Let’s face it, the re-entry of Fiat into the American marketplace in the wake of the Italian company’s post-bankruptcy absorption of Chrysler has not gone as well as CEO Sergio Marchionne had hoped. The diminutive 500 never reached the sales targets expected of it and the larger 500L MPV did even worse. We still have some months to wait before the Miata-derived 124 roadster hits the streets but there is one other Fiat entry that may yet have the potential to be a breakout hit, subcompact crossover 500X.
In general, I like small cars with surprisingly powerful engines and bigger than normal tires and brakes. Mini Coopers, Fiesta STs and GTIs all tend to be a hoot to drive even at less than insane speeds. Chrysler has some good and not so good history in the segment with the old Neon SRT4 and the Caliber SRT4. Now that the team at Auburn Hills are part of Fiat Chrysler Automobiles, they are offering up the Fiat 500 Abarth. Where will it fall on the spectrum?