2017 FIAT 124 Spider Review
2017 FIAT 124 Spider Review
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Edmunds' Expert Review
Cameron Rogers has worked in the automotive industry since 2013. He has tested and reviewed hundreds of vehicles over the course of his career. Today, he leads the news team in developing cutting-edge news articles, opinion pieces and sneak peeks at upcoming vehicles. Favorite cars that he's driven during his tenure at Edmunds include the 991-era Porsche 911 Turbo S, Rolls-Royce Ghost and several generations of Honda Odyssey (really).
- 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
The Fiat 124 Spider is all-new for 2017.
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.
Calculate my fuel costs
Cost to DriveCost to drive estimates for the 2017 FIAT 124 Spider Classica 2dr Convertible (1.4L 4cyl Turbo 6M) and comparison vehicles are based on 15,000 miles per year (with a mix of 55% city and 45% highway driving) and energy estimates of $3.92 per gallon for premium unleaded in Virginia.
Monthly estimates based on costs in Virginia
$163/mo for 124 Spider Classica
124 Spider Classica
Avg. Compact Car
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.
Edmunds' Expert Rating
If the idea of a Mazda Miata with a little more class sounds like your kind of car, consider the stylish 2017 Fiat 124 Spider. It's more comfortable, powerful and quieter than the Miata it's based on, but retains the Miata's sense of adventure and fun.
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.
2017 FIAT 124 Spider models
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.
4.8 out of 5 stars
Most helpful consumer reviews
5 out of 5 stars
8 Months research and finally bought the ABARTH
Michael Lang, 04/03/2018
2017 FIAT 124 Spider Abarth 2dr Convertible (1.4L 4cyl Turbo 6M)
I had concerns over buying a FIAT. Lets face it, lemons are common but some get real good 500 ABARTHS that work well. The fact that Mazda was building the 124 inspired me to look past this. The car itself is 100 times more beautiful that the Miata version. My sticking points were ABARTHs comming to US had FIAT badge on wheel. As of March 2018 that has changed. Abarths now have proper … abarth badging on the interior for 2018 but you have to look around as there are many older versions on lots. Next sticking point was that Miata's got the Retractable Fastback and FIAT's did not. What is more Italian that the RF top. Looks like the 70's Targa tops. Fiat could have branded it a Targa and they would not have been able to keep them in stock. I know all my friends were hoping for this as well. UGH! So I bought the ARARTH in Black. Wow the color is so deep and rich in the sunlight. Pictures do not do this car justice. Must see in person. My ABARTH is a bit rough in 1st gear for a manual. Been driving manuals all my life. This one I stalled 4 times on way home from dealer. The car wants to go. Low RPMs the car lags a bit and begs you to let it breath. There are two essential tweaks that fix this. One the DV+ diverter valve allows more low end and solves some issues with the cheap plastic diverter valve that comes from the factory which is either open or closed.... No in between. This DV+ also helps prevent turbo flutter which is potentially damaging buy allowing flow the turbo air flow back though the valve as the turbo winds down between shifts. Much healthier.. Second as the high pressure through the lines can bring with it some oil, it is good to add an oil catch can on these cars to reduce the amount of oil that can get back to the throttle and multiair unit which can be damaging over time. These two changes do help the car become more bullet proof. The car shifts great and has power.. Much more than the miata which I drove several times in my search trying to decide whether to drop the Fiat and just get the targa I love and deal with the angular futurist look of the miata rather than classic Italian beauty. I got the loaded version. I suggest just getting it with all options. Bose system is awesome, Navigation is easy. While touch is disabled when the car is moving, it is easy to manage shifting and using the dial to change channels etc. so the Tech in the car is great. Was able to save all my Sirius Channel Favs on way home from dealer lot. ABARTH sounds great in either Sport of Normal. Noted the Sport mode dials up the performance a bit which did feel more responsive. Im about 5 foot 10 inches tall and hover around 200 pounds and I fit comfortably in the car. If someone is over 6 foot they may find it cramped. I love the gauges and Abarth logos on seats and steering. It gives the car uniqueness and people have no clue what the car is when they see it which Scorpion badges all over it. I was asked at a gas station if it was a Ferarri. Lol I wish. Car takes corners like a champ and those Brembo Brakes really work well. I know that squirrel thanks FAIT for its life. Convertible top is same as Miata and is sooo easy to put up or take down. Chrysler and many aftermarket sites are selling a lot of after market upgrades so this car is very good if you want to make it a track car. But.. I only bought the two items i spoke of earlier. Abarth already has limited slip diff, Front and rear anti sway bars, Front and rear strut tower braces, Brembo brakes, and a killer sounding exhaust etc.. so its more performance than most people need. Im getting around 30 MPG average which totally surprised me. In summary, this car is more than I could have hoped for. I would like