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View Full Version : Abarth Hard Top vs. Sun Roof vs. Cabrio



Armchair Bronco
08-14-2013, 10:48 PM
I'm 99% certain that I'll be pulling the trigger on a black Abarth real soon now, but I need to decide between a hard top, a sun roof, and the Cabrio.

For years, I drove an Audi A4 with a sun roof and I loved it. But this summer I bought a used Ford Mustang convertible and I had a blast driving round Seattle with the top down. I'm curious what other folks think about these three offerings, pro or con.

Here's my view on things:

Hard Top: Most practical option from a price standpoint - $1,100 less than a sun roof and $4K less than the Cabrio. Maintenance and worry free, but kinda boring. Probably the least appealing option. Has the most headroom, and a quiet ride.

Sun Roof: Good compromise on price and functionality. Seems like it's big as sun roofs go. Can let in more of that great exhaust tone but still keeps the rigidity of the overall frame. Lowers the ceiling by about 2 inches (not a big deal for me as I am under 5' 11").

Cabrio: Closest thing to my Mustang's *real* convertible top. Lets in maximum amount of exhaust tone (good!). Overall noisier ride. Probably more maintenance. Roof blocks rear view partially. I also read that Cabrios have a 20% softer suspension, and 17" tires are *not* an option, either.

DIVSAbarth500
08-14-2013, 11:00 PM
Uh, get which ever one floats your boat. Why do you care what we think?

Oh, I could be wrong but I would be surprised if the cabrio doesn't have the 17" wheel option. I haven't seen a cabrio on 16s, either at the studios or on the road.

lammie200
08-14-2013, 11:28 PM
I have a sun roof Sport. Not an Abarth so I am prepared for any insults. True that the sun roof lowers the head room by about 1.75". I still like it though. It is well designed and well built for both ventilation and openness. My sister has a Lounge cab. I have driven it and liked it. She has told me that she has had some fabric separation though. Hence, I trust the sun roof a bit more for durability. She also doesn't get great gas mileage. I suppose it might be due to drag and turbulence with the top down, but have no way of knowing for sure.

Tweak
08-14-2013, 11:30 PM
Trying to avoid the sun and the harmfulness of it as well as the potential repair for the vert I went with a hardtop, what you like, want, or can accommodate likely will differ. I do not have a garage so that was also a factor in my decision, go with whatever makes you most happy.

GetsThruBuckner
08-14-2013, 11:40 PM
I love my sunroof. Great exhaust sound while open. It looks great too! If you look at pictures of the Abarth with the sunroof open, it has a really unique look with the way the tracks slide it back. The sunroof opens up the entire front of the cabin to the open air.

P.S.- Go with Grigio! :pimp:

Fiat500USA
08-14-2013, 11:56 PM
I've driven one. The head of the Abarth program lent me his car a - Grigio with 16 inch wheels - to drive in California. The Cabrio is really special because, besides being fun to put the top back, the sound of the Abarth exhaust is there for you to enjoy in all its glory. I'd say the Abarth sounds even better from the outside and having the ability to peel the whole top back lets you hear more of the that sweet music. I hated giving him his car back!

Joeremi
08-15-2013, 12:17 AM
I drove all three, then drove home with a Cabrio today. The hardtop is great if you really don't care to ever have an open roof, and/or want to take it to the track.

I hated the sunroof. It has a mesh slider-cover which still lets sun in through the glass when closed. I drove it in today's 90-degree sun, and it cooked my forehead even with the A/C blasting. I think MINI's are set up this way, too..I don't understand it.

The Cabrio is awesome. Looks-wise it retains the lines of the car, but also adds a touch of class to it. I've had a ragtop before and didn't use it much, but I think things will be different this time: I drove home with it open to the first position and laughed my head off at the sound of that little engine. Yes, it will take more attention than the hardtop cars, but I had to have it!

ReconTopher
08-15-2013, 12:19 AM
I'm going to be biased so I'll just offer this.

For the cabrio top, immediately put on some fabric protectant, raggtopp or 303. When the top is down and the driver's window is open, air will come into the seat belt retract opening and squeal like a stuck pig when it hits just right, and it is often. Depending on your height and seating position, when the top is all the way down, you can take off and reinstall the rear view mirror and it will give you back a proper rear view via the mirror. Also the A pillars will warp and become wavy and pop out of their groove.

Spool500
08-15-2013, 12:24 AM
Abarth Cabrio does have the 17" wheel options... I know this because I bought my Cabrio with the Nero 17"s. Cabrio/Sunroof/hardtop all have the same options. as far as the suspension, I heard the cabrio is softer than the hardtop, but I doubt 20%. ive driven both version and they felt very similar in all aspects

msjulie33
08-15-2013, 12:29 AM
I drove all three, then drove home with a Cabrio today.!


