16 Nov 2017 Fiat 124 Spider part 2
By Lacey Elliott
ON THE ROAD
Fiat’s 124 Spider is made in a Mazda plant in Hiroshima, on the same assembly line as the MX-5. They both have the same wheelbase and unibody structure.
The last time I spent time behind the wheel of the MX-5, I had the automatic transmission. It was great, but, let’s be honest, doing the shifting on your own is way more fun! I am giddy like a school girl driving the 6-speed manual in this Fiat.
The Fiat has a zippy 1.4L turbo 4 cylinder, that manages 160hp and 184lb-ft of torque. No, the numbers don’t seem that impressive but keep in mind that the Fiat is lightweight, even though it is almost 200 lbs heavier than the Mazda. I will tell you more about this later.
The Spider’s extra torque is nice, but, it does have some turbo lag – you don’t feel the turbo kick in until you’re past 2,500 rpm. I was expecting this to be a better engine than the Miata, but it’s not.
The 124 is extremely enjoyable to drive at faster speeds on the highway, I am sure it’s because of the extra weight. It feels solid and more grounded than its cousin.
Acoustic windshield, more sound deadening under the carpet and thicker rear glass is what adds some extra weight to the Fiat. They all work together to allow conversations between me and my passenger much easier. Anyone who enjoys driving topless as much as I do will appreciate these extra features a lot.
The base model Classica starts at just over $30,000 and the Lusso I have is $36,495. It comes with a few items like remote keyless entry, rain sensing wipers, heated seats and Park View Rear Back up Camera. Having the top up creates some difficulty when backing up so this is useful.
For just over $4,000 the Premium Customer package adds on GPS navigation, LED adaptive headlamps and nine Bose speakers and subwoofer. I would add this upgrade if only for the Bose speakers! Life is pretty amazing to drive with my favorite tunes while enjoying the top down.
I will be honest, when you start with something as iconic as a Miata, its hard to think that anything could be more enjoyable. I don’t think Fiat has succeeded in being better, but it damn well has delivered something incredibly enjoyable.