Ford Fiesta ST Vs. FIAT 500 Abarth:

The hot-hatchback segment has downsized in recent years with the release of the FIAT 500 Abarth and later the Fiesta ST. But which is the better buy for our Jacksonville, Florida area buyers, the 2019 Ford Fiesta ST or 2018 FIAT 500 Abarth?


The small hot-hatchback class is all about packing as much style as possible into a teeny-tiny footprint. The Fiesta ST and 500 Abarth have this in gobs, as they feature aggressive rear spoilers, big-for-the-class wheels, eye-popping color options, and more all packed into their small footprints.

The 2019 Ford Fiesta ST and 2018 FIAT 500 Abarth are both small hatchbacks, but the FIAT 500 Abarth takes the word “small” a little too far. The 2019 Fiesta ST is the smallest model in Ford’s lineup at 160.1 inches long, 67.8 inches wide, and 57.2 inches tall. The 2018 FIAT 500 Abarth’s 144.4-inch length and 64.1-inch width make the Fiesta look big next to it. The FIAT 500 Abarth is 1.5 inches taller at 58.7 inches, giving it odd proportions.

The Fiesta ST rides on a 98-inch wheelbase, which is small, but the FIAT 500 Abarth is even smaller at 90.6 inches. The Fiesta ST’s curb weight checks in at a svelte 2,720 pounds, but the 500 Abarth is over 200 pounds lighter.

Advantage: 2018 FIAT 500 Abarth

  • Lower weight makes it more tossable
  • Tiny footprint means you can almost park it in a truck bed

Advantage: Ford Fiesta ST

  • More traditional look
  • Proportions are less cartoon-like
  • Wide platform holds the corners tighter


Like the exterior, these subcompact hot-hatchbacks focus on putting as much sporty and stylish bits inside as the limited space will allow. The Fiesta ST takes the rather basic base interior and spruces it up with grippy RECARO seats, a metal shifter knob and pedals, an “ST” badged sport steering wheel, and optional touches of contrast coloring. The 500 Abarth does roughly the same, but its contrasts are more subtle, while its flat-bottom steering wheels adds an extra dose of sportiness.

As subcompact models, the 2019 Fiesta and 2018 500 Abarth make sacrifices in interior space. In the front seats, everything is normal as the Fiesta ST offers 39.1 inches of headroom, 43.6 inches of legroom, 50.6 inches of hip room, and 52.7 inches of shoulder room. The 500 Abarth, while tighter than the Fiesta ST, also has normal measurements with 38.9 inches of headroom, 40.7 inches of legroom, 47.8 inches of hip room, and 49.4 inches of shoulder room.

In the rear is where things tighten up for both models. The Fiesta ST’s rear seats offer just 37.2 inches of headroom, 31.2 inches of legroom, 49.2 inches of hip room, and 49 inches of shoulder room. The 500 Abarth offers 0.5 inches of extra legroom relative to the Fiesta ST, but its headroom is 1.6 inches lower, hip room is 2.8 inches tighter, and its shoulder room is 6.4 inches narrower.

Cargo room is extremely tight in both hot-hatchbacks as the 2019 Fiesta ST offers just 10.1 cubic feet of cargo capacity. The FIAT 500 Abarth is even tighter at 7 cubes. Basically, if you’re buying one of these small hatchbacks to haul cargo, they will disappoint you.

Advantage: 2019 FIAT 500 Abarth

  • Flat-bottom steering wheel
  • More rear-seat legroom

Advantage: 2019 Ford Fiesta

  • Roomier cabin altogether
  • More cargo space
  • More metallic and contrasting touches


Now for what really matters to hot-hatchback buyers: performance. These models perform admirably for their class, but there are small differences. The 2019 Ford Fiesta ST uses a 1.6-liter EcoBoost turbocharged four-cylinder with 197 horsepower and 202 pound-feet of torque. This engine pairs exclusively to a six-speed manual transmission. This combination gets the Fiesta ST to 60 mph in an independently tested 6.7 seconds.

The 2018 FIAT 500 Abarth is significantly lighter, so it relies on a smaller, lighter engine. Its 1.4-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine pumps out 160 horsepower and 170 pound-feet of torque when paired to its standard five-speed manual transmission. Unlike the Fiesta ST, the 500 Abarth has an optional six-speed automatic, but opting for this will change the output to 157 horsepower and 183 pound-feet of torque. The FIAT 500 Abarth is just a fraction of a second slower to 60 mph at 6.9 seconds.