:) Love the drop tops.

msjulie33
08-15-2013, 12:30 AM
I'm going to be biased so I'll just offer this.

For the cabrio top, immediately put on some fabric protectant, raggtopp or 303. When the top is down and the driver's window is open, air will come into the seat belt retract opening and squeal like a stuck pig when it hits just right, and it is often. Depending on your height and seating position, when the top is all the way down, you can take off and reinstall the rear view mirror and it will give you back a proper rear view via the mirror. Also the A pillars will warp and become wavy and pop out of their groove.

I did spray the silicon protection on my car's top. My car is only just under 2 years, no waving or other at the A pillar. Only top-down first-world problem is that the inside top is a light color and it's gotten a little dirty cause I drive with the top down nearly all the time.

Joeremi
08-15-2013, 12:46 AM
...cause I drive with the top down nearly all the time.

You should know this had a big effect on my decision to go with the Cabrio. You mentioned it a couple days ago, and it was ringing in my ears at the dealer. ;-)

Wheels/suspension: I saw several Cabrio's with 17-inch wheels today. As someone else said, I drove all three types of Abarth and noticed no difference in ride quality. If the Cabrio's suspension is different, it doesn't show. All of them are short, semi-bouncy cars on choppy pavement.

Armchair Bronco
08-15-2013, 02:44 AM
Great feedback! Just to be clear, I can't decide between the three options, and I love getting anecdotal feedback from people in the trenches. I'm sure all three flavors would float my boat in different ways, but nothing beats getting twenty different suggestions from 20 different forum users!

The maintenance issue for a Cabrio is worth considering given how much rain there is in Seattle. But then again, maybe the sun is more of a threat...and too much sun isn't really an issue in Seattle. We have 300 days of rain each year. :-(

It was not good to read that the sun roof cover is only a mesh. I would have expected a sliding cover that completely blocks the sun. But this still gives me the option to open this up and hear the exhaust symphony on a nice, dry day.

Bottom line: I just need to test drive all 3 offerings and then go with my heart. Still have only been reading about The Abarth and looking at car porn! Need to change that!

danglez
08-15-2013, 03:07 AM
I've got an Abarth cabrio and absolutely love having the top all the way down to hear that exhaust note. As ReconTopher mentioned the seat belt does whistle occasionally. But it doesn't happen to me that much. Wondering if I actually just dont hear it because I'm too busy enjoying the exhaust lol! A protectant for the fabric roof is a must.

I will say that there is more headroom in the cabrio than there is on the sunroof version when it was closed. So that was another deal breaker for me. Also the fact that there aren't that many Abarth Cabrios makes it that much more unique IMHO. I live just north of you in Vancouver so I feel you about the rain but with the proper protectant like raggtop or Auto Glym's convertible top maintenance system. Water beads right off. Good luck, you can't go wrong with any Abarth!

Jps
08-15-2013, 06:22 AM
+1 for the sunroof. I was on the fence. It was well worth the price and adds to the spaciousness of the cabin, open or closed IMO. I did like the idea of the hardtop but after a few test drives I favored the glass roof and how it broke up the Rosso color.

BigT
08-15-2013, 07:58 AM
I have never been a fan of rag tops so the cabrio was not even on my radar. I sat in a sunroof model and with the seat all the way down and seat back leaned about as far back as I could before it was uncomfortable to reach the steering wheel my head was still rested firmly against the headliner. So for me the hard top was the obvious room good bit of clearance between the roof and my dome and I don't have to worry about the top of my head getting sunburned in the summer time lol.

SLOWAbarth
08-15-2013, 09:05 AM
The sun roof and nav are the only two options that I did NOT want... the heavy sun roof changes your center of gravity and adds some weight, I bet at least 30lbs. That is 30lbs on the roof of the car, now if you are going to rip corners or drive it hard, then opt out of the sun roof. If you are just cruising and playing here and there, then who cares, it's up to you!

cmj912
08-15-2013, 09:49 AM
Great feedback! Just to be clear, I can't decide between the three options, and I love getting anecdotal feedback from people in the trenches. I'm sure all three flavors would float my boat in different ways, but nothing beats getting twenty different suggestions from 20 different forum users!

The maintenance issue for a Cabrio is worth considering given how much rain there is in Seattle. But then again, maybe the sun is more of a threat...and too much sun isn't really an issue in Seattle. We have 300 days of rain each year. :-(

It was not good to read that the sun roof cover is only a mesh. I would have expected a sliding cover that completely blocks the sun. But this still gives me the option to open this up and hear the exhaust symphony on a nice, dry day.

