When Fiat chose to bring back the famous Spider 124 last year, the company chose a partner that has been known for making great roadsters: Mazda. True, most of the Spider 124 structure comes from Mazda MX-5 Miata. But it’s more than just Mazda MX-5 in costume. Fiat brings its own engine, transmission and tuning suspension, which gives the 2018 Fiat 124 Spider a distinctive characters.
Just like the Miata, the 2018 Fiat 124 Spider small figures are part its appeal and the cause of its shortcomings. Likewise, the small turbocharged engine is characteristic of its own charm and trap. It’s punchy and eager high in the rev range, but somewhat less powerful at low and medium rpm.
Most other convertibles on the market ask for much less. The Chevrolet Camaro and Ford Mustang convertibles offer more interior space, more useful rear seats and trunks, and available with more powerful engines. The Mini Cooper convertible offers a small car that is easier to drive. There is also Mazda Miata, which is the best roadster for almost 30 years.
But anyway, none of these competitors offer the same experience as the 124 Spider . The right buyers, people who know their goals, may decide that there are no other options for the 2018 Fiat 124 Spider.
Trim and Features
The 2018 Fiat 124 Spider is a two-seat roadster offered in three trim levels: Classica, Lusso and the aggressive Abarth.
Standard equipment for the base Classica trim includes keyless entry, 16-inch wheels, cruise control, air-conditioning, pushbutton start, a manual tilt-adjustable steering wheel, a leather-wrapped steering wheel and shift knob, a height-adjustable driver seat, Bluetooth phone connectivity, a four-speaker stereo system with a 3-inch display screen.
The optional package for the Spider Classica is the Technology and SiriusXM Group package. It adds rear parking sensors, proximity entry, a rearview camera, infotainment system with a 7-inch screen, streaming music app integration, voice controls, GPS capability and satellite radio.
The 2018 Fiat 124 Spider Lusso trim gets 17-inch wheels, foglights, automatic headlights, automatic windshield wipers, automatic climate control, a rearview camera, heated seats, leather-upholstered and the 7-inch infotainment system with all its features.
Option for the 2018 Fiat 124 Spider Lusso is the Comfort and Convenience Group, which adds a security alarm, universal garage door opener, rear parking sensors, heated auto-dimming mirrors, blind-spot monitoring and rear cross-traffic alert. The Navigation and Sound Group adds navigation and a nine-speaker Bose stereo system. The Visibility Group adds headlight washers and turns LED headlights.
Also available is the Lusso Red Top Edition, which adds 17-inch wheels, adaptive LED headlights, a red convertible top, Bose audio and navigation.
The rear-wheel-drive 2018 Fiat 124 Spider is backed by a turbocharged 1.4-liter four-cylinder engine. It produces at 160 horsepower and 184 lb-ft of torque. A six-speed manual transmission is standard, while a six-speed automatic with steering-wheel-mounted paddle shifters is optional.
In performance testing, the 2018 Fiat 124 Spider with manual transmission accelerates from zero to 60 mph in 6.7 seconds. EPA fuel economy stands at 29 mpg combined (25 city/36 highway) with the automatic, while the manual rated at 30 mpg combined (26 city/35 highway).
The 2018 Fiat 124 Spider cabin designed is simple, but it does not feel cheap. The soft touch plastic covers most of the interior and feels good to the touch, especially when compared to the hard, body-colored plastic panels found in the Miata. The air-conditioning button is simple and easy to use, as does the Mazda touch screen which is the center of dashboard. This interface has an intuitive menu and takes a bit of attention to operate it. Keep in mind that the touch screen is locked when the car is moving. Otherwise, it controlled by a knob under the shifter, which can get in the way if you are shifting your own gears.
Considering its compact form, it is not surprising that the 2018 Fiat 124 Spider cabin is quite comfortable. As low-to-ground sports car, in and out is easy thanks to a narrow sill and a shallow seat. But headroom and leg room may be a problem for people over the 6-foot. Drivers and passengers tend to bump elbows, and the cabin feels narrow if removable cupholders are stay in their slots on the back of the center console. The seats themselves are very comfortable, and the seating material is high quality.
The 2018 Fiat 124 Spider roof is very easy to use. Simply unlatch the locking mechanism and the top passes over your shoulder. Raising it is just as easy. And although the trunk space is slightly larger than the Miata, it measures only 4.9 cubic feet, small even for a standard roadster.
Release Date and Price
The 2018 124 Spider is available for order now. Pricing for the 2018 Fiat 124 Spider will start at $24,995.