2017 FIAT 124 Spider Expert Review

4.6 Overall Score
Performance 4.6 Comfort 4.2 Styling 4.4 Value 4.6

Editor's Overview

Derived from Mazda’s splendid MX-5 Miata roadster, the 2017 Fiat 124 Spider sports a Fiat-designed turbocharged engine and a reworked exterior that recalls the classic 1960s’ Fiat Spider. With a comparatively comfortable ride and quiet cabin, the modern Spider is a joyful sports car well-suited for the kind of wind-blown adventures that inspire otherwise practical car buyers to choose convertibles.

You'll Like The 2017 FIAT 124 Spider If...

If you’re charmed by the romance of the open road as well as open skies, you’ll like the 2017 Fiat 124 Spider. Its distinct Italian style, turbocharged engine, slightly softer demeanor, and competitive pricing make it a compelling alternative to the Mazda Miata from which it spawned.

You May Not Like The 2017 FIAT 124 Spider If...

The 124 Spider convertible is undoubtedly fun but for absolutely uncompromised driving thrills, the lighter-weight Mazda MX-5 Miata endures as the gold standard. The 124’s limited leg room may be a sore point for those who stand taller than six feet.

What's New

The Fiat 124 Spider is an all-new model for 2017.

Interior Features

Board the 2017 Fiat 124 Spider and you’re greeted by piano-black accents, Leatherette trim and inviting leather seats…assuming you’ve selected the luxurious Lusso trim. The cloth-seat-equipped Classica trim is less lush but still a fine perch to enjoy the world as it passes by. Sporty yet tasteful the Spider’s cabin is sized like a fitted shirt, with just enough room to breathe and stretch. Top-up headroom is actually quite good, even for taller passengers, but limited legroom is a legitimate concern. And boy, it’d be lovely if the steering wheel telescoped to accommodate more varied driving positions.

Exterior Features

The 2017 Fiat 124 Spider has been meticulously sculpted to recall the classic 124 Spider of the 1960s. To achieve that look Fiat’s design team overlaid thoroughly massaged bodywork, square taillights and round headlights onto the Spider’s Mazda-derived platform, culminating in a 4-inch-longer roadster. Helping drive home the Spider’s Italian heritage are outrageously Italian paint names including Bianco Gelato (white) and Rosso Passione (red). Drivers who relish visual aggression will find plenty of it in the 124 Spider Abarth, whose unique fascias, 17-inch gunmetal wheels, and optional $1,995 black-painted hood and trunk make it look positively furious.

Driving Impressions

Among cars, weight is the enemy of performance and fun; and yet, despite weighing roughly 100 pounds more than the svelte Mazda Miata on which it’s based, the Fiat 124 Spider remains utterly fulfilling to drive. Light steering efforts give the Fiat Spider a relaxed feel well-suited for enchanting jaunts over the hills and past the sea. Quicken the pace and Fiat’s roadster reveals itself as a playful dance partner. Integral to the Spider’s distinctive character is a 1.4-liter turbocharged engine that produces more power than the Mazda Miata’s naturally aspirated engine. Extra power is great but the turbo’s lag-and-surge power delivery makes us pine for the precise throttle of the Miata. With the Spider’s top down, airflow around the cabin is well-controlled, ever so slightly tousling the driver’s hair. Raise the top and interior noise is hushed enough for comfortable conversations and commutes.

Pricing Notes

View the Fiat 124 Spider as a fancied-up Mazda Miata and you might expect a premium price but that’s not the case. A manual-equipped Spider Classica glides in at $25,990 including destination; just $290 higher than a base Miata. Meanwhile, the $2,500-pricier Lusso trim offers leather seating at a much lower price than the Miata Grand Touring, while the performance-focused Spider Abarth slightly undercuts the similar Miata Club trim. If seating for more than two sounds like a good idea, both the Mini Cooper Convertible and Volkswagen Beetle Convertible can be had for less than $27,000. Before you buy, be sure to check the KBB Fair Purchase Price to see what others are paying for the Fiat 124 Spider in your area. It’s also worth noting that resale values for the Fiat brand have historically skewed lower than average, which could affect the 124 Spider’s long-term cost to own.

Notable Equipment

Nab a basic 124 Spider Classica and you’ll enjoy push-button engine start, cloth seats, 16-inch wheels, air conditioning, a 4-speaker audio system with Bluetooth, and four airbags. The Lusso trim adds 17-inch wheels, heated leather-trimmed seats, Leatherette dash trim, automatic climate control and keyless vehicle access. Despite being the raciest Spider in the lineup the Abarth trim only produces four horsepower more than the Classica and Lusso but it does include a sport suspension, limited-slip differential and charmingly aggressive exterior tweaks. Missing from all trims is a spare tire. The included tire-repair kit helps maximize trunk space.

Notable Options

Optional on the least expensive Classica trim is a $1,295 “Technology Collection” that adds the 7-inch infotainment screen, rearview camera and keyless vehicle access included as standard equipment on higher Spider trims. Go with the more expensive Lusso or Abarth trims and you’re free to select handy add-ons like rear parking sensors, navigation, adaptive headlights, rear cross-path detection, blind-spot warning, and a 9-speaker Bose audio system with a sub-woofer and speakers in the headrests. Reserved for Abarth buyers are optional Recaro seats shod in leather and Alcantara or high-performance Brembo brakes.

