Fiat Abarth Venom: Fiat’s retro hatchback reveals its dark side

Fiat Abarth VenomWhen Spider-Man encountered an alien symbiote, he got a new costume and a bad attitude. The “Friendly Neighborhood Spider-Man” became Venom, history’s most murderous doppelganger. Thanks to an infusion of performance parts from Magnetti Marelli, the formerly cute Fiat 500 has a sinister new look, but does it have the personality of its namesake?

Magnetti Marelli is an aftermarket parts company owned by Fiat, analogous to Chrysler’s Mopar parts division. Last year, it put rally car suspension on a Dodge Avenger to test the waters of the U.S. Market. Now, the company is back with the Abarth Venom, which was unveiled to a group of journalists in Las Vegas.

The biggest change is in the Fiat’s weight. Magnetti Marelli (and Mopar) installed a carbon fiber hood, mirrors, and front splitter. The dashboard trim and seats also got a carbon makeover. As a result,the car lost 200 pounds, bringing its weight down to around 2300.

Under that carbon fiber hood, a reprogrammed engine control unit, as well as a new air intake and exhaust, will boost power output. Fiat said the modifications give the Venom 25 percent more power than a regular 500 Abarth, which on a U.S.-spec car means about 200 horsepower. The Venom also gets front and rear strut braces to stiffen the chassis.

A lighter 500 with more power and attitude seems like a pretty good idea. A carbon fiber hood on a bright yellow Honda Civic might be a little too Fast & Furious, but on a totally blacked-out car, it looks downright sinister. The fact that this is a Fiat 500, one of the most un-intimidating cars around, just makes the effect cooler.

Magnetti Marelli and Mopar said they had no plans to bring the Venom’s parts to the U.S. And, admittedly, it may not be as appealing in America as it would in Europe. On the Continent, small hatchbacks like the Vauxhall Corsa Nurburgring and the forthcoming Ford Fiesta ST are popular. In the U.S., performance junkies prefer larger, C-segment cars like the Subaru WRX and Volkswagen GTI.

Still, not every trend needs to be followed. Mini continues to sell the John Cooper Works versions of its cars; they come with plenty of performance add-ons and, and inflated price tags. If Fiat is going to remain a one-model brand in the United States, the company might want to follow Mini’s example and build several different versions to tap different market segments. The Venom could show customers that the 500 isn’t all about being cute, the same way that symbiote showed comic book readers Pter Parker’s dark side.


Ford teams up with Walmart to study consumer response to autonomous delivery

Last week it was Ford and VW, and this week Ford and Walmart are signaling a desire to work together on autonomous vehicles solutions. Ford and the giant retailer will study consumer reactions to self-driving delivery vehicles.

Our favorite fuel-efficient cars are as frugal as they are fun

You don't need to opt for a hybrid or an all-electric ride in order to achieve good fuel economy. These vehicles pack both performance and style, whether you're in the market for a luxury sedan or a game-changing pickup truck.

From Rolls-Royce to Lamborghini, these are the most expensive cars in the world

If you recently discovered an oil reserve in your backyard, you probably have some extra cash to spend. Look no further, because we’ve rounded up the most expensive cars in the world.

The best sleeping bags to help you conquer the cold, no matter what season it is

A proper sleeping bag has the ability to make or break a camping or backpacking trip. Here are our picks for the best sleeping bags on the market to help you choose the correct bag for any type of outdoor adventure.
Home Theater

The best movies on Netflix in November, from 'The Witch’ to ‘Dracula’

Save yourself from hours wasted scrolling through Netflix's massive library by checking out our picks for the streamer's best movies available right now, whether you're into explosive action, witty humor, or anything else.

Out of juice? Learn how to jump-start a car with this quick guide

Jumping a car is a simple procedure, but not everyone knows how to properly do so. To make things easier, we've put together a quick-hit guide on how to fire up your vehicle using jumper cables and a second power source.

Many adults believe fully self-driving cars are already traversing U.S. highways

The American Automobile Association tested cars with features such as lane-keeping and adaptive cruise control and found them lacking in real-world conditions. Forty percent of surveyed U.S. adults think self-driving cars exist now.

Born to run (forever): The most reliable cars you can buy right now

We all dread the thought of our car turning into a money pit, but choosing a dependable vehicle from the start can help us rack up countless care-free miles. Here, we've rounded up some of the most reliable cars available.

Prep your car for the coming snow and sleet with these cold weather tips

Driving in the winter, whether downtown or across the country, is rarely easy. Luckily, we've put together a quick rundown of a few things you should do to winterize your car before the snow officially hits.
DT Daily

DT Daily: Waymo’s driverless cars, ‘Fallout 76’ tips, and Racella

In today's episode of DT Daily, we discuss Waymo's foray into the ridesharing sector, along with various tips for making the most of the recently launched Fallout 76. We also sit down with singer Racella to chat about her new EP, Waves.

Want to keep connected on the road? Here are 5 ways to add Bluetooth to your car

The best way to make an old ride feel young again is to bring it up speed with the 21st century. Here's how to properly add Bluetooth to your vehicle, via independent kits, vehicle adapters, or aftermarket head units.

Jeep’s outdoorsy Gladiator pickup truck bares it all ahead of schedule

Jeep will introduce the long-promised Wrangler-based pickup truck at the 2018 Los Angeles Auto Show. Named Gladiator, the model was designed to conquer the great outdoors, not for the construction site.

The hamster-friendly 2020 Kia Soul will rock out at the Los Angeles Auto Show

Kia has released a teaser image to preview the next Soul. Scheduled to make its debut at the 2018 Los Angeles Auto Show, the 2020 Soul will keep the outgoing model's boxy proportions but it will wear a sharper design.

2020 Toyota Corolla sedan aims to offer sharper handling, better tech

The 2020 Toyota Corolla sedan gets the same upgrades as the recently-introduced Corolla hatchback, including a firmer foundation, new engine, and more tech features. Will that be enough to keep the long-lived Corolla nameplate relevant?