Used 2018 FIAT 124 Spider Abarth
Pros & Cons
- Nimble, lively handling
- Excellent feel from brakes and steering
- Fast and easy-to-use convertible top
- Abarth trim's sporty experience punches above its weight class
- Frustrating, underperforming automatic transmission
- Cramped interior and limited cargo space
- Loud, rough ride, especially on freeways
- Problematic seating adjustments for taller drivers
Which 124 Spider does Edmunds recommend?
Edmunds' Expert Review
Overall rating6.4 / 10
When Fiat decided to revive its famous 124 Spider nameplate last year, the company chose a partner known for making great modern roadsters: Mazda. Indeed, much of the 124 Spider's underlying structure comes courtesy of the Mazda MX-5 Miata. But the 124 is more than just a Mazda MX-5 in a costume. Fiat uses its own engine, transmission and suspension tuning, which in turn give the 124 Spider a distinct character all its own.
Like the Miata, the 124's diminutive figure is both part of its appeal and the cause of many of its shortcomings. Similarly, the small, turbocharged engine is likewise a distinctive trait with its own appeals and pitfalls: It's punchy and eager high in the rev range, but it's distinctly underpowered at low to medium rpm.
The Lusso and Classica express these traits very differently from the hot Abarth. The former two are softer, and in some ways more relaxed, while the latter pairs exceptional handling with a ride that borders on harsh. Knowing what you want from the 124 Spider is important in choosing the right trim.
Other convertibles on the market ask for far fewer compromises. The Ford Mustang and Chevrolet Camaro convertibles offer more interior space, more usable trunks and back seats (small as they are), and they are available with significantly more power. The Mini Cooper convertible presents small-car aesthetics and is easier to drive while asking for fewer sacrifices than the 124. Buyers looking at the Abarth might consider the Toyota 86 and Ford Fiesta ST for driving enjoyment. Then there's the Mazda Miata, which has been the best distillation of the small-roadster ethos for almost 30 years.
None of these competitors, however, offer quite the same experience as the Fiat — especially the Abarth. The right buyer, one who knows what they're in for, might decide that there's simply no substitute for the 124.
2018 FIAT 124 Spider models
The 2018 Fiat 124 Spider Abarth is powered by a turbocharged 1.4-liter four-cylinder engine that makes 164 horsepower and 184 pound-feet of torque. Power goes to the rear wheels through either a standard six-speed manual transmission or an optional six-speed automatic.
Standard equipment includes 17-inch wheels, air-conditioning, a height-adjustable driver seat, cruise control, a manual tilt-adjustable steering wheel, a performance-tuned suspension, a limited-slip differential, selectable drive modes, automatic climate control, leather and microfiber-trimmed seats, a 7-inch screen, a rearview camera, voice controls, streaming music app integration, satellite radio, GPS capability (GPS navigation is a separate dealer add-on), and a four-speaker stereo system with a 3-inch display screen and two USB ports.
The Comfort and Convenience Group includes heated auto-dimming mirrors, rear parking sensors, a security alarm, universal garage door opener, blind-spot monitoring, and rear cross-traffic alert. Opting for the Navigation and Sound Group adds navigation and a nine-speaker Bose stereo system. The Visibility Group adds turn-adaptive LED headlights and headlight washers.
Brembo brakes and a hand-painted racing stripe are exclusive options for the Abarth.
Each vehicle typically comes in multiple versions that are fundamentally similar. The ratings in this review are based on our full test of the 2017 Fiat 124 Spider Abarth (turbo 1.4L inline-4 | 6-speed manual | RWD).
NOTE: Since this test was conducted, the current 124 Spider Abarth has received some revisions to the distribution of options in its packages. Our findings remain applicable to this year's 124 Spider Abarth.
|Overall||6.4 / 10|
Most helpful consumer reviews
Features & Specs
Our experts like the 124 Spider models:
- Enhanced Accident Response System
- Cuts off fuel to the engine, unlocks doors, blinks hazard lights and turns on interior lights in the event of an accident.
- Blind-Spot Monitoring
- Alerts the driver to other vehicles in blind spots.
- Rear Cross-Traffic Alert
- Warns the driver of oncoming perpendicular traffic when reversing out of a parking space or driveway.