Favorite Features

CONVERTIBLE TOP

The manually operated soft-top can easily be dropped or raised with one hand in a matter of seconds. With such simple operation, there are zero reasons not to let the sun irradiate you if you’re in the mood.


SOUND DEADENING

All true driving fans love the Mazda MX-5 Miata but long drives can be fatiguing due to its loud cabin. The Fiat 124 Spider addresses those concerns with an acoustic windshield, thicker rear glass and extensive sound insulation making it the smart choice for protracted road trips.


Under the Hood

Helping differentiate the Fiat 124 Spider from its Mazda Miata sibling is its engine, a Fiat-built 1.4-liter turbocharged MultiAir 4-cylinder. Famous for making the Fiat 500 Abarth sound so darn angry, this is the engine’s first rear-wheel-drive application. In this context the 1.4-liter gives the Fiat a slight horsepower advantage versus the Miata but a major advantage where torque is concerned. Ushering power from the engine to the rear wheels in all trims is a standard 6-speed manual transmission or an optional $1,350 6-speed automatic. With a wonderfully short shifter and the ability to slip the clutch, enabling much quicker off-the-line acceleration than the automatic, we definitely prefer the manual gearbox.


1.4-liter turbocharged inline-4

160 horsepower @ 5,500 rpm (164 horsepower @ 5,500 rpm in Abarth)

184 lb-ft of torque @ 3,200 rpm

EPA city/highway fuel economy: 26/35 mpg (manual), 25/36 mpg (automatic)

Editors' Notes

Derived from Mazda’s splendid MX-5 Miata roadster, the Fiat 124 Spider exudes Italian panache thanks to a Fiat-designed turbocharged engine and a conspicuously reworked exterior. Shaped to recall the classic 124 Spider of the 1960s, the modern Spider has a friendlier aura than the hard-edged Miata. That friendliness permeates all aspects of the 124 convertible, including ride comfort, interior quality and cabin noise. The result is a joyful sports car well-suited for the kind of adventures that inspire otherwise practical car buyers to choose convertibles. Yet in the right hands Fiat’s drop-top ably out-handles much pricier cars. The Mazda MX-5 Miata, Mini Cooper Convertible and Volkswagen Beetle convertible have their strengths but for value-priced, sun-drenched Italian charism, the Fiat 124 Spider is unrivaled.

Road Test Video Reviews

2017 FIAT 124 Spider Owner Reviews

4.14
21 Reviews
33% 48% 19% 2 star 0% 1 star 0%
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Fun to drive, easy to own, what could be better!

Incredibly good looking and fun to drive. Not one single problem since delivery. Good safety features: blind spot monitoring, rear hazard warning, great brakes. Right out of the dealers lot it got better than advertised highway mileage that has improved slightly over the two years that I have owned the 124 spider. Around town its gas mileage is ok, but not great. What could be better?

- Harvey B

I love my spider, but it is too tiny.

I love the way my 124 spider handles, and I love the manual transmission. I haven't had any mechanical problems yet, but the electronics seem a little wonky. The alarm will go off for no reason, the audio/video screen will shut down or freeze sometimes. The biggest problem with the car, and also part of its charm, is it is size. Passenger seat is incredibly cramped.

- Carla R

Ease of use: easy to operate, quick to get out of the vehicle, easy to load and unload passengers and cargo, reliability and durability, maintainability, pollution prevention

When a car stops in a short distance and keeps its driving direction stable, as well as its ability to maintain a certain speed when driving down a long slope, it is called the braking ability of a car. The braking performance indexes of automobile mainly include braking efficiency, stability of braking efficiency, directional stability and braking process.

- Shaista N

Fun car to take on a spin, but not to ride everyday

I really like the car I own; however, I wish there was a seat cooler instead of a heater (live in a very hot place). This car is fun to drive and I love how I can feel the road while I drive. I would not recommend to people who are tall/big for it is a small car in every way. Honestly, this is not really the best everyday car.

- Leigh G

I love the fiat it so amazing definitely recommend

I love it so much I'm a college student and I'm constantly on the go and this car is amazing !! I love it so much it's got great amazing air conditioning I'm not sure if that matters a lot to some people but I live in Florida I love it just a really great call in general !

- Natalie D

It is hard to even find a local place to get the oil changed due to the special filter.

I like the look of it, the heated seats, the drop top. I don't like the cost of repairs. It is so small that it is hard to clean the inside. I love the power of the engine. I love the color.

- Tammy P

The Lone Stallion In The West

I've had the car for almost two years now and i can say with full confidence that this car is the best choice i made. the car is very reliable with no problems and evry easy to self service

- Allan P

The ac is a little weird sometimes and smells strange, idk what it is exactly.

It is very reliable, it is a nice red and it handles like a dream. The mpg is pretty dang good too, I get about 26 mpg in it which is a nice balance in my opinion with engine power.

- Christ B

Comfortable, accessible, reliable, nice, and can resist long trips

Pretty comfortable,all the optionals can be added, some are essential. Sometimes, after not being used for a while, it take a bit of time for it to start.

- Sandro D

If I had to solve any detail, it would be his design, wherever he goes he always catches my attention and I love that

without doubts in a good car, has an unmatched design, its performance is magnificent and its interior very comfortable, I do not regret having bought it

- Colton L

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