Bottom line: I just need to test drive all 3 offerings and then go with my heart. Still have only been reading about The Abarth and looking at car porn! Need to change that!

I don't think, given 300 days of rain that the mesh cover is really going to annoy you that much. I live in New England and honestly during the 'dark months' it is nice that it still lets in some light.
:D
It is the people in the Southwest/Texas/Florida (the 'hot' states) I really feel for.

That said, there are vendors here that sell a small pop-on deflector that is said to work very well. The coolest thing about FIAT's sunshade is that you can open the roof and close the shade, which is a big no-no in most other cars.

lammie200
08-15-2013, 11:59 AM
I don't think, given 300 days of rain that the mesh cover is really going to annoy you that much. I live in New England and honestly during the 'dark months' it is nice that it still lets in some light.
:D
It is the people in the Southwest/Texas/Florida (the 'hot' states) I really feel for.

That said, there are vendors here that sell a small pop-on deflector that is said to work very well. The coolest thing about FIAT's sunshade is that you can open the roof and close the shade, which is a big no-no in most other cars.

Also, I could be wrong but I think that the mesh on 2013's is a bit more dense than what is on 2012's. You can also tint the roof glass if it really bothers you.

Joeremi
08-15-2013, 12:06 PM
I don't think, given 300 days of rain that the mesh cover is really going to annoy you that much. I live in New England and honestly during the 'dark months' it is nice that it still lets in some light.
:D
It is the people in the Southwest/Texas/Florida (the 'hot' states) I really feel for.

That said, there are vendors here that sell a small pop-on deflector that is said to work very well. The coolest thing about FIAT's sunshade is that you can open the roof and close the shade, which is a big no-no in most other cars.

Saying "I hate the sunroof" was probably a bit over the top. Someone else here also mentioned that in climes where it's cloudy/rainy much of the year, the added light from the sunroof is a plus.

whatebahw
08-15-2013, 12:13 PM
I originally wanted a hardtop (and the smaller wheels) because I subscribe to "the Zonker theory". Less weight is better. A large sunroof or convertible top can add many pounds of unnecessary weight and a little weight loss goes a long way with a small engine like this. In the case of the sunroof and cabrio that weight is up top as well. That being said, I think the sunroof and cabrio option weigh much less than I initially thought.


Also I'm cheap. Plus the only Abarth on the lot was a hard top.

lammie200
08-15-2013, 12:24 PM
Since I may never be able to own a true sports car, a 500 may be the closest that I will get to having one. Thus, I am modding mine a bit to go faster. I never considered the added weight. I just like the feeling of some openness at the top. For me the only downside is less headroom. I got used to that pretty quickly and am very pleased that I went the sunroof route.

hownowcb
08-15-2013, 01:17 PM
My last 10 or so cars have all had sunroofs, and I must say I've been impressed with the build quality of all of them, with neither factory original nor aftermarket roofs leaking a single drop of water, ever. I worship the sun, so it's nice to have the "openness" of a glass top in a place like Minnesota, where sunshine often feels as rare as it must in the Pacific Northwest.

I've also owned one convertible, which I thoroughly enjoyed as well. Again though, the local climate can take a toll. Some of the best sunny days here are way too hot and humid to have a convertible top retracted! Plus, a glass sunroof helps lighten up the otherwise incredibly black darkness of the Abarth interior! (Try finding something like a paperclip that's fallen on the floor somewhere!) I even chose grey WeatherTech floormats to help lighten up the interior, and which don't look out of place in my grigo Abarth.

As for the all-the-time-glass top, I cut a piece of reflectix insulating material to fit the opening, and can slip it between the retractible screen and the glass to completely block out the sun when I want to. Rolled up, it tucks under the passenger, seat out of sight. My car is usually parked inside a garage, but the reflectix is nice for when it has to sit outside, baking in the sun, and really makes a difference. One vendor sells a hard shell which apparently can also be slipped into place, but it's obviously way more expensive than a small roll of reflectix. I'm also unsure of where you'd store it when it's not in use.

As some others have said, test all three versions, and the best choice will eventually come to you. I'd have been happy with any of the choices, but am most happy with my sunroof.

duster497
08-15-2013, 01:47 PM
My original plan was to get the Cabrio next year and still have my crappy Vibe for hauling/dogs etc. However, a drastic change in circumstance moved that scenario to last month and getting rid of the Vibe. As much as I wanted the Cabrio, cost and practicality dictated a hardtop. I really needed the full hatchback aspect as the Abarth is now my daily driver. I couldn't get the sunroof because of cost and headroom. I barely fit and my partner couldn't fit at all. That all being said at the end of the day, for me it's about how the car drives and really they all drive the same!! Down the road, I *might* have an aftermarket sunroof installed, but for now, I love my Abarth as it is :D

Armchair Bronco
08-15-2013, 09:17 PM
In the interest of accuracy, I have to admit that the "300 Days of Rain in Seattle Per Years" turns out to be an urban myth. The always accurate Internet says that Seattle actually has an average of 226 cloudy days per year (which is still among the worst in the nation). Of that total, approximately 150 are days with measurable rain.

