra, some not even available!
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Old 01-09-2004   #12
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Re: Stilo Abarth - worth buying?

My previous car was a BMW 3 series touring which was an excellent car, but I like the Abarth better!

The trouble with reviewers is they compare the Abarth to things like the Type R - they need to look instead at what the car actually is - its a comfortable relaxing car that is superb at cruising (as good as the BMW) and also good when you want to drive it quick cross country. Ok a Type R might be quicker on a test circuit, but on the public roads theres not much in it. I've got no complaints about the handling of mine, the ESP makes the handling almost neutral.

My car has averaged 24mpg from new, but who cares with an engine that sounds as sweet as that !

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Old 04-09-2004   #13
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Unhappy Re: Stilo Abarth - worth buying?

Sorry people, but the answer is no. I had a drive in an Abarth this morning and decided against it. I'm afraid I have to agree with various comments I read about the car.

The steering wheel feels as if it isn't connected to anything.

Body roll is pronounced.

The pickup from the engine was disappointing and the car just didn't feel very fast.

And the thing that annoyed me the most - where on earth are you supposed to put your left foot? I would go so far as to say the footwell is cramped enough to be potentially dangerous. I can see why people would go for the Selespeed option.

I went along with my cheque book in my pocket expecting the test-drive to be a formality, but it just wasn't to be. Apologies if I've upset the Abarth afficionados.
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Old 06-09-2004   #14
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Thumbs up Re: Stilo Abarth - worth buying?

Yes the footwell is cramped, luckily I don't have massive feet!! Mine is an 04 manual and in 3000 miles no problems - it's one of the best screwed together cars I've been in - of any make...It's rarity value is great it's massive torque makes for very rapid progress in 'real world' situations - ask yourself how many times do you actually go zero to 60 in an average driving day? Your more likely to go 50-70 and in an abarth you'll be kissing 70 and beyond very quickly. A downside is; it's true the manual does have less gadgets but Fiat's option list is so reasonable you can still add lots of what you want for a very good price...
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Old 06-09-2004   #15
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Re: Stilo Abarth - worth buying?

I've ended up buying another Mondeo, the TDCi 130. You can't argue with 243 lb-ft of torque. After trying all sorts of cars over the last couple of months I realised what I really wanted was a faster Mondeo.

I agree the 0-60 time is largely irrelevant. I don't know why they keep quoting it in magazines, the in-gear acceleration is far more meaningful. That's why I went for the TDCi.

I should also say that I would never talk anybody out of looking at a Stilo. It just wasn't the car for me.
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