Sunday, August 28, 2016

First Drive: 2017 Fiat 124 Spider

The original Fiat 124 Spider was built between 1966 and 1980. It was a two door, front engine, rear-wheel drive convertible. In 2016, Fiat released a two door, front engine, rear-wheel drive roadster, the Fiat 124 Spider. It is produced in Horishima, Japan along with the Mazda MX-5 Miata. The Fiat 124 Spider shares a platform with the MX-5 Miata. However, the 124 Spider is five inches longer, has a different engine, and shares no body panels with the MX-5 Miata. I was able to test drive the 124 Spider at a local dealership in Houston. The version I drove was the 124 Spider Classica, which came with cloth seats, a seven inch display, and a reverse camera. The version I drove came with the six-speed AISIN automatic transmission. A six-speed manual transmission is available as well.

Even though Fiat 124 Spider is built in the same facility as the Mazda MX-5 Miata, it has original body panels. It has sleeker lines compared to the MX-5 Miata. The 124 Spider is a fun little roadster to drive. It has good acceleration. It responds well when I turned the wheel. Ride was smooth and it was quiet when the top was up. My one issue is the interior room. I could not push the driver seat back. My right leg kept hitting the center console. Headroom was decent with the top up. The version I drove was the Classica with optional bluetooth, reverse camera, and a seven inch infotainment display.

The 124 Spider is powered by a turbocharged 1.4L engine that produces 160 hp and 184 lb-ft of torque. It goes from 0 to 60 mph is 6.5 seconds with a top speed of 130 mph. Starting price for 124 is $25,990, which is just a little bit more than the Mazda MX-5 Miata ($25,750 starting price). The price for the one I test drove is $28,635. Even though 160 hp does not seem powerful, the 124 Spider weighs around 2,400 pounds. It is quick and handles corners quite well.

Overall, the Fiat 124 Spider is a fun vehicle to drive. It has a smooth ride, responsive, and can handle corners. It is quick. It is more stylish than the MX-5 Miata. I am glad to see the 124 Spider come to the United States. I just wish it had more leg room. If you want a sporty two-seater convertible but do not want to spend over $30,000, then give the Fiat 124 Spider a try.

CarJunkie
Photo was taken by a camera phone.
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