2017 Fiat 124 Spider
It’s not easy when something you love changes, but there’s also no such thing as perfect.
For as much as we love the new Mazda Miata, we were on our way to drive its sister car, the one that wears a garishly oversize Fiat badge on the nose.
This is the car we jokingly refer to as the Fiata, the one that’s actually called the Fiat 124 Spider, named after Fiat’s classic 1966–1978 two-seat roadster.
This car lived on beyond that but with its name changed to Spider 2000.
Built in Hiroshima, Japan, by Mazda, Fiat’s new Spider wears its own distinct sheet-metal and is five inches longer and about 100 pounds heavier than the Miata.
Fiat didn’t change the MX-5 platform’s 90.9-inch wheelbase, which means the extra length is all in the front and rear overhangs.
Next to the Mazda, the 124’s nose looks longer and more upright.
In back, the extra length yields a larger trunk opening and an extra 0.4 cubic foot of capacity.
Italian design house Pininfarina penned the original 124 Spider, and Fiat has wisely chosen to crib some of the styling elements from it for the new car.
The 1.4-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine under the hood also marks a departure from the Mazda version and its naturally aspirated 2.0-liter twin-cam four.
There’s a nice surge of turbo boost and torque at about 2000 rpm, but the thrust tapers off beyond the 5500-rpm power peak, unlike the Miata.
The most satisfying thing is that Fiat didn’t mess up our beloved Miata.
Fiat changes with enough civility to make it more palatable to those, say, over the age of 40. It’s quieter, a bit more composed, and slightly more relaxed.
This modern 2017 Fiat 124 Spider was introduced for the 2017 model year. In place of the fourth-generation Miata’s 155-hp 2.0-liter four-cylinder and six-speed manual transmission.
Fiat offers three versions of the 2017 Fiat 124 Spider: the base Classica, the richer Lusso, and the aggressive Abarth.
The Lusso offers niceties such as heated seats, leather upholstery, rain-sensing wipers, and automatic climate control.
On all three versions, the six-speed manual transmission is standard, and it’s our preference.
Pricing starts at $25,990 for the Classica, while the automatic Lusso opens at $28,490 and the Abarth comes in at $29,190.
Now you have it: the 2017 Fiat 124 Spider reviewed
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