Not A Chick Car

A record boom market in small cars offering high quality design, safety and performance with premium amenities and even sex appeal — have propelled strong car sales — and are responsible for many Americans finally abandoning their big-car craving!

One of the most ballyhooed new small models is the lovable Fiat 500. A recent test-drive of the designer Abarth edition of the 500 reinforced both the highlights and shortcomings of this car.

The Abarth sports a 1.4 liter 16 valve multiair Turbo engine that kicks out a rousing 160 Horsepower — which is very hot for this sized vehicle. And with the tight handling performance tuned suspension — the 500 is wild fun-to-drive — even without pulling an “Italian Job” bounce down the art Museum stairs.

But these virtues will be totally lost on the first- time automotive down-sizer. Though the driver and front passenger have good head and leg room — the back seat is a tight squeeze. And then there’s the constant question — ”Isn’t this a chick’s car?” Without addressing the sexist implications of the question — the answer is no!

Also hard to justify is the cost of all this fun! Though base priced at about $15,500 — the stylish but relatively bare-bones Abarth 500 edition is $27,000.