10 October 2019

Today it's a hot hatchback challenge, between a Mini John Cooper Works 3dr hatch - let's call it the Mini JCW - and the Abarth 595 Competizione.

These are two lairy, good fun, wildly characterful hot hatches. They might not be the ultimate in keenness - you'd look to something like the Ford Fiesta ST if you wanted the greatest all rounder in the class - but they both offer something unique and entertaining.

The Mini JCW has a big 2.0-litre turbocharged engine with plenty of power and its sophisticated chassis ought to make it very capable. The Abarth 595 is a more curious hatch - a city car with aggressive looks and the aggression turned up to 11.

We like them both. But which will our expert road testers, Mauro Calo and Matt Prior, think is the best? Join us on the roads of Wales in the height of, er, summer, as we find out.


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Join the debate


11 October 2019

I don't own an Abarth, but I wished I did. I'd hoped I was going to see a 595 Rivale, a 595 Essesse. Or even a reference to the new 695 70th Anniversario. This review Damned with faint praise at best... they just don't get it. Taking the piss.. 5 seconds in...!!! You just don't get ABARTH....It not meant to be like a BMW Mini. It reminds people of the Original Mini Cooper S. And the Racing heritage since 1947. In this video there's even a reference to Horses head...Angry Jellybaby...I wan't to like it...come on..!!!. He would use it to go and get a pint of milk. You obviously didn't know about the Massive Abarth Event in Milan this past weekend. ABARTH DAY 2019 or the new 595 Essesse or the 695 Anniversario. Do some research into what the Brand means to the enthusiasts. Come on.

12 October 2019

Exactly as you say Rivale, the Mini does not engender the same passion as the Abarth, and trying to judge 2 cars that really do sit in different segments objectively as in the test, wilfully misunderstands why Abarth enthusiasts love their cars. 

They have style, cool factor, look incredible, and are much greater than the sum of their parts. 

Disappointing from Autocar 

15 October 2019

If only the Abarth lived up to its forebears. The 500 looks good and has a certain charm but the truth is neither of these cars are very good, certainly not on UK roads.  Both seem overblown and prioritise showroom appeal over being genuine drivers' cars.


 If this was a triple test with, say, the Fiesta ST they would get monstered.

15 October 2019

Great post! Speed was a regular issue. thanks to autocar. it is resolved now. 


18 October 2019

 Yes!, not mine though , Teutonic please!


26 October 2019

Abarth like all Ital cars are special...love our 695 Rivale, but only one prob its been at the dealers for the last month awaiting a new gearbox/clutch and parts to arrive at 5kmiles!!

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