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I just realized today that my manual Abarth has a hill assist feature, where it will hold the brakes for a second so you don't roll backwards on a hill. I never heard this feature publicized. Just thought it was interesting.
 

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Yeah, I have an automatic with the hill assist feature, and nobody told me about it. The salesman didn't say anything. The guy who delivered the car said nothing about it, and I did not see it anywhere in the promotional literature. To me, its an important feature, more important than the sound deadening windshield, which they made a fuss about.
 

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I dislike it and also wish there was a way to disable... why Fiat thought we would need so much "assistance" when driving is beyond me.
+1. A nuisance at best. My bimmer also has it but in a much less intrusive manner -- does not engage on very slight slope at all, and when it does engage on steeper inclines, it releases fast enough so it is rarely felt as an impediment to a fast take-off.

I learned to drive on a car that was derived from a Fiat 124 -- a VAZ 2106/Lada 1600 -- and I have fondly missed the basic simplicity of such machines ever since. Hydraulic brakes and clutch were about the only assisted functions I think; other than that it was all "manual labor" -- and I loved every minute of it.

To the subject at hand, utilizing a hand brake for uphill starts and in other situations is to me yet another essential -- and pleasant -- aspect of driving experience.
 

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+1. A nuisance at best. My bimmer also has it but in a much less intrusive manner -- does not engage on very slight slope at all, and when it does engage on steeper inclines, it releases fast enough so it is rarely felt as an impediment to a fast take-off.

I learned to drive on a car that was derived from a Fiat 124 -- a Lada 2106 -- and I have fondly missed the basic simplicity of such machines ever since. Hydraulic brakes and clutch were about the only assisted functions I think; other than that it was all "manual labor" -- and I loved every minute of it.

To the subject at hand, utilizing a hand brake for uphill starts and in other situations is to me yet another essential -- and pleasant -- aspect of driving experience.
My other car, a 2012 Cruze Eco MT6, doesn't have this feature. I learned to drive a manual on that car 5 years ago, having owned only automatics prior. I totally agree that I prefer the less intrusive, less assisted driving dynamic in the few cars I've driven that had fewer assists.

For the last 3 years, I towed a 14' boat with the Cruze. I learned clutch control and take-off using the handbrake very well, especially on very wet ramps. The 124 Abarth makes it a little too easy, but I appreciate it simply due to the reduced wear on the clutch having to stop a car that's rolling backward (however little it does if you're not using the handbrake).
 

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For the last 3 years, I towed a 14' boat with the Cruze. I learned clutch control and take-off using the handbrake very well, especially on very wet ramps. The 124 Abarth makes it a little too easy, but I appreciate it simply due to the reduced wear on the clutch having to stop a car that's rolling backward (however little it does if you're not using the handbrake).
Oh, I won't debate at all the variety of useful potential with this feature -- especially in specific cases like towing things. I see how one can prefer to have it and how it can even be a useful safety add-on, I suppose.

Towing 14' boats with a 124 Abarth -- no comment there, although I will admit to feeling almost intrigued :)
 

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I can't stand it and sincerely hope that one of the tuners is working on a way to disable it. Been driving manuals for 35 years and I too am perfectly happy with using the handbrake on the odd really steep hill. The problem I have with it is that it seems to be always on. Even on the slightest of hills.To the point where it feels like my brakes are dragging when it finally does release. A friend of mine that drove the car noticed the same thing and said he though maybe the brakes were sticking before I informed him of this "feature". And I think the argument could be made that it wont necessarily save clutch wear. In fact my gut feeling is that it could increase clutch wear by being slow to release when it isn't required in the first place.
 

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Living in a hilly city will get you to appreciate feature. Albuquerque is not San Francisco, but we have plenty of opportunities to utilize hill assist. I drove a manual rent car in San Francisco some years ago and can tell you that stop and go traffic on Nob Hill can be injurious to your car's front and rear without hill assist. I don't find it intrusive at all on the Spider, since I didn't even notice I had it for months.

