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93EXCivic
93EXCivic UltimaDork
9/10/12 1:07 p.m.
Winston wrote: Disapprove. Not because it doesn't look better (which it does), but because they're not as visible as they are without = safety issue. Same reason I disapprove of smoked headlights and taillights. Better looks (sometimes), worse function.

What do side markers even do for safety?

Winston
Winston Reader
9/10/12 8:45 p.m.

"The purpose of side marker lamps is to enable a driver to see another vehicle that is approaching at an angle at night (or is standing still with its side facing the driver)-and to see it early enough that the driver can stop in time to prevent a nighttime angle collision or, at least, slow down or take evasive action to reduce the severity of the collision."

From here:

http://www.nhtsa.gov/cars/rules/regrev/evaluate/806430.html

Also, I've been able to avoid collisions related to simultaneous lane change (into the same lane) because at least one party had their turn signal on (I always do), and the lane change was being indicated by the side marker.

JThw8
JThw8 UberDork
9/10/12 9:22 p.m.

As previously noted, when the lights are on they are perfectly visible. Not an issue.

I'll have to take some night time shots for everyone.

JThw8
JThw8 UberDork
9/11/12 7:19 a.m.

Grabbed a quick shot before bed last night. The lights are brighter than they appear but they wash out a little in the photo, it was a pain in the butt trying to time it just right to catch the turn signal ;)

JThw8
JThw8 UberDork
9/11/12 7:31 a.m.

But now on to the other purpose of this thread, I promised to update on impressions and life with Abarth.

So as of this morning we are at 1000 miles on the clock, yes I drive a lot.

Average fuel economy is around 34mpg, mostly highway driving, mostly at 80mph so I'm not exactly hypermiling with it.

I find for my commute I mostly keep it in normal mode and not sport, but it sure is fun to kick in that sport mode when I get off the highways.

About the sport mode. Ive had other cars which have a "sport" setting and it's usually in imperceptible difference and always seemed gimmicky to me. Not so on the Abarth. Sport mode tightens up the steering but more importantly it's a whole remap of the ecu. Normal mode limits the boost to around 12psi whereas sport lets you go for the full 21psi. The documentation also says that normal mode limits the torque to about 130 lb ft in 1st and 2nd whereas in sport you have the full 170 lb ft. It's very noticeable.

As a commuter car it's a great mix of what I loved about my smart and my BMW. Small and nimble like the smart, able to take advantage of small gaps in traffic to maneuver around but with enough guts behind it, like the BMW, to make the maneuvers effortless. The engine is very smooth for a 4 cylinder and the beautiful exhaust note is not droning on the highway.

Seating is comfortable, plenty of adjust-ability to find a position to suit me. The seats themselves are a very soft leather and very nice but lack sufficient bolstering to be considered a real sport seat. On the note of seating, one small thing that I find annoying. My car came with the rosso leather seats, or as my wife would call it, the whore red interior. But the back seats are still black. Just odd that they dont match up the rears. Based on how little I foresee using them I may just go for the rear seat delete kit and save a few pounds while gaining cargo space.

If you are a windows down kind of person then the wind noise at speed is pretty brutal. The sunroof is great but I wish the sunshade was a bit more opaque, I think I mentioned it before but I'll probably end up having tint added to the sunroof.

My overall impression is this is the hot hatch I've been dreaming of ever since I sold off my MK1 GTI. It doesn't feel bloated or weighed down with all the modern safety and conveniences like some of the newer hot hatches even though it does have all those things.

I'll continue to provide impressions and updates as life with Abarth goes on.

Winston
Winston Reader
9/11/12 9:39 a.m.

Stop it, you're making me want one. Good review content, too. Just the thing I would want to read if I were considering a purchase.

JThw8
JThw8 UberDork
9/11/12 9:59 a.m.
Winston wrote: Stop it, your making me want one. Good review content, too. Just the thing I would want to read if I were considering a purchase.

Thanks :) If there are other aspects of living with the car you'd like to know about please let me know, there are lots of little impressions that I'm sure I forget to include.

DaveEstey
DaveEstey Dork
9/11/12 10:27 a.m.

How tall are you?

JThw8
JThw8 UberDork
9/11/12 10:59 a.m.
DaveEstey wrote: How tall are you?

6 ft, I clear the roof with room to spare and I don't have the seat lowered (its height adjustable) in fact I probably have it up a bit higher than most would prefer.

DaveEstey
DaveEstey Dork
9/11/12 11:08 a.m.

Good to know. I'm considering the 500 Turbo as my next DD to replace the Miata. I want something with a little more space, easier to get in and out of and better fuel economy.

