|Trim||Engine||Drive Type||Trans.||0-60||1/4 Mile||Mpg EPA C/H/Observed||Source|
2017 Fiat 124 Spider
|Abarth||1.4L Turbo I-4||RWD||6M||6.7 sec||15.1 sec @ 91 mph||26/35/24 mpg||Car and Driver|
|Abarth||1.4L Turbo I-4||RWD||6M||6.3 sec||14.8 sec @ 93.5 mph||26/35/---- mpg||Motor Trend|
|Abarth||1.4L Turbo I-4||RWD||6M||6.5 sec||14.9 sec @ 92.6 mph||26/35/35.1 mpg||Motor Trend|
|Classica||1.4L Turbo I-4||RWD||6M||6.3 sec||14.9 sec @ 95 mph||26/35/27 mpg||Car and Driver|
|Classica||1.4L Turbo I-4||RWD||6M||6.5 sec||14.9 sec @ 93.2 mph||26/35/---- mpg||Motor Trend|
|Classica||1.4L Turbo I-4||RWD||6M||6.6 sec||15.0 sec @ 92.4 mph||26/35/---- mpg||Motor Trend|
|Lusso||1.4L Turbo I-4||RWD||6A||6.8 sec||15.3 sec @ 91 mph||25/36/21 mpg||Car and Driver|
|Lusso||1.4L Turbo I-4||RWD||6A||7.6 sec||15.8 sec @ 91 mph||25/36/27.1 mpg||Motor Week|
About Fiat 124 Spider
Some people call the Fiat 124 Spider as the Fiata, as it was built in Japan by Mazda, alongside the highly regarded Mazda Miata. So it shouldn’t surprise that both these cars share certain parts. You’ll find the same unibody structure along with the wheelbase that measures 90.9 inches, although the Fiat is a bit longer. The control arm front suspension and the multilink rear-suspension are identical in the two.
Yet the cars are very different, and that’s not just because of the badges. So let’s take a closer look at the Fiat 124 Spider to see what it’s all about.
The original 124 Spider had its back in the late 1960s and through the 1970s, with the last one leaving production in 1985 as the Pininfarina Spider. This original has served as the inspiration for the new Fiat 124 Spider and many of the style elements found in the original has made its way here in the new version. The kink in the doors in the new 124 Spider is straight from the design of the Pininfarina. So are the bulges on the hood, and even the shape of the headlight cutouts. Even the front grille opening is filled with plastic for that retro look.
The Fiat is longer, as we’ve mentioned, and the extra lengths are all found in the overhangs since the wheelbase is the same. The nose of the 124 is a bit more upright, and of course it looks longer. At the back, the extra length results in an additional 0.4 cubic foot for the cargo space. The trunk opening is also a bit larger.
You can choose between 3 trims: the Classica, Lusso, and Abarth. The Abarth is the most expensive of them all, and it shows in its apparent macho look. The look isn’t all that perfect, as the Abarth displays the ludicrously huge (and admittedly cheap-looking) scorpion badges on the nose and trunk lid. It’s about as subtle as a bargain toy replica of a professional wrestler’s championship belt.
Still, there’s no doubting the sexiness of this convertible, and the Italian heritage in its design is unmistakable.
Driving the Fiat 124 Spider
Take a peek at the engine, and you’ll find that the Fiat is powered by a 1.4L turbocharged 4-cylinder engine. It’s actually made and assembled in Italy, and it had to be shipped to the plant in Japan for the final assembly of the 124 Spider. This’ll give you 160 HP (the Abarth offers 164 horses) at 5500 rpm, along with 184 lb-ft of torque at 2500 rpm.
While you’re driving the 124 Spider, you can keep the turbo lag to a minimum by keeping the revs over 2000 rpm. But when you have to stop for a red light, it takes a while for the engine to wake up again. Still just keep it at 2000 rpm and above and you’ll get a nice dose of turbo boost and torque. Just don’t go beyond the 5500 rpm mark, as it will offer reduced thrust past this point.
Fiat says that you can go to 60 mph in 6.8 seconds, but you can probably cut that down to 6.6 seconds as you go through the 6-speed manual transmission. In the Abarth, you can even get it down to 6.2 seconds. The 6-speed automatic transmission is optional (for an extra $1,350), but the turbo engine works well with it nonetheless. It shifts very quickly, and the transmission knows how keep the torque ready when needed.
The ride quality of the 124 Spider is quite calm, without the Miata’s nervous energy. You’ll find reduced body rolls, and turning in is more gradual. The Fiat also doesn’t need as many steering corrections to keep to its lane.
The Fiat 124 Spider’s engine is also very quiet, especially when you compare it to the rambunctious Miata engine. Adding to this effect are elements like the thicker top, the acoustic windshield, and lots more sound deadening along the firewall and under the carpet.
Of course, Fiat changed things around inside. The gauge faces are different, and there are more materials here that feel softer to the touch. Like most roadsters, the legroom on the passenger side is a bit cramped. If you’re taller than 6 feet, you may have a problem if you’re the passenger. Still, the Fiat seat padding and fabric does look and feel nice, and leather is an available option. In the Abarth, you even get Recaro seats in some sort of faux suede.
With the Technology package, you also get a 7-inch central touchscreen display, along with a rearview camera and keyless entry.
All in all, this is a small roadster that can give you back the joy of driving that you may miss with SUVs and crossovers. This isn’t a family car—it’s just for you.
To learn more about Fiat 124 Spider, visit the official Fiat website.
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