While fuel economy is not a hot-hatchback’s focus, these tiny speedsters are thriftier than expected. The 2019 Fiesta ST gets up to 25 mpg city, 32 highway, and 28 combined. The FIAT 500 Abarth is even better with its manual transmission at up to 28 mpg city, 33 highway, and 30 combined. Opting for the automatic transmission drops the Abarth to 24 mpg city, 32 highway, and 27 combined.

Advantage: 2018 FIAT 500 Abarth

  • Fuel-economy advantage
  • Optional automatic transmission

Advantage: 2019 Ford Fiesta ST

  • Quicker to 60 mph
  • Longer wheelbase helps in handling
  • More standard horsepower
  • More modern six-speed manual transmission

Pricing and Features

The FIAT 500 Abarth and 2019 Ford Fiesta ST are trims within their respective base lineups, so there are no trim levels to choose from. The 2018 FIAT 500 Abarth starts from $20,495, while the 2019 Ford Fiesta ST kicks off from $21,340.

2018 FIAT 500 Abarth Key Features and Pricing by Trim

Abarth: $20,495

  • 1.4-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine
  • Five-speed manual transmission
  • 16-inch Hyper-Black aluminum wheels
  • Performance suspension
  • Hill-start assist
  • Tinted windows
  • Body-color power mirrors with spotter mirrors
  • Chrome door handles
  • Bi-function halogen projector headlights
  • Fog lights
  • Rear spoiler
  • Bright license plate molding
  • Matte-finish door appliques
  • Side-sill ground effects
  • Dual bright exhaust tips
  • Keyless entry
  • Tilt steering
  • Rearview camera
  • Power locks
  • Power windows with front one-touch down feature
  • Luxury floor mats
  • Aluminum pedals
  • Body-color instrument panel bezels
  • Leather-wrapped instrument panel brow
  • Perforated-leather-wrapped steering wheel
  • Leather-wrapped shifter
  • 7-inch gauge cluster display
  • Chrome inside door handles
  • Cruise control
  • Power driver’s seat with memory
  • 50/50 split-folding rear seats
  • Uconnect 5.0 infotainment with 5-inch touchscreen
  • Integrated voice command
  • Bluetooth connectivity
  • Steering-wheel-mounted controls
  • USB port in the glove box
  • FIAT premium audio system

2019 Ford Fiesta ST Key Features and Pricing by Trim

ST: $21,340

  • 1.6-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine
  • Six-speed manual transmission
  • 17-inch Rado Gray-Painted aluminum wheels
  • Hill-start assist
  • Sport-tuned suspension
  • Body-color power mirrors with integrated turn signals and spotter mirrors
  • Twin chrome-tipped exhaust
  • Fog lights
  • Halogen headlights with black bezels
  • Mesh grille insert
  • Tinted glass
  • Body-color side sills
  • Rear spoiler
  • ST-logo front door-sill plates
  • Acoustic laminated windshield
  • Ambient lighting
  • Chrome inside door handles
  • Cruise control
  • Automatic climate control
  • Intelligent access
  • Keyless ignition
  • Leather-wrapped steering wheel with “ST” logo
  • Multifunction message center with LCD screen
  • Ford MyKey
  • Power windows with one-touch up/down driver’s window
  • Power door locks
  • Aluminum pedals
  • Leather-wrapped shift knob with chrome insert and red lettering
  • Sony audio system with CD player and MP3 capability
  • 6.5-inch touchscreen
  • SiriusXM
  • HD Radio
  • Two smart-charging USB ports
  • Apple CarPlay and Android Auto
  • 60/40 split-folding rear seat
  • Cloth front sport seats with “ST” logo
  • Electric power steering

Who Should Buy the 2019 Ford Fiesta ST?

The Fiesta ST is widely regarded as one of the most entertaining hot-hatchbacks on the market. Sure, it may not be as powerful as others, but its low weight and tossable nature make it a great buy for those looking for the best possible drive.

Who Should Buy the 2018 FIAT 500 Abarth?

The FIAT 500 Abarth stands out in a crowd, making it the perfect ride for those looking for something unique.

Ready to tackle the streets of Jacksonville, Orange Park, and Fleming Island, Florida in a new 2019 Ford Fiesta ST? Head to our new-car showroom serving the Jacksonville area today to test drive the Fiesta ST for yourself. If you can’t make it in today, you can check out our online inventory to see what we have in stock.

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