2017 FIAT 124 Spider
- Endlessly entertaining to pilot around tight turns
- Manual soft top is extremely easy to lower and raise
- Prices are very reasonable, even in the loaded versions
- Surprisingly comfortable ride on the highway
- Cabin is a tight fit for tall passengers
- Automatic transmission is sometimes slow to downshift
- Steering wheel shift paddles are only available on the Abarth.
- Technology interface isn't as user-friendly as some rivals
2017 FIAT 124 Spider pricingin Ashburn, VA
Edmunds' Expert Review
Fiat's modern presence in the United States is defined by its pint-size 500 coupe and the 500L and 500X small crossovers. But back in the 1960s, another car defined the Italian automaker's reputation in America. With a body shaped by the legendary Pininfarina design house, the 124 Spider roadster became the best-selling Fiat in the U.S. by the time the company exited the market in 1983. Now, the vehicle that made Fiat famous is back, and this time the seductive Italian sheet metal conceals a very familiar face indeed.
The newest iteration of Mazda's iconic Miata provides the underpinnings of the 2017 Fiat 124 Spider, but this is more than just a Miata wrapped in a modern interpretation of Pininfarina's original design. Fiat has replaced the Miata's 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine (155 horsepower and 148 pound-feet of torque) with its own turbocharged 1.4-liter four-cylinder mill found in the Jeep Renegade, Fiat 500X and 500 Abarth. In the 124 Spider, it makes 160 hp and 184 lb-ft in the Classica and Lusso trims, while a less restrictive exhaust on the Abarth version bumps it to 164 hp.
The new Fiat 124 is based on the Mazda Miata, but revised styling and unique headlights and taillights give it a distinctive look.
The body is slightly bigger, with an extra 3 inches in front to accommodate the engine and two inches in the rear for proportionality, which also slightly increases the size of the trunk (4.9 cubic feet versus the Miata's 4.6 cubic feet of space). The 124's wheelbase (the distance between the front and rear wheels) is unchanged, so the cabin is the same size and looks nearly identical, save for a few key differences. The body-colored plastic that adorns the top of the Miata's doors has been replaced by soft-touch plastic. Extended use of sound-deadening material makes the 124 Spider noticeably quieter, especially at highway speeds. Both fabric and leather upholsteries feel a bit more upscale in terms of quality than those found in the Miata. The suspension is a completely different tune, one that makes the 124 feel more comfortable and relaxed on pocketed roads.
Sounds good, right? It is. It might be worth your while to still check out the Mini Cooper convertible, though. It's still fun to drive, is more comfortable and can be personalized to a much higher degree. It also has a backseat, albeit a very small one. And if you're willing to spend a bit more, you could get the Nissan 370Z roadster with its 332-hp V6. Even among these competitors, though, the 2017 Fiat 124 Spider stands apart. If you're looking for an affordable roadster that expertly combines luxury and thrills, this newly reborn Fiat is certainly worth strong consideration.
Standard safety features on the 2017 Fiat 124 Spider include antilock disc brakes, side airbags and stability and traction control. A rearview camera is available on all trims, while a blind-spot monitor, rear cross-traffic alert and rear parking sensors can be ordered on the Lusso and Abarth via the Safety and Comfort package.
2017 FIAT 124 Spider configurations
The 2017 Fiat 124 Spider is a two-seat roadster offered in three trim levels: Classica, Lusso and Abarth. There is also a Prima Edizione version based on the Lusso trim. It is limited to 124 units.
Standard features on the base Classica include 16-inch alloy wheels, a manually retractable black soft top with a glass rear window, LED taillights, air-conditioning, push-button ignition, a height-adjustable driver seat, a tilt-only steering wheel, a leather-wrapped steering wheel and shift knob, power accessories, cruise control, Bluetooth phone and audio connectivity and a six-speaker sound system with a USB port, an auxiliary input and a 3-inch display screen.
The Classica is available with a Technology package (Fiat calls their options packages "Collections") that adds keyless push-button entry, a rearview camera, an additional USB port, HD radio and a 7-inch touchscreen.
The touchscreen comes standard on the Lusso and Abarth.
Stepping up to the Lusso adds 17-inch wheels, automatic headlights, foglights, bright exhaust tips, automatic wipers, automatic climate control, heated seats, leather upholstery and the contents of the Technology package.
