Fiat Avventura Abarth Test Drive
2016 Fiat Avventura Abarth – Click above for high resolution picture gallery

Fiat Avventura Abarth Review

Car Tested: 2016 Fiat Avventura Powered By Abarth; Road Test No. 637

Price OTR Mumbai: Rs. 11.78 lakhs

The Fiat Avventura can now make you feel the sting while looking rugged at the same time

The Fiat Avventura is basically a pumped up Punto hatch with a good dose of plastic cladding, high ground clearance and tail mounted spare wheel. These small yet significant aspects make it look like an adventurous compact crossover. To make the package more exciting, Fiat has plonked in the 1.4-litre turbo petrol T-Jet engine. While the Punto gets the Abarth prefix because of considerable changes on the hatch, the Fiat Avventura only gets the ‘powered by Abarth’ tag since there are no changes apart from the new engine. We spend some time behind the Scorpion powered Avventura’s wheel to feel the sting.

Motor Quest: Unlike the Abarth Punto, the Fiat Avventura powered by Abarth gets no changes on the exteriors, interiors, ground clearance and suspension. The Avventura gets a detuned engine producing 5 BHP and 2 Nm less relatively.

Smart body cladding adds to the muscular stance of the Avventura

Exteriors – Apart from the ‘powered by Abarth’ badging on the rear doors and 16-inch Scorpion alloy wheels, the Fiat Avventura gets no exclusive cosmetic changes. Weirdly, at the time of the launch, Fiat announced only two colours – Pearl White and Exotica Red for the Avventura Abarth, which is also mentioned on the brochure. However, our test car had a brown shade and we have also seen black coloured Avventura Abarth on the roads. Having said that, the Avventura as always looks off-beat and is a big attention grabber with its unique styling. It doesn’t look as sporty as the Abarth Punto but a muscular cowboy with shiny boots.

The brown upholstery looks quite premium in the Avventura

Interiors – While the Abarth Punto gets exclusive Abarth detailing with all-black interior treatment carried over from the 90 HP Sport variant, the Avventura remains untouched. The dashboard gets a dual-tone light grey and black theme, where the light grey soft material in the middle tends to get dirty quickly. The instrument cluster remains unchanged while the centre console also carries over the same compass and inclinometer gauges that looks cool but hardly comes to use. We noticed that the Abarth Punto gets a slightly revised audio system that streams music via Bluetooth but in the Avventura powered by Abarth, the system doesn’t support music streaming but only calls, which is a big let down.

The space at the rear is best suited for average height people

The interiors get no changes at all, seats are comfortable for long journeys

The inconsistent fit and finish can be noticed across the cabin having some hard plastics and flimsy controls. However, there are some premium touches as well including piano black centre console, leather wrapped steering wheel and gear knob along with comfortable seats. The seats look premium in brown and are well cushioned for proper support on long journeys. Driver’s footwell gets a huge dead pedal which is sometimes intrusive while using the clutch. Rear passengers don’t have much space to stretch their legs but its decent for short trips.

The boot is spacious but operating the tail gate is a big task

The most annoying thing about the Avventura is its boot mechanism. You have to first unlock the tailgate, press a lever on the spare wheel handle to open it sideways and finally you can access the boot. This procedure is quite inconvenient to deal with when you visit a mall or a hotel and the security asks to check the boot. Having said that, there is quite a lot of space in the boot to keep luggage and the free spare wheel space inside further adds to the practicality. The Avventura’s cabin doesn’t make you feel like you are sitting in a car that costs Rs. 11 lakhs plus.

With so much power the Avventura launches relentlessly

Performance – The Fiat Avventura powered by Abarth gets a 1.4-litre T-Jet turbo petrol motor under the hood, which is slightly detuned from what you get in the Abarth Punto. The motor churns out 140 BHP at 5500 RPM and 210 Nm of torque at 2000-4000 RPM. Because of the heavier weight and marginally lower power output, you can feel the slight dip in power. There is a hint of turbolag under 2000 RPM but post it you get a good push with some meaty torque steer to deal with. The mid-range makes the Avventura go mad, which then settles down to linear acceleration as you rev it higher.

The mighty mid-range of the T-Jet pulls the Avventura effortlessly

The 1.4 T-Jet simply makes the Avventura more thrilling to drive

NVH levels are impressive but the motor is quite audible near the 6500 RPM redline. What makes the T-Jet convenient is the in-gear drivability, as you don’t need to shift gears quickly. The 5-speed manual gearbox feels rubbery to use and it also has long throws, which robs away the driving pleasure. The Avventura Abarth does 50 km/hr in first gear redlining at 6500 RPM and 90 km/hr in second, while 100 km/hr comes up in third because of the short gearing. It completes the 0-100 km/hr sprint in 9.9 seconds while 1 km from standstill takes 31.8 seconds. Fiat claims an ARAI certified fuel efficiency of 17.1 km/l but we got 10 km/l in real world driving conditions.

