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Plenty of CarAdvice team members have had a serious crack at me for my choice for favourite car of the year. However, the ones who have are forgetting one critical element of any car review – fit for purpose. And that’s where the Abarth 595 nails its brief in spectacular fashion.

Since first driving it at its local launch, I’ve clocked up countless kilometres in the 595. And the Italian hatch keep reinforcing the same point over and over again: if you love Fiat and you revere the Abarth badge, the 595 will tick every box you’ve thought of and a few you haven’t. It’s quite simply, exactly what buyers will want in every sense.

It’s a hoot to drive, has a raucous exhaust note and oozes Italian design flair – in fact, I think it’s the best execution of a retro design outside the last generation of the Mustang. It evokes every classic styling cue that it needs to, and it’s fun to boot.

Sure the driving/seating position is far from perfect and a lot of testers can’t get comfortable. The interior is however, a masterful execution of packaging nous and design smarts. For instance there’s more than enough useful boot space for this to be a couple’s main conveyance around town.

The Abarth won’t be to everyone’s tastes, but if you’re cross-shopping it with a Polo GTI, you’re not an Abarth buyer in the first place. In terms of fun for dollars outlaid, the Abarth 595 is easily my pick of 2018.

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