2019 FIAT 124 Spider Review

Type:

Pros & Cons

  • Nimble, lively handling
  • Excellent brake and steering feel
  • 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
Other years
FIAT 124 Spider for Sale
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$23,300

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Which 124 Spider does Edmunds recommend?

More likely than not, if you're considering a Fiat 124 Spider, you're seeking more performance and engagement than the typical car. For that reason, we recommend the Abarth. It benefits from more athletic handling characteristics and upgraded brakes without a big jump in price from the midrange Lusso trim. No matter which model you choose, we would avoid the automatic transmission. The manual is supremely better and is probably one of the easiest to learn how to drive a stick shift, too.

Edmunds' Expert Review

Overall rating

6.4 / 10

The original Fiat 124 had all the charm of its rivals from an era that included Alfa Romeo, Lotus, MG and Triumph. They all delivered the classic roadster charm of open-top motoring in a small two-seater. Like its contemporaries, the 124 was also plagued with mechanical gremlins, and when it came to comfort and convenience, it was only a step up from bicycling.

Fast forward to the present day and the recently revived Fiat 124 Spider keeps its charm and minimizes its drawbacks. Much of this has to do with its Japanese DNA. Under the nouveau-retro bodywork are the same underpinnings as the Mazda MX-5 Miata. Fiat does use its own engine and transmission, however, along with unique suspension tuning. For most drivers, the differences in driving dynamics are negligible. That leaves the decision to personal preferences and aesthetics.

Within the Fiat 124 lineup, you have three flavors to choose from: the basic Classica trim, the Lusso with more creature comforts, and the athletic Abarth. They're all fun to drive and engaging, but they're also all limited on passenger and cargo space, have a rough ride, and larger drivers will likely find the seats and cabin in general confining. We're also not fans of the automatic transmission. The manual is not only the best pick for the 124, but it's also one of the best in any class.

If the benefits outweigh the drawbacks for you, either the Miata or the Fiat 124 Spider will keep you happy. Otherwise, we suggest checking out other convertibles such as the Chevy Camaro, the Ford Mustang and the Mini Cooper S.

2019 FIAT 124 Spider models

The 2019 Fiat 124 Spider is available in three trim levels: the relatively bare-bones Classica, the more comprehensively equipped Lusso and the aggressive Abarth. All three trims are powered by a turbocharged 1.4-liter four-cylinder engine. It produces 160 horsepower in Classica and Lusso trims and 164 hp in the Abarth, and 184 pound-feet of torque in all three. Power goes to the rear wheels through either a standard six-speed manual transmission or an optional six-speed automatic.

The Fiat's base Classica trim comes standard with 16-inch wheels, air conditioning, keyless entry, push-button start, a rearview camera, a height-adjustable driver's seat, a tilt-only leather-wrapped steering wheel, Bluetooth, and a four-speaker sound system with a 3-inch display screen. The Technology Group adds proximity entry and satellite radio. The Urbana Edition adds to the Classica special 17-inch black wheels, foglights, leather and microfiber upholstery, piano black exterior accents, matte gray interior accents, upgraded interior surfaces, and satellite radio.

Moving up to the Lusso trim gets you 17-inch wheels, automatic headlights, foglights, automatic windshield wipers, automatic climate control, leather upholstery, heated seats, the same upgraded interior surfaces found in the Urbana Edition, the Technology Group features, and the Mazda-sourced 7-inch infotainment system.

The Fiat 124 Spider Abarth adds to the Lusso's content a performance-tuned suspension and a limited-slip differential, along with a driving mode selector with Sport and Normal modes, leather and microfiber upholstery, a sport steering wheel, and a handful of unique interior and exterior styling cues. Notable Abarth-specific options include Brembo performance brakes and Recaro sport seats featuring a leather and simulated suede upholstery.

Fiat offers several packages for the Lusso and Abarth. The Convenience Group adds blind-spot and rear cross-traffic warning systems, rear parking sensors, auto-dimming mirrors, and a security alarm. The Navigation & Sound Group adds integrated navigation to the 7-inch infotainment system and a 9-speaker Bose sound system. The Visibility Group adds adaptive LED headlights with washers and LED running lamps.

Trim tested

Each vehicle typically comes in multiple versions that are fundamentally similar. The ratings in this review are based on our full test of the Fiat 124 Spider Lusso (turbo 1.4L inline-4 | 6-speed automatic | RWD).