to see an aftermarket company make a targa top for this car but outside of that. Its my childhood dream of owning that Triumph TR7 or Fiat X 1/9 Bertone Targa car that I could never find married to modern day conveniences. I want to slap myself for even considering buying that Miata. I would have never forgiven myself. :) I am living my childhood dream of owning and driving a EURO roadster even if it is a Miata in Drag. 1.5 Years later: so it’s fall 2019 and I was asked to update my review: in the most true sense, I fully stand behind my Decision. I love Abarths 124Spider. I drive all the time in Sport mode. It handles, drives, turns, and responds like a light weight convertible sports car should. It gets great gas mileage even though I can’t keep my foot out of it.lol It has been very reliable and I still get head turns, shouts out windows etc. of how cool my car is. I also get many pretty young women slowing down to take a second look or flirting. So it’s a confidence boost. Lol No issues mechanically at all. Just oil changes and a tire rotation. I feel my research paid off as nobody is buying them. 20 years for now I may sell one at Mecum for a major profit as a rare car. I bought 2 of them so I will keep 1 till I die for sure.
5 out of 5 stars
What a great ride!
Leo M, 12/10/2016
2017 FIAT 124 Spider Lusso 2dr Convertible (1.4L 4cyl Turbo 6M)
I purchased this Car November 19, 2016. Its a base model Lusso with no real upgrades. I have had an extended highway trip and several day trips and I have fallen in love with this car. I owned an 85 Fiat Spider 2000 and I am partial to the Italian styling evident in the body design. Needless to say the performance over the 85 model cannot be compared. The 1.4l turbo accelerates on demand … and shifts smoothly up and down. I am using the Asin auto transmission. The road handling and cornering are sharp and responsive. Even so, its a smooth highway drive even on long trips. Its not the fastest 0-60 but it is quick. In my opinion, the base sound system is adequate for all but the most serious audio enthusiasts. I stream Pandora thru my phone and the sound is terrific once adjusted for treble, bass and balance. So my major positives are style and road handling. The only major drawbacks are leg room and trunk space. I am 6'1" and I can fold my knees into a comfortable driving position, but there is not enough room for my big feet. Strangely, I have more than enough head room with the top up. If you have big feet there is limited room for the clutch, hence my selection of the auto trans. Any over 6'2" will have difficulty driving this car and they will not fit in the passenger seat due to the trim located where the glove box should be. There is very limited storage space inside the passenger compartment. The trunk has enough room for two small duffel bags and a computer bag. That's fine for my use as a weekender car. Price point for base Lusso is very attractive. In my opinion, a lot of the extras in tech package are not necessary or worth the addt expense. Lastly, when people see it they will think its a Miata or they ask what it is. Personally, I do not think it looks that much like a Miata but there are not many on the road yet, so its understandable for mistake. its a great car for those looking for a fun weekender.
5 out of 5 stars
After twelve months, we still love this car
2017 FIAT 124 Spider Lusso 2dr Convertible (1.4L 4cyl Turbo 6M)
After twelve months of ownership, we're still in love with our FIAT 124 Spider. We've taken it on several road trips, some as long as six hours of driving and 400 miles in a day. For a roadster, the ride is excellent. We never feel tired, uncomfortable, or anxious for the ride to be over. It's awesome being able to enjoy the journey as much or more than the destination. For me, the … Spider is the perfect blend of comfort, performance, and driving pleasure. Finding a nice twisting road through the mountains is pure joy. The handling is superb and the power is more than adequate to handle any situation whether it's climbing a steep grade or passing a slower vehicle. It stays planted in the curves and corners. The Spider has performed flawlessly with no problems of any kind. My original review is in the paragraph below. Realizing that a two seat roadster isn't for everyone, if you enjoy driving, or would like to enjoy it and have the luxury of being able to get by with just two seats, the FIAT 124 Spider is a great choice. Unless you just don't like driving, the FIAT Spider is sure to put a smile on your face and make you want to take the long way to wherever you're going. This car isn't a super-powered muscle car, but is light weight, nimble, peppy, and handles superbly. While beauty is in the eye of the beholder, for me, this car is gorgeous. Many sports cars are known for their harsh ride - not the FIAT. While providing great sporting performance, it also has a very comfortable and enjoyable ride with the top up or down. I'm 5'-8" and the car fits me very well. I can imagine that someone over six-foot would feel a bit tight. I test drove both the automatic and the manual and concluded that, while both are really great, the manual provides an edge higher level of driver engagement and driving pleasure. But, upon the insistence of my wife, I purchased the auto. While I enjoyed the manual, I'm very pleased with the auto. It's great cruising on the open road where you're not shifting a lot anyway, and it's also less of a hassle in city traffic. I couldn't be more satisfied.
