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.
Edmunds attended a manufacturer-sponsored event, to which selected members of the press were invited, to facilitate this report.