JThw8
JThw8 UberDork
9/11/12 11:51 a.m.
DaveEstey wrote: Good to know. I'm considering the 500 Turbo as my next DD to replace the Miata. I want something with a little more space, easier to get in and out of and better fuel economy.

I enjoy driving mine as much, if not more than the Miata, for all the reasons you mention, plus some of the amenities that just come with newer cars these days.

Sky_Render
Sky_Render HalfDork
9/11/12 12:31 p.m.

Sprint Booster doesn't make selectable modules for all platforms...

JThw8
JThw8 UberDork
9/11/12 12:35 p.m.
Sky_Render wrote: Sprint Booster doesn't make selectable modules for all platforms...

They do make one for the Fiat though. I'm not familiar with their whole product line.

Sky_Render
Sky_Render HalfDork
9/11/12 12:39 p.m.

In reply to JThw8:

I wanted one for my Mustang, but they don't make a selectable one. I kind of like the stock delayed throttle response when in bumper-to-bumper traffic.

sachilles
sachilles Dork
9/11/12 1:32 p.m.
JThw8 wrote:
DaveEstey wrote: How tall are you?

6 ft, I clear the roof with room to spare and I don't have the seat lowered (its height adjustable) in fact I probably have it up a bit higher than most would prefer.

If autocrossing it, know that the sunroof can crowd you a bit with helmet. My buddy said, if he did it over again, he'd have gone without the sunroof. Worth trying on before you buy.

JThw8
JThw8 UberDork
9/11/12 1:55 p.m.
Sky_Render wrote: In reply to JThw8: I wanted one for my Mustang, but they don't make a selectable one. I kind of like the stock delayed throttle response when in bumper-to-bumper traffic.

Ahh, now I understand. Yeah, that's odd that they don't make them all selectable, or at least on/off.

I'd give them a call. The '05-'10 says its not selectable but the '11-'12 model shows selectablity (your profile lists your car as an '11)

http://www.sprintboostersales.com/detail.cfm?year=2011&make=Ford&model=Mustang&engine=Gas

Sky_Render
Sky_Render HalfDork
9/11/12 2:24 p.m.
JThw8 wrote:
Sky_Render wrote: In reply to JThw8: I wanted one for my Mustang, but they don't make a selectable one. I kind of like the stock delayed throttle response when in bumper-to-bumper traffic.

Ahh, now I understand. Yeah, that's odd that they don't make them all selectable, or at least on/off.

I'd give them a call. The '05-'10 says its not selectable but the '11-'12 model shows selectablity (your profile lists your car as an '11)

http://www.sprintboostersales.com/detail.cfm?year=2011&make=Ford&model=Mustang&engine=Gas

Oh, cool, they added it! I emailed them months ago, and they told me they didn't make a selectable one.

Thanks for finding me a way to spend $350...

Zomby Woof
Zomby Woof UltraDork
9/11/12 9:20 p.m.
JThw8 wrote:
DaveEstey wrote: How tall are you?

6 ft, I clear the roof with room to spare and I don't have the seat lowered (its height adjustable) in fact I probably have it up a bit higher than most would prefer.

I parked beside one today in my Swift GT. They are the same length, but the Fiat is WAY taller.

dj06482
dj06482 HalfDork
9/12/12 3:11 p.m.

I'm really enjoying reading your impressions so far. How is it in stop and go traffic? My commute is a mix of enjoyable back roads and highway that can be mostly stop and go at times. I'm beginning to think the dual personalities of the Abarth might make both parts of that commute enjoyable.

JThw8
JThw8 UberDork
9/12/12 5:48 p.m.
dj06482 wrote: I'm really enjoying reading your impressions so far. How is it in stop and go traffic? My commute is a mix of enjoyable back roads and highway that can be mostly stop and go at times. I'm beginning to think the dual personalities of the Abarth might make both parts of that commute enjoyable.

Funny you should ask, I was just going to post an update about that. I do not normally commute in stop and go traffic, I go to work early and leave early to avoid it. But today I had to go to an event up in north west NJ, this let me experience 3 things

1) A long drive in the Abarth, it was a 3.5 hour trip up there and another one home

2) Some really nice twisty backroads :)

3) Hideous stop and go traffic for about 2.5 of the 3.5 hour ride home...ugh.

Long drives - great, still lots of fun, seats comfortable enough that I didnt start having issues (with a bad back there are a lot of car seats I cannot tolerate for more than an hour at a time.