5 out of 5 stars
So far, so good!
Marvin Goodpickle, 10/09/2017
2017 FIAT 124 Spider Classica 2dr Convertible (1.4L 4cyl Turbo 6M)
I haven't owned a "roadster" since I ditched my 2000 Miata back in 2011 because it was nickle and diming me to death. This 2017 Fiat Spider blew me away. I was seriously considering a Miata again, but after I read a pile of reviews and took several test drives, I was hooked on the Spider. (Plus the local Mazda dealer was jerking me around). Granted, Fiat skimped on the "Mattel-made" sun … visors and the bland, colorless instrumentation (not even a red line on the tach), overall, it's very easy on the eyes, very well made, and with enough accoutrements or lack thereof to meet most-but not all-budgets. My main complaint is the noise at highway speeds. They indicate in their marketing that it's quieter than a Miata, but it's definitely more noisy than my 2000. The radio is pretty useless at highway speeds, unless you have a headset. At first, I was taken back by not having a spare, but I suppose the fix-the-flat stuff in the trunk will work OK. (Maybe I should read the directions before I need it...?). Oh yeah, and it's a blast to drive. For an aging grown-up, the fit is snug but comfortable, the steering and handling are great, and it has MORE than enough power to get me very quickly from point A to B in style without acquiring too many tickets-I hope!
2017 FIAT 124 Spider videos
[MUSIC PLAYING] ALISTAIR WEAVER: This is Alistair Weaver for Edmunds. Now, consider this for a moment. When is a Mazda Miata not a Mazda Miata? Well, the answer is when it's carrying a Fiat badge, and dubbed a 124. Fiat did a deal with Mazda to use the platform of the wonderful MX5. And to re-clothe it with a bit of Italian flare, which they've done, sort of. Looks are obviously subjective, but to our eyes, it lacks the sort of simple beautiful elegance we might have expected of our Italian cousins. These lights, for example, feel a little bit clumsy. We don't even like it as much as we do the MX5. The Fiat, though, has a very different engine, a 1.4 liter turbo, developing 160 horsepower. It places the two liter naturally aspirated version in the Mazda. That engine's mated to either a six speed manual or like this model, a six speed automatic gearbox. Fiat says they've changed the door casing and played with the instruments. Though to be honest, that's probably no notable change. The rest of the cabin is pure MX5, not that that's necessarily a bad thing. The quality is good, and we like the simplicity of the design, and some of the features like these built-in speakers in the headrest. The only thing we would say, though, is whether the modernist vibe of the aesthetics is at odds with the retro feel of the Fiat's exterior. The 124 is expected to hit US showrooms next summer, priced from around $25,000, bringing it in line with the little Mazda. Which you choose, of course, will come down to personal choice. Me? I'd go with the MX5. But isn't it great that we've now got so many little affordable roadsters on the market?
2017 Fiat 124 Spider Walkaround Review | Los Angeles Auto Show
Edmunds was on hand for the world premiere of the all-new 2017 Fiat 124 Spider, a revival of the Italian roadster. Considering that it's based on the already popular Mazda MX-5 Miata and increases output to 160 horsepower and 184 pound-feet of torque, there's plenty of potential for… open-top fun.
2017 124 Spider Highlights
|Combined MPG||30 MPG|
|Cost to Drive||$163/month|
|Cargo Capacity |
All Seats In Place
|Drivetrain||rear wheel drive|
|Warranty||4 years / 50,000 miles|