2017 Fiat 124 Spider Manual
We’re not shy in our affection for Mazda’s latest MX-5 Miata, a 10Best Cars–winning roadster that embodies all of the driving joy we desire in a small, fun sports car. That Fiat’s new 124 Spider is basically the same car underneath makes it very good as well, an observation as we’ve noted in several reviews, including a comparison test between the two in which the sportiest Club version of the Miata bested the 124 Spider Abarth.
While the Fiat’s most basic configuration reviewed here sits at the opposite end of the lineup from the zesty Abarth, it’s still wonderfully elemental if somewhat more relaxed than its Mazda cousin.
The 2017 Fiat 124 Spider range starts at the $25,990 Classica trim with the six-speed manual transmission, which costs a scant $240 more than the base 2016 Miata Sport (Mazda has yet to release 2017 pricing). While the overall execution of Fiat’s retro design is a subjective matter, it’s mostly classy once you look past the comically oversize Fiat badge on the nose. Our test car’s small 16-inch wheels, however, combined with the 124’s additional 5.5 inches in length versus the Mazda, lent it a gawkier appearance than the svelte and toned MX-5. Granted, the taller sidewalls of our car’s Yokohama Advan Sport tires (sized 195/50 versus the optional 205/45R-17s) afford a slightly more compliant ride over rough roads, but the smaller rollers leave altogether too much empty space in the wheel wells. Those all-season tires also returned the least amount of lateral stick we’ve recorded for any “Fiata” (0.85 g), as well as a so-so 171-foot stop from 70 mph. Read more...