The Abarth includes all of the above, plus different exterior and interior trim, quad exhaust tips, a limited-slip rear differential, a sport-tuned suspension, adjustable driving modes and microfiber inserts for the seats. Stand-alone options include full leather or leather/simulated suede upholstery and Brembo performance brakes.
There are two packages for the Lusso and Abarth. The Safety and Comfort package includes auto-dimming mirrors, heated exterior mirrors, a blind spot monitor with rear cross-traffic alert and rear parking sensors. To this, the feature-heavy Premium (Lusso) and Luxury (Abarth) packages add adaptive LED headlights, LED daytime running lights, navigation, a nine-speaker Bose audio system and satellite radio.
The limited-edition Prima Edizione is based on the Lusso and adds special blue "Azzurro Italia" paint, a two-tone interior and a numbered production plaque.
Additional parts and accessories, including visual and performance upgrades, are available through Mopar.
The rear-wheel-drive 2017 Fiat 124 Spider is powered by a turbocharged 1.4-liter four-cylinder engine. It is rated at 160 hp and 184 lb-ft of torque on the Classica and Lusso, while the Abarth sees a slight power bump with 164 hp. A six-speed manual transmission is standard, while a six-speed automatic (with steering-wheel-mounted paddle shifters on the Abarth) is optional on all trims.
Although its horsepower and torque ratings are higher than the Miata's, the 2017 Fiat 124 Spider is heavier and therefore feels pretty similar in real-world driving. It's still a light car by any other measure, though, and it feels plenty quick and even a bit punchier at highway speeds than the Miata.
The manual transmission is excellent in everyday use, and the pedals are set up for effortless heel-and-toe shifting. The automatic transmission, however, isn't very responsive to your gas pedal inputs, so getting a downshift requires a fairly heavy foot on the pedal. The Abarth's exclusive "Sport" driving mode should sharpen the responses of the automatic. Enthusiasts should consider that version strongly, as it also adds suspension upgrades and a quad-tip exhaust that gives the engine a bit more character than the barely perceptible note with the standard exhaust.
You can have a lot of fun driving the Fiat 124, even at modest speeds.
Driving the Spider is a cinch. The precise steering and rear-drive layout give you plenty of confidence when entering a corner at high speeds. The compliant suspension dampens road imperfections and harsh impacts, making it suitable for extended highway stints. Also adding to its long-distance ability is the 124's increased amount of sound-dampening material compared to the Miata that makes the cabin noticeably quieter at highway speeds.
The Fiat 124 Spider's cabin is simply designed, but it never feels cheap. Soft-touch plastics cover the majority of the interior and feel good to the touch, especially when compared to the hard, body-colored plastic panels that adorn the perimeter of the Miata. The air-conditioning dials are simple and easy to use, as is the Mazda-sourced touchscreen that is the centerpiece for the dashboard. The interface's menus are intuitive and require little attention from the driver to operate successfully. Note that touchscreen functionality is locked while the vehicle is in motion. It is otherwise controlled by a knob located just below the shifter, which can get in the way if you are shifting your own gears.
We like the way Fiat has outfitted the 124's interior. The design is simple and trimmed in pleasing materials.
Given the Spider's compact footprint, it should come as no surprise that the cabin is fairly snug. As low-to-the-ground sports cars go, getting in and out isn't very difficult thanks to the narrow sills and shallow seat bolsters, but head- and legroom will be an issue for anyone over the 6-foot mark. Driver and passenger are likely to bump elbows, and the cabin feels especially cramped if the removable cupholders are secured in their slots at the rear of the center console. The seats themselves are very comfortable, and all seating materials feel high-quality.
The manual convertible top is so easy to use, you'll wonder why other two-seat roadsters use heavy power-operated ones. Simply unlatch the locking mechanism and throw the top over your shoulder. Practiced operators will be able to do it in just a few seconds without leaving the driver seat. Raising it is just as painless. Although the trunk is slightly larger than the Miata's, it measures at just 4.9 cubic feet, small even by roadster standards.
Most helpful consumer reviews
Features & Specs
In 1983, the Fiat 124 Spider roadster was the best-selling Fiat in the United States. Three decades later, the 124 Spider is back, now based on the current Mazda Miata.
