You might be wondering why, with its design-led cheekiness and zesty performance, you don’t see more Abarths on the road. The first answer is that it is not cheap. With options, the top-spec Competizione can clock in at over £23k.

The second answer is that the car has a direct rival in the shape of the Mini Cooper S – a British-built model that offers similar retro charm and more talent for about the same £18k asking price.

Matt Prior

Matt Prior

Don't opt for the MTA – it's expensive and finicky

To make matters worse, our favourite hot supermini, the pin-sharp Fiesta ST, starts at just £17k – almost £1000 less than the lower-spec Turismo.

Admittedly, the Competizione comes with Xenon headlights, tinted rear windows, climate control, rear parking sensors, Bluetooth connectivity and the dual-mode exhaust system as standard.

But its real superiority over the Fordif not the Mini – lies in the longer options list, where Abarth offers a higher degree of personalisation, including leather race seats, two-tone paint schemes and several decals.

As for running costs, Abarth claims 43.3mpg combined for the 595, which is some way behind its closest rivals. The Mini and Ford are in VED band E, but the Abarth’s 155g/km forces it two rungs higher, meaning that it’ll cost more a year to tax.

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Niche appeal will leave the 595 less strong than the Mini and Ford Fiesta in the battle for value retention.

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