NOTE: Since this test was conducted in 2017, the current 124 Spider has received some revisions to the distribution of options in its packages. Our findings remain applicable to this year's 124 Spider.

Driving

7.0
Steering, handling and braking performance are definite strengths for this lightweight roadster. Unfortunately, the peaky turbo engine and upshift-happy, efficiency-minded automatic transmission are a poor match, frequently leaving you without sufficient power.

Acceleration

7.0
The tiny turbo-four is weak down low, only feeling eager and punchy at higher revs. Out in the real world, with the transmission's fervor for upshifting, you're often left lugging until the drivetrain catches up. Still, our measured 0-60 mph time of 6.6 seconds isn't bad for such a small engine.

Braking

8.0
One of the 124's strong points: The pedal is firm and communicative, and the car tracks straight during panic stops. The brakes inspire confidence and work just as well in stop-and-go traffic as on back roads. Our tested panic-stop distance from 60 mph of 111 feet is average for a sports car.

Steering

8.5
The steering is quick and very precise and offers useful road feel. Weighting is lighter than the steering in many sports cars, but it's well-suited to such a small and maneuverable car. The steering, however, can be darty at highway speeds.

Handling

7.0
The 124 changes direction well and exhibits minimal body roll around turns. But midcorner bumps can unsettle the chassis.

Drivability

6.0
The 124 is slow off the line, but the car starts smoothly and consistently. The automatic transmission is overly eager to upshift, and it frequently leaves you without power. This leads to lots of hunting around for the right gear during spirited driving and while maneuvering through traffic.

Comfort

6.5
The 124 doesn't have a lot to offer in terms of comfort. The ride is better than in many performance-oriented cars, but the seats are tight, and there's a significant lack of sound insulation. Plenty of other convertibles have more to offer when it comes to everyday comfort.

Seat comfort

6.0
These seats are quite narrow. For larger drivers, the bolsters are prominent enough to be uncomfortable, but they're not big enough to effectively hold you in place. There's no lumbar support to speak of, and the headrests with integrated speakers are uncomfortably hard.

Ride comfort

6.5
The ride will be too stiff for some; bumps and dips are translated throughout the car. But it isn't harsh, and smaller imperfections are absorbed well. Undulating road surfaces or regular freeway seams cause an uncomfortable hobby-horse effect due in part to the car's short wheelbase.

Noise & vibration

6.0
Wind noise with the top down is well-controlled below 50 mph. With the top up, there are lots of mechanical noises. And at highway speeds, it depends on road conditions whether wind and tire noise will be intrusive or merely noticeable. The 124 Lusso's restrained exhaust avoids engine drone.

Climate control

7.0
The knob controls are straightforward, and make switching between automatic and manual modes easy, though temperature selection isn't really graduated. The system can combat even high heat but works hard to do it. Having only three vents can add frustration to driving with a passenger on hot days.

Interior

6.5
Some buyers will value the 124's diminutive stature, but there's no getting around the fact that such a small car forces compromises in terms of seat adjustability and entering and exiting. Being a convertible, it also has some visibility issues, but the manual top is exceptionally easy to use.

Ease of use

7.5
This car's small size brings all of the controls within easy reach. Drivers with long arms will find the infotainment control knob's placement awkward, especially when the removable cupholders are in place. Its few controls are clearly marked and easy to understand.

Getting in/getting out

6.5
The door is long enough, but the tall, wide sill and low roof with the top up create some problems. Taller drivers and passengers will just about fold themselves in half to get in or out. The experience is about average for such a low-slung convertible sports car.

Driving position

6.5
The seatback must be upright for the seat to slide fully aft, so tall drivers must choose between legroom or reclining. Beyond that frustration, the driving position is appropriate, with the seat set low in the car. More adjustments might be nice, but there's no room for them in the cramped space.

Roominess

5.0
The 124 is tiny, and it feels tiny inside. There's not much lateral leg space or elbow and shoulder room. The low and thick windscreen frame adds to the claustrophobic feeling, even with the top down. The transmission tunnel takes up passenger-side floor space, making for a cramped experience.