The sorted suspension offers good ride quality at high speeds

Driving Dynamics – The Avventura doesn’t get mechanical changes such as stiffened suspension, lower ride height, etc. and hence feels the same in terms of ride and handling. The ride is a tad better than the Abarth Punto having a more comfortable low speed ride quality. High speed stability is fantastic as expected but once you push it around corners, the substantial body roll robs the fun of having a T-Jet under the hood. Straight line performance is excellent but with the 205 mm ground clearance, the Avventura leans too much for a performance hatch. It is simply not as involving to drive as the Abarth Punto.

Handling is sharp but there is some body roll to deal with

Ride quality is good but bodyroll is quite pronounced with high ground clearance

The Avventura powered by Abarth doesn’t feel eager to dig into corners and is rather meant for munching miles on straight expressways. The hydraulic steering is accurate and feedback rich while the tyres provide enough grip to stay glued to the tarmac. The high ground clearance though is quite practical for those incomplete highway diversions and mild off-road terrain. The Avventura comes with all four discs and stopping power is excellent with reassuring feedback from the pedal. It’s not a bad car to drive and in fact it is quite fun but being a Fiat and specially getting the Abarth badge, I expected more from it.

The Avventura Abarth comes with dual airbags and ABS as standard

Safety and After Sales Service – Fiat is offering all four discs with ABS and dual front airbags as standard with the Avventura Abarth. The airbags are dual stage and deploy on severity of collision. In case of roll over, the Avventura’s fuel supply will cut automatically. You can feel the heavy and safe build quality by operating the doors that shut with a big thunk. Fiat currently doesn’t have a huge reach but there are over 100 dealerships and service centres pan India. The Avventura comes with three years of warranty. Fiat India offers 24/7 call center and roadside assistance to its customers.

The Avventura powered by Abarth is an exciting crossover

Verdict – After driving the Abarth Punto, the Avventura powered by Abarth makes little or no sense to me. At the same price you are getting stylish exteriors, exclusive Abarth detailing and performance tuned mechanicals in the Abarth Punto but nothing special with the Avventura. Also, the crossover doesn’t feel much involving to drive. However, if you stop comparing it with the Punto, you can find a practical, stylish looking car in the Avventura that goes like a rocket with a bomb of an engine. It is a tad expensive for what it is but if you want a jacked up hatch with high ground clearance, exclusivity and a powerful motor, this is it.

The Fiat Avventura powered by Abarth is a car targeted at a very limited range of audience. The target buyers consist of adventure seekers who are also enthusiastic drivers at the same time and those who like unconventional things in life. For people who are looking for VFM offerings, they should consider the new crop of premium hatchbacks and compact SUVs.

The free revving T-Jet loves to redline at 6500 RPM

What’s Cool

* Unconventional crossover inspired styling on a hatch with tail mounted spare wheel
* Shiny 16-inch Scorpion alloys gather attention
* Adrenaline pumping 1.4-litre T-Jet offers strong performance
* Ride quality is flat and high speed stability is excellent
* Feedback rich hydraulic steering is a charm to use around corners

What’s Not So Cool

* Very few or no changes on the exteriors and interiors
* Considerable body roll hampers the sharp handling quality
* The Avventura isn’t a VFM offering

Alternatives: Ford EcoSport EcoBoost

140 ponies under the hood put a wide grin on your face

Fiat Avventura Abarth Specifications

* Engine: 1368cc, T-Jet, 4-cylinder, Turbocharged, DOHC, 16V
* Power: 140 HP @ 5500 RPM
* Torque: 210 Nm @ 2000-4000 RPM
* Transmission: 5-speed manual
* 0-100 km/hr: 9.9 seconds
* Top Speed: 190 km/hr
* Fuel Consumption: 10 km/l
* Fuel Type: Petrol
* Suspension: McPherson Struts (Front), Torsion Beam (Rear)
* Tyres: 195/55/16
* Brakes: All discs, ABS
* Safety: Dual Airbags, ABS, EBD, Seatbelt Pretensioners

Fiat Avventura Abarth Dimensions

* Overall length x width x height: 3989 mm X 1706 mm X 1542 mm
* Wheelbase: 2510 mm
* Ground clearance: 205 mm
* Turning radius: 5-metres
* Boot Volume: 280-litres
* Fuel Tank Capacity: 45-litres
* Kerb Weight: 1200 kgs (est.)

The Avventura Abarth is a crazy machine & not meant for the faint hearted

Further Reading

Fiat Abarth Punto, Avventura Abarth First Drive Review
Fiat Avventura Test Drive Review
Fiat Avventura Diesel Test Drive Review
Fiat Avventura vs Ford EcoSport – Shootout
Fiat Avventura vs Hyundai i20 Active vs Toyota Etios Cross – Shootout
Fiat Abarth Punto Test Drive Review