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Parkers overall rating: 3.2 out of 5 3.2
  • Driving position far too high for hot hatch
  • Headrest on standard seats is set too far back
  • Easy-to-read dials and intuitive infotainment system

The 595 boasts clear, easy-to-read dials and a chunky steering wheel, yet it’s the driving position that really lets the side down.

Standard driving position is far too high up

In common with the Fiat 500 on which it’s based, drivers of the 595 sit incredibly high within the cabin and almost feel perched on top of the car itself. This isn’t such a big problem for the 500 city car, yet a sporty hot hatch such as the 595 really needs to offer a lower, more involving seating position.

Drivers with a tall torso will also notice that the rear view mirror sits directly in their line of sight – sometimes obscuring junctions and other vehicles.

There’s no reach adjustment in the steering wheel either and the pedals are set quite far towards the base of the seat. This means that in order to sit at a comfortable distance from the wheel, many drivers will feel too close to the pedals in an unnatural position.

Headrest positioned too far back on standard seats

Another major gripe is the standard black fabric sports seats (also available in leather and Alcantara with carbonfibre seat backs for an extra £1,200).

They look great, yet unless the person sat in them has the seat positioned bolt upright, the headrest is uncomfortably – and potentially dangerously – far back, leaving a sizeable gap between the head and headrest.

This is useful for those who wish to take the Abarth onto a racetrack and need the extra room to wear a helmet, but it creates a problem for those who predominantly use the car on road. Note also, that the front seats offer no height adjustment, while backrest adjustment is tricky thanks to an awkwardly placed control wheel.

Aside from the ergonomic issues, the controls are well-labelled and easy-to-use, although some of the plastics feel fragile. The standard 5.0-inch infotainment system touchscreen is small but responsive, while the menus are reasonably easy to use, if a little cluttered.

  • Acceptable ride and refinement on most trims
  • Uncomfortable standard seats let the side down

Ride comfort varies depending on trim and wheel size, with the top-of-the-range 595 Competizione offering the firmest setup.

Even so, the highest-spec model is a surprisingly comfortable motorway cruiser if you can block out the noisy Monza exhaust system.  Move onto bumpier roads and although they’ll unsettle the balance of the car, the ride never feels jarring or unbearable.

The standard seats are the only real let down when it comes to comfort with their firm and uncompromising structure. In order to get the best out of them, drivers need to sit almost vertical in the chair – a quirk of their design that won’t suit everyone.