Visibility

7.0
Forward visibility is good, and the rearview mirror visibility is better than average for this type of car thanks to the low, sloping rear deck. Rear three-quarter visibility is laughably bad with the top up, and the side mirrors are quite small, so blind-spot monitoring is a helpful extra.

Quality

7.0
There's a mishmash of Mazda and Fiat parts in the cabin, so it doesn't feel all that cohesive. The sense of quality is a bit hit-or-miss: Soft-touch surfaces mix with flimsy-feeling plastics, and some pieces (notably in our tester, the rear folding-top release handle) felt looser than we'd like.

Convertible top

8.0
The manual top is easy and straightforward to operate. It can be opened and closed very quickly, and it requires only mild contortions to reach. Taller drivers should exercise some caution. If they lean too far outboard, they'll find their skulls in the path of the upper side-window frame.

Utility

5.0
You can't expect much utility from a tiny two-seat convertible, and the 124 certainly doesn't deliver much. A weekend trip for two is about the most this car can handle. Other convertibles might offer more practicality, but that typically comes at the cost of size, weight and nimbleness.

Small-item storage

5.0
The tiny armrest box is just enough for a wallet and keys, and there's a cubby for a phone in the center console. The "glovebox" behind and between the seats, while big enough for a purse, is difficult to access, and it's blocked if you're keeping something in the removable cupholders.

Cargo space

5.0
The trunk is minuscule, with a small opening that's flat in the rear deck. Fortunately, the car is low to the ground, which keeps the liftover height from being overly problematic. Two soft overnight bags will fit, but don't plan on packing much more than that.

Technology

7.0
The 124's infotainment system — sourced from Mazda — is an easy-to-use unit with a good knob-based interface. It offers the features you expect, with the biggest omission being Android Auto and Apple CarPlay compatibility. Driver aids are optional, and there are only a few.

Audio & navigation

7.0
Navigation is easy to use, although it's not the easiest system to navigate points of interest with. Audio quality is middling, and the system has to be turned up quite a bit to compete with all the background noise. The tinny in-headrest speakers feel more like a gimmick than a necessary addition.

Smartphone integration

6.5
Bluetooth is easy to connect and works well, including displaying incoming messages — although it will only recognize one message and one email app, at least with an Android phone. There's no Apple CarPlay or Android Auto, but two USB ports mean passenger and driver can each charge a device.

Driver aids

7.0
Optional blind-spot monitoring is a welcome addition with the small side mirrors, as is rear cross-traffic alert thanks to poor top-up visibility. The rearview camera makes it easy to take advantage of the 124's small size in tight spaces.

Voice control

8.0
The Mazda-sourced system does a reasonable job interpreting commands and offers prompts to help you along. It's capable of entering navigation destinations and finding points of interest. Still, only a limited set of functions is available, and there's no Google or Siri compatibility.

EdmundsScorecard

Overall6.4 / 10
Driving7.0
Comfort6.5
Interior6.5
Utility5.0
Technology7.0

Consumer reviews

Read what other owners think about the Used 2019 FIAT 124 Spider.

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Most helpful consumer reviews

The best sports car for the money!
Bruce,01/21/2019
Lusso 2dr Convertible (1.4L 4cyl Turbo 6M)
Car is peppy. Interior noise level is minor for a car of this type. Styling is great! Bose sound system with sub woofer makes listening easy even with top down. Six speed manual is a gem!
Takes me back to Italy
Joe R.,03/03/2019
Abarth 2dr Convertible (1.4L 4cyl Turbo 6M)
This Fiat is actually 70% Mazda Miata. The 30% that Fiat has added is, in my estimation, pure Italian perfection. The head-turning body styling screams "Forza Italia!!!" and the convertible is actually well insulated and easy to operate. The acceleration, while not jarring, is brisk especially when in "Sport Mode". And quite frankly, when the top is down, I really don't want to go too fast because I like to be seen in it. And the Abarth trim exhaust has a wonderful throaty sound to it. The Brembo brake option is wonderful. The Navigation option includes the Bose audio system and the headrest speakers; I'm glad chose it. The vehicle is very tight for a convertible, especially at this price, and the ride very comfortable. The 70% base Mazda gives me the feeling of reliability and craftsmanship and the 30% Fiat has added speaks to me of class, refinement and sexiness. And that for me is a perfect combination. Bravisimo!
Awesomely fun!
DBolander,02/25/2019
Lusso 2dr Convertible (1.4L 4cyl Turbo 6M)
The styling on this car is awesome. It is so fun to drive. We have owned it for three months and have had no problems. My wife is 4’10 and this car is perfect for her. I’m 5’8 and have no problems. The fuel mileage is fantastic. We could not be happier.
Loving my cool little sports car
Lisa Lynne,05/13/2019
Abarth 2dr Convertible (1.4L 4cyl Turbo 6M)
It is really small! Somehow after you start driving it is irrelevant because its fun. People ask what is that car? Disbelief on their faces when told a Fiat. I have a white one with a wide black stripe and red and black seats. I liked the peppy feel and sound of Abarth and got a leftover 2018 with 19 miles on it fully loaded. It's not super posh but it has most things my last car, an infinity g37 had, except power seats and power hardtop. The Bose sound system is so much fun and loud enough cruising down the road with the top down. I find the wind to be just right and just drove a 400 mile road trip from siesta key to my daughter's college in pure happiness. If you want something fun to drive, enjoy turning heads, driving something different from most cars driving by for a surprisingly fair price take one out for a test drive.