However, the killer in Seattle is that we tend to have lots and LOTS of days of consecutive rainy or drizzle-filled days. Back in 2011 we almost set some kind of records with more than 40 days without sun!

Bottom line: The Hard Top edition is pretty much off the table. When the sun does peek out, I need either a sun roof or the Cabrio to get some much-needed Vitamin D!

Bigcanoe
08-18-2013, 01:18 PM
Hard to measure I know, but how much louder are they on the highway with open sun roof or cabrio?

melanzane
08-18-2013, 06:41 PM
In Florida where I live we get close to 300 days of rain. I have a 500c with tan top that's parked outside. I made mistake of not protecting the top and it got moldy after less than a year. It was a beatch to clean, but I use protectant now and try to cover the car as well.

Covercraft makes weatherproof covers specifically for the Cabrios, including a modified version for Abarth Cabrio. For about $275, it is well worth it.

Only other downside of Cabrio is that it gets LOUD in downpours. But for regular driving, road noise is not bad.

But open that puppy at night or during mild weather and you will be SO happy to have a Cabrio. For me, worth the money. I also have an Abarth Cabrio.

JoeB
08-19-2013, 12:39 AM
I've had my Cabrio almost a week, and have had the top open to the first position almost the whole time! I don't remember dropping the top all that often on my Boxster, and never opened the sunroof on the car I just traded. I don't know what it is about this car that makes the difference (the sound?), but I love driving top down in the thing. Get a Cabrio!

cmj912
08-19-2013, 08:43 AM
A true 500 sunroof (for the purist, anyway) would be the large fabric square that opens mechanically. I suppose in some respects both versions are the best of both worlds. What you trade in headroom in the sunroof you gain (if you're short enough, anyway) in the larger rear window, hatch, and wiper. In the cabrio you get a much larger area of 'open'.

What I don't like about either is the electronics. What I wouldn't give for the old SAAB pull-and-slide or Peugeot's twist-and-pull. When one sees that many of these 20 and 30+ year-old cars still have perfectly functional sunroofs one starts to see the advantages of good old fashioned cogs and bolts.

Tweak
08-19-2013, 10:24 AM
I've had my Cabrio almost a week, and have had the top open to the first position almost the whole time! I don't remember dropping the top all that often on my Boxster, and never opened the sunroof on the car I just traded. I don't know what it is about this car that makes the difference (the sound?), but I love driving top down in the thing. Get a Cabrio!

Gotta be the sound! I move the car sometimes and have moved from one driveway to another while leaving the hatch open and the sound is great, makes me wish I could drive down the road with it open so I can hear it more...haha. :D

stratofortress
08-19-2013, 05:50 PM
Having owned all three options now (Celica with sunroof, vert Mercedes and hardtop Abarth), they all have their merits and drawbacks. How adverse are you to repairs should mechanical problems arise (yay for warranty)? How much do you enjoy motoring? Do you like vitamin D? All factors you have to weigh on your own.

Being in CA, I would have definitely sprung for the cabrio had I not just given up my Benz. It takes extra time and care to properly maintain a fabric top, but man when it's a crisp morning or a warm summer night, nothing beats putting her down and ripping on the throttle. Plus, the design of the Fiat cabrio is really neat, and I have a feeling not quite as complicated as German brands. If you want no frills, no headaches just go for the hardtop. For a compromise, go for the sunroof. But you only live once, so really, go for the cabrio :)

wilbmeister
08-20-2013, 08:41 AM
I've had the sunroof model for 6 months and 10K miles. I think it's great. I am 6 feet tall and I don't hit my head at all. The roof is one of the better sunroofs I have had in any car. With the roof open I don't get buffeting like I have in other cars with a sunroof and it's not that loud. We all have our preferences on what we like and don't like. You just have to pick what you like best. The folks who have the cabrio love that look and I don't. That doesn't mean it's not a great car. They are all fantastic.
Someone on here said that you can't drive spirited in the sunroof model. I totally disagree. I put in a different rear sway bar and the car is on rails driving through turns and tight corners. Plus I love how the sunroof looks when open.
Just post pics when you finally get one!