The all-new 2017 Fiat 124 Spider is a two-seat, rear-wheel-drive roadster powered by a turbocharged 1.4-liter four-cylinder engine. It's offered in three trim levels: Classica, Lusso and Abarth. There is also a limited-edition Prima Edizione version, based on the Lusso trim. The Classica and Lusso deliver 160 horsepower, while the Abarth gets an additional 4 hp with help from a less restrictive exhaust. A six-speed manual transmission is standard on all trim levels, with a six-speed automatic as an option. If you choose the automatic transmission and want shift paddles mounted on the steering wheel, you'll have to opt for the Abarth trim level.
The interior of the 124 Spider is simple but rich. The cabin is designed with soft-touch plastics, and fabric and leather upholsteries feel more upscale than their counterparts in the Miata. The Mazda-sourced touchscreen is front and center on the dashboard, with intuitive menus that are easy to maneuver.
As you might expect, the 124 Spider's cabin is snug. While entering and exiting the roadster is fairly easy, thanks to narrow seat bolsters, headroom and legroom leave something to be desired for anyone over 6 feet tall. The driver may bump elbows with their passenger if they're not careful. The trunk, measuring in at 4.9 cubic feet, is also small — even for a roadster.
Once on the road, there isn't much about the 124 Spider that will disappoint. The suspension makes rough roads a pleasure to drive on and the extra sound-damping material creates a quiet drive, even at highway speeds. The manual transmission is perfect for everyday driving and open-road antics alike. The automatic transmission, however, isn't as reactive and requires a hefty foot to the floor to generate a downshift. The Spider's convertible soft top is manual, unlike most two-seat roadsters, but is surprisingly simple to operate.
Fuel economy for the manual transmission 124 Spider comes in at 30 mpg combined (26 city/35 highway), while the automatic transmission stands at 29 mpg combined (25 city/36 highway).
If you're in the market for an adventurous roadster with stylish details, the 124 Spider is an affordable option worth your attention. Edmunds can help you find the best 2017 Fiat 124 Spider for you.
2017 FIAT 124 Spider Overview
The 2017 FIAT 124 Spider is offered in the following submodels: 124 Spider Convertible. Available styles include Abarth 2dr Convertible (1.4L 4cyl Turbo 6M), Lusso 2dr Convertible (1.4L 4cyl Turbo 6M), and Classica 2dr Convertible (1.4L 4cyl Turbo 6M).
What do people think of the 2017 FIAT 124 Spider?
Consumer ratings and reviews are also available for the 2017 FIAT 124 Spider and all its trim types. Overall, Edmunds users rate the 2017 124 Spider 4.5 on a scale of 1 to 5 stars. Edmunds consumer reviews allow users to sift through aggregated consumer reviews to understand what other drivers are saying about any vehicle in our database. Detailed rating breakdowns (including performance, comfort, value, interior, exterior design, build quality, and reliability) are available as well to provide shoppers with a comprehensive understanding of why customers like the 2017 124 Spider.
Edmunds Expert Reviews
Edmunds experts have compiled a robust series of ratings and reviews for the 2017 FIAT 124 Spider and all model years in our database. Our rich content includes expert reviews and recommendations for the 2017 124 Spider featuring deep dives into trim levels and features, performance, mpg, safety, interior, and driving. Edmunds also offers expert ratings, road test and performance data, long-term road tests, first-drive reviews, video reviews and more.
Our Review Process
This review was written by a member of Edmunds' editorial team of expert car reviewers. Our team drives every car you can buy. We put the vehicles through rigorous testing, evaluating how they drive and comparing them in detail to their competitors.
We're also regular people like you, so we pay attention to all the different ways people use their cars every day. We want to know if there's enough room for our families and our weekend gear and whether or not our favorite drink fits in the cupholder. Our editors want to help you make the best decision on a car that fits your life.
Which 2017 FIAT 124 Spiders are available in my area?
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Should I lease or buy a 2017 FIAT 124 Spider?
Is it better to lease or buy a car? Ask most people and they'll probably tell you that car buying is the way to go. And from a financial perspective, it's true, provided you're willing to make higher monthly payments, pay off the loan in full and keep the car for a few years. Leasing, on the other hand, can be a less expensive option on a month-to-month basis. It's also good if you're someone who likes to drive a new car every three years or so.
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