Safety

Our experts like the 124 Spider models:

Enhanced Accident Response System
Cuts off fuel to the engine, unlocks doors, flashes hazard lights, and turns on interior lights in the event of an accident.
Blind-Spot Monitoring
Alerts you to other vehicles that are lurking in your blind spots.
Rear Cross-Traffic Alert
Warns you of oncoming perpendicular traffic when reversing out of a parking space or driveway.

More about the 2019 FIAT 124 Spider

Used 2019 FIAT 124 Spider Overview

The Used 2019 FIAT 124 Spider is offered in the following submodels: 124 Spider Abarth, 124 Spider Convertible. Available styles include Abarth 2dr Convertible (1.4L 4cyl Turbo 6M), Lusso 2dr Convertible (1.4L 4cyl Turbo 6M), Classica 2dr Convertible (1.4L 4cyl Turbo 6M), and Urbana Edition 2dr Convertible (1.4L 4cyl Turbo 6M). Pre-owned FIAT 124 Spider models are available with a 1.4 L-liter gas engine, with output up to 164 hp, depending on engine type. The Used 2019 FIAT 124 Spider comes with rear wheel drive. Available transmissions include: 6-speed manual. The Used 2019 FIAT 124 Spider comes with a 4 yr./ 50000 mi. basic warranty, a 4 yr./ unlimited mi. roadside warranty, and a 4 yr./ 50000 mi. powertrain warranty.

What's a good price on a Used 2019 FIAT 124 Spider?

Price comparisons for Used 2019 FIAT 124 Spider trim styles:

  • The Used 2019 FIAT 124 Spider Classica is priced between $23,300 and$23,300 with odometer readings between 10759 and10759 miles.

Shop with Edmunds for perks and special offers on used cars, trucks, and SUVs near Ashburn, VA. Doing so could save you hundreds or thousands of dollars. Edmunds also provides consumer-driven dealership sales and service reviews to help you make informed decisions about what cars to buy and where to buy them.

Which used 2019 FIAT 124 Spiders are available in my area?

Shop Edmunds' car, SUV, and truck listings of over 6 million vehicles to find a cheap new, used, or certified pre-owned (CPO) 2019 FIAT 124 Spider for sale near. There are currently 1 used and CPO 2019 124 Spiders listed for sale in your area, with list prices as low as $23,300 and mileage as low as 10759 miles. Simply research the type of car you're interested in and then select a used car from our massive database to find cheap prew-owned vehicles for sale near you. Once you have identified a used vehicle you're interested in, check the AutoCheck vehicle history reports, read dealer reviews, and find out what other owners paid for the Used 2019 FIAT 124 Spider.

Can't find a used 2019 FIAT 124 Spiders you want in your area? Consider a broader search.

Find a used FIAT 124 Spider for sale - 10 great deals out of 17 listings starting at $22,921.

Find a used FIAT for sale - 9 great deals out of 11 listings starting at $15,846.

Find a used certified pre-owned FIAT 124 Spider for sale - 8 great deals out of 18 listings starting at $10,014.

Find a used certified pre-owned FIAT for sale - 5 great deals out of 16 listings starting at $15,769.

Should I lease or buy a 2019 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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