Inspired by the iconic model introduced in the 1960s, the 2017 Fiat 124 Spider pays homage to the brand’s history while creating a new path for the Italian manufacturer’s future. Ironically, the 2017 Fiat 124 Spider shares a platform with the Mazda Miata, a car that revived the classic roadster segment more than 25 years ago.
The 2017 Fiat 124 Spider is a two passenger roadster. This rear-wheel-drive convertible is powered by a turbocharged four-cylinder engine, and it’s governed by a six-speed manual or a six-speed automatic transmission. Buyers can choose from Classica, Lusso and Abarth trim levels.
Although heavily based on the current Mazda MX-5 Miata, the Fiat 124 Spider is an all-new model for the 2017. It separates itself from the Miata with unique suspension tuning, a different engine and a distinctive exterior design.
Influenced by the namesake Italian roadster of the 1960s, the all-new Fiat 124 Spider bears more than a passing resemblance to its predecessor. The long sculpted hood and short rear clip are essential components to any roadster, but with its rounded headlights and angular taillights, the new 124’s front and rear fascias are doppelgangers for those of the classic Fiat Spider.
The base Classica model features an easy-to-use manually operated soft-top, body-colored power-adjustable side mirrors, 16-inch aluminum wheels, halogen projector headlamps and LED tail lamps. Dual-tip exhaust, black roll-bar finish and body-colored door sills and door handles add to the overall appearance of this roadster.
The Lusso, which translates as “luxury,” includes standard 17-inch aluminum wheels, rain-sensing windshield wipers and chrome exhaust tips.
Our top-of-the-line Abarth model included gun-metal power-adjustable side mirrors, Abarth badges, a unique front and rear fascia, black side sills and a quad-tip exhaust.
Upgrades include heated auto-dimming mirrors and adaptive, auto-leveling LED headlamps.
The Fiat 124 Spider’s tidy cabin was designed and implemented with the driver in mind. The tilt-adjustable steering column and ergonomically designed seats facilitate comfort and allow most individuals to easily find an agreeable driving position. Leg- and headroom are more generous than you would expect when viewing the roadster from the curb. Fiat uses plenty of soft-touch materials throughout the cabin, and the 124’s fit and finish lives up to the excellent standard set by the closely related Mazda Miata.
Cargo space is limited to 4.94 cubic feet, which is a little bit more than the MX-5’s 4.59 cubic feet. Still, the deep trunk with its large opening yields optimal results when loading a pair of overnight bags.
Standard features include silver-painted accent trim, air conditioning, manually adjustable cloth seats and a leather-wrapped shift knob and steering wheel. The Lusso model adds automatic climate control, heated leather seating, a leatherette-wrapped lower instrument panel and piano-black accents.
The top-trim Abarth model includes a sport-inspired instrument cluster, matte-gray accents, bright pedals and a sport leather-wrapped steering wheel. The available Recaro sport seats look fantastic while providing additional comfort and support.
The Fiat 124 Spider is powered by a turbocharged 1.4-liter four-cylinder engine. The base engine produces 160 horsepower and 184 pound-feet of torque. The more powerful Abarth trim yields 164 horsepower. Torque ratings are the same, but power comes on more quickly resulting in slightly improved acceleration and overall performance. The Abarth model also features Bilstein shocks and a mechanical limited-slip differential that improves traction and handling. The performance exhaust on the Abarth also lends itself to the car’s sporty nature.
Fuel economy is excellent for a sports car. EPA ratings for the rear-wheel drive roadster are 26/35 mpg city/highway with the standard six-speed manual, and 25/36 mpg with the optional six-speed automatic.
Driving dynamics are optimized thanks to the 124’s lightweight body structure and sport-tuned suspension. When combined with its precise steering, the 124 Spider is incredibly fun to drive and loves to be pushed around sharp corners. Braking is excellent and is improved when buyers opt for the optional Brembo brakes.
The base Fiat 124 Spider arrives with a limited amount of standard technology equipment. Amenities include a four-speaker audio system, Bluetooth connectivity and a 3-inch display. Additional highlights include keyless ignition and steering wheel-mounted audio controls.
An available Technology Collection (the 124 Spider’s option packages are known as “Collections”) adds the extras that most drivers are looking for in a new vehicle, and it includes a 7-inch display, a rearview camera and keyless access. The Technology Collection arrives as standard equipment in all but the base model.
Additional optional equipment includes a nine-speaker Bose audio system, GPS navigation, a universal garage door opener and satellite radio.
Unless you solely intend to use your Fiat 124 as a weekend track vehicle, we’d recommend choosing the Lusso or Abarth trim or fleshing out the base model by purchasing the optional Technology Collection package.
The Fiat 124 Spider is available with the latest driver-assistive technology. Optional safety features include rear park assist, blind-spot monitoring, a rearview camera and rear cross-traffic detection.
The 124 Spider has not been crash tested by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) or the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). However, that lack of crash-test data is not unusual for a car in this class.
Pricing for the base 2017 Fiat 124 Spider Classica starts at $24,995, not including a $995 destination fee. The Lusso model starts at $27,495. The Lusso can be enhanced with a $1,495 Safety and Comfort Collection that includes a security alarm, headlamp washers, heated auto-dimming exterior mirrors, a universal garage door opener, rear park assist, blind spot monitoring and rear cross-traffic detection. The Lusso model can also be optioned with a $3,795 Premium Collection with Sirius package that builds on that list of equipment with adaptive auto-leveling headlamps, satellite radio, LED running lights, navigation and a nine-speaker Bose audio system.
The top Abarth model starts at $28,195. The Abarth can include the aforementioned Safety and Comfort Collection or a $3,995 Luxury Collection with Sirius package, which, in essence, carries all of the equipment listed above and adds leather seating.
While the base Classica model represents strong value, our pick would be the midrange Lusso for overall real-world usability or the Abarth trim for its enhanced appearance and performance.
It isn’t difficult to appreciate the 2017 Fiat 124 Spider. While sharing a chassis with the highly successful Mazda MX-5 Miata assures a level of greatness, it is the heritage-influenced European design that truly sets the Fiat 124 Spider apart.