Backroads - wheeeeeeeeeeee. I need to find me some more roads like this, what a blast. Thankfully I was running early this morning so I could double back and do it again. Holds the road very well, very predictable behavior and the torque is enough to pull through turns even if you forget to downshift because you're having so much fun.

Stop and go traffic - I can't think of anything that would make them enjoyable, but it didnt make them worse. I have avoided manual DDs because they can kind of suck in stop and go traffic, but honestly the clutch is light enough and the car well mannered enough that it really was no problem at all in traffic. I can't say I enjoyed it, but that really had nothing to do with the car, I just hate traffic.

JThw8
JThw8 UberDork
9/12/12 6:29 p.m.

So a few more impressions, thoughts and such. I know we all mostly care about driving dynamics but there are other features which are definitely worth a mention especially for those who spend a lot of time in their car.

So, tunes. She came with a 6 speaker (plus subwoofer) Bose system with AM/FM/CD/Sirius and a USB and aux jack. Sound is very good, I'm not a huge audiophile but it is definitely a quality system. Another reviewer noted that the sub seems better suited towards rap and hip hop style lows than rock and metal and I have to echo that statement. As I listen to both the sub definitely hits harder on the rap stuff than the rock but its passable on all. I'm not much of a user of satellite radio but its fun to have while its free. Reception is good on the system too. On my trip north today I held a Philly station almost the whole way there whereas in most cars it starts to drop out just north of my office. I usually use my iPhone for music and that is certainly an option, you can plug the iPhone cable into the USB and control song selection and playlists through the radio or through the controls on the steering wheel. But the USB and aux ports are in the glove box and I hate having the cable hanging out the glovebox door, just a personal annoyance. So I went and bought an 8gb USB stick for $4 on sale. That was enough to load almost my entire music library (yeah, I dont have a lot of music) Just over 2000 songs. The system will support up to a 64gb stick though. So for $4 I can load up the memory stick and leave it plugged in full time and have my library on demand, pretty sweet.

Back to steering wheel controls. On the front of the wheel you have your cruise control settings on the right and on the left are the phone controls. It does have voice recognition which works fine but honestly I've never personally cared for which is why I was happy to learn that all the commands could be controlled through the steering wheel buttons. On the rear of the wheel right side controls volume and the left will scan through radio stations, presets or songs on the USB port. It's very nice to control everything without removing your hands from the wheel. So you can skip the voice control and use these buttons to select your phone book and select entries that way. Everything displays on the information center in the middle of the main gauge cluster, including caller ID. About the only thing that would make this more user friendly is if it had a HUD as you do have to glance down to see the display. In theory it also has a message reader which will read incoming text messages but I have yet to figure out how that works, I've put zero effort into it because I have no need to know what people are texting me while Im driving.

Speaking of the information center, at the end of the wiper stalk is a button which controls the trip information. Again, in the center of the cluster it will display remaining range on fuel, trip A with miles traveled, time traveled, average fuel economy and average speed, there is also a trip B with the same options. It will also display instant fuel economy. My one complaint with this, unlike everything controlled with the steering buttons which allow you to move forward and back in the menus, you can only go forward through these with the button on the end of the wiper stalk so if you wanted to see Trip A average economy and missed it you have to go through the rest of the trip A and trip B options to come back around to it. Small annoyance but I want to make sure I list the good with the bad.

Ok, lots more to muse on later but I think I've made this long enough for now.

93EXCivic
93EXCivic MegaDork
9/13/12 9:28 a.m.

You are really not helping my want for one of these.

dj06482
dj06482 HalfDork
9/13/12 11:28 a.m.
JThw8 wrote: 3) Hideous stop and go traffic for about 2.5 of the 3.5 hour ride home...ugh. Stop and go traffic - I can't think of anything that would make them enjoyable, but it didnt make them worse. I have avoided manual DDs because they can kind of suck in stop and go traffic, but honestly the clutch is light enough and the car well mannered enough that it really was no problem at all in traffic. I can't say I enjoyed it, but that really had nothing to do with the car, I just hate traffic.

Good info, thanks. I'm really enjoying this thread, keep the updates coming...

Sky_Render
Sky_Render HalfDork
9/13/12 1:28 p.m.
Winston wrote: Stop it, you're making me want one. Good review content, too. Just the thing I would want to read if I were considering a purchase.

Me, too, especially since it's got a sport-mode button that nearly doubles the boost. Please, please, PLEASE tell me you're going to label that button "LUDICROUS SPEED."

Xceler8x
Xceler8x UltraDork
9/25/12 8:34 a.m.

Thanks for the updates JThw8! For some odd reason I'm pulling for Fiat on this one. They just seem like fun little cars. I think we could use more of that here in the U.S.

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