Any car with an ABS system is a no-brainer for hill assist. It costs Fiat nearly nothing to add that feature.
 

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Oh, I won't debate at all the variety of useful potential with this feature -- especially in specific cases like towing things. I see how one can prefer to have it and how it can even be a useful safety add-on, I suppose.

Towing 14' boats with a 124 Abarth -- no comment there, although I will admit to feeling almost intrigued :)
I only used the towing example to point out that I've had my fair share of having to accelerate from an incline in tricky conditions, so I certainly don't need it in the 124 Abarth. I'd never tow with the 124 Abarth.
 

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You just have to rev the engine higher and earlier to make sure you have enough power. The brakes release and the clutch catches almost simultaneously, so you have to be ready. I've found that releasing the clutch enough to make the brakes release, then pushing it back in a millimeter or so before proceeding with full release seems to give the engine enough room to recover smoothly.

Rather than fight it and curse, a bit of technique and it's no big deal as far as I've seen.
 

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You just have to rev the engine higher and earlier to make sure you have enough power. The brakes release and the clutch catches almost simultaneously, so you have to be ready. I've found that releasing the clutch enough to make the brakes release, then pushing it back in a millimeter or so before proceeding with full release seems to give the engine enough room to recover smoothly.

Rather than fight it and curse, a bit of technique and it's no big deal as far as I've seen.
I always drive with the Stability Control Off. Once I figure out how to defeat the Hill Assist, I am going to look into retrofitting the electric power steering with a manual ball screw drive, then seeing about changing the ignition over to points and condensers. I am also going to run a 30 weight mineral oil because I like the authentic engine noises real oil provides. I miss the days of throwing buckets of hot water onto my Triumph downdraft carburetors in the winter in order to get the car to start. :)>:)
 

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I would be with you but it is not necessary as we have a Bugeye Sprite that has all those features :)

Ps Love hill hold wish the S2000 had it. Wasn't sure when I first got the ABARTH 500, but I grew to like it.
 

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I was unaware of this feature until someone else on here mentioned it (Fiat should do a better job in promoting it).

I've been driving a manual for 45 years so no need for such a feature, but for my daughter who is learning to drive a stick now, this is a great feature. Who knows, wife may be able to drive the car too. A little hill locally, brought her to tears when teaching her to drive a stick on my NA Miata.

If there was a 1% chance that I was getting an Auto, this feature totally eliminates that possible need.

Congratulations to FIAT for adding this to the car and making it possible for newer enthusists to enjoy. I feel the same way about the Bonderant Driving School. Not something I've seen offered for a $30K car.
 

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I would be with you but it is not necessary as we have a Bugeye Sprite that has all those features :)

Ps Love hill hold wish the S2000 had it. Wasn't sure when I first got the ABARTH 500, but I grew to like it.
The Sprite was so far ahead of its time.
 

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We have this as part of the Giulietta QV that has now been sold. Although Melbourne is not that hilly, we've found this feature more than useful. It did take us quite a while to get used to it, and I have to admit that my wife got used to it first.

I think as you learn the car more and more, they'll stick out less
 

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Not a fan. It was switchable in the 500, and I left it off after the first hour. Really wish this one were switchable, or at least deactivated when traction control was switched off.

A few times this winter, it would over-enthusiastically lock up the brakes when the car was still inching forward on an icy hill. Then the only way to get it to release was to apply enough torque to cause the wheels to spin, which then lost all traction and started the car slipping backwards. Total momentum killer in a situation where momentum is your only hope.

Even in dry conditions, in hilly city traffic, it jumps in way too early for my taste.
 

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At first I tought the brakes were sticking for some reason. I love the feature given that I share time with other car that is also manual, totally different clutch feel. If I jump into the Spider, it takes a short time to get my driving reconfigured to the new clutch feel. Comes in super handy driving Mount-Royal (Montreal). I do agree Fiat should offer choice (always) and allow to disable (just like traction control).
 

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After some time getting used to it, I really like hill assist. It especially helps in traffic when people are right on your bumper, as they do in LA.
 
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