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Fiat 124 Spider Review

Fiat 124 Spider
Fiat 124 Spider
Fiat 124 Spider
Fiat 124 Spider
Fiat 124 Spider
Fiat 124 Spider
Fiat 124 Spider
Fiat 124 Spider
Fiat 124 Spider
Fiat 124 Spider
Fiat 124 Spider

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Fiat 124 Spider

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Fiat 124 Spider

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Fiat 124 Spider

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Fiat 124 Spider

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Fiat 124 Spider

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Fiat 124 Spider

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Fiat 124 Spider

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Fiat 124 Spider

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Fiat 124 Spider

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heycar review

      Launch year
      2016
      Body type
      Convertible
      Fuel type
      Petrol
heycar editorial team

Written by

heycar editorial team

00/10
heycar rating
Meet the Italian Mazda MX-5

Best bits

  • Italian styling harks back to the classic Fiat 124 Sport Spider
  • Japanese build quality provides some reassurance
  • Abarth version is one of the best takes on the MX-5 recipe

Not so great

  • Not as focused or precise as the Mazda MX-5
  • Inconsistent power delivery from the turbocharged engine
  • Interior is near-enough lifted straight from the MX-5

Read by

Fiat 124 Spider Front

Overall verdict

Fiat 124 Spider Interior

On the inside

Fiat 124 Spider Driving

Driving

Fiat 124 Spider Back

How much does it cost to run

Fiat 124 Spider Side

Prices, versions and specification

Overall verdict

"Although the standard 124 Spider isn’t as focused or sharp as the Mazda MX-5, Fiat should be applauded for creating something with a different flavour. If the MX-5 is wasabi, the 124 Spider is gelato. For added sauce, we’d recommend the Abarth."

Fiat 124 Spider Front

There’s a hint of ‘Tenacious D’ to the Fiat 124 Spider. That’s because it’s a tribute to the greatest affordable sports car in the world.


Although it wears a distinctly Italian suit, the 124 Spider shares much in common with the Mazda MX-5 and is – or rather, was – built in the same factory in Japan. We say ‘was’, because the 124 Spider has been discontinued in some markets and is likely to be removed from the others very soon.


First seen at the 2015 Los Angeles Auto Show, this roadster takes inspiration from the Fiat 124 Sport Spider of 1966. Its launch in 2016 coincided with the 50th anniversary of the original car, with Fiat producing a limited edition Anniversary special to mark the occasion.


In a world of SUVs and crossovers, the Fiat 124 Spider is, figuratively and literally, a breath of fresh air. Small and affordable sports cars are a dying breed, so we must cherish every opportunity we get to try a new one.


As its styling would suggest, the 124 Spider is far more than a facsimile of the Mazda MX-5. The softer, arguably more elegant, styling is matched by a marginally softer driving experience, along with a subtly different interior. The clever use of materials makes the cabin appear slightly bespoke, even though a great deal of it is lifted from the MX-5.


Up front, power is sourced from a 1.4-litre MultiAir petrol engine delivering 140PS. That might not seem like a lot, but thanks to the car’s low weight and the fitment of a turbocharger, the 124 Spider offers plenty of real-world poke.


For added bite, you can also buy an Abarth version, which uses the same 1.4 turbo engine but with power cranked up to 170PS. It might be our favourite version of the Mazda MX-5, especially when you factor in the mechanical upgrades and trick exhaust system.


In standard guise, the 124 Spider offers nine-tenths of the precision and focus of the MX-5, but with a softer and more comfortable ride. It also boasts a satisfyingly short-throw gearbox, although an automatic transmission is available if you want to be even more laid-back.


Predictably, practically isn’t a strong point, but you get marginally more boot space than in the MX-5 and there’s enough capacity for a long weekend somewhere exotic. Might we suggest a trip to the Italian lakes?


Thanks to its short production life, exclusivity is almost guaranteed, with some of the earliest examples now available for the price of a budget city car. Even the hardcore Abarth costs less than an entry-level Ford Fiesta to buy second-hand.


What are you waiting for? The Fiat 124 Spider offers the reliability and reassurance of a Japanese car with the flair and elegance of something Italian. Read on to discover why you need to find room for this enjoyable sports car.

Ready to get your top quality Fiat 124 Spider?

  • All cars come with a warranty
  • Selected dealers only
  • All quality checked

Fiat 124 Spider

1.4 Multiair Lusso 2dr

  • 2017
  • 15,687 miles
  • Desira Fiat Norwich
  • Norfolk, NR24TG
Price:£13,990
PCP: £255.16/mo

Representative example: Contract Length: 37 months, 36 Monthly Payments: £255.16, Customer Deposit: £2,098.00, Total Deposit: £2,098.50, Optional Final Payment: £5,248.75, Total Charge For Credit: £2,543.01, Total Amount Payable: £16,533.01, Representative APR: 9.9%, Interest Rate (Fixed): 5.1%, Excess Mileage Charge: 14.9ppm, Mileage Per Annum: 10,000

Fiat 124 Spider

1.4 Multiair Classica 2dr

  • 2018
  • 22,404 miles
  • Desira Fiat Norwich
  • Norfolk, NR24TG
Price:£12,690
PCP: £229.86/mo

Representative example: Contract Length: 37 months, 36 Monthly Payments: £229.86, Customer Deposit: £1,903.00, Total Deposit: £1,903.50, Optional Final Payment: £4,827.66, Total Charge For Credit: £2,316.12, Total Amount Payable: £15,006.12, Representative APR: 9.9%, Interest Rate (Fixed): 5.1%, Excess Mileage Charge: 14.9ppm, Mileage Per Annum: 10,000

Is the Fiat 124 Spider right for you?

Everybody should own a two-seater sports car at some point in their life. Whether it’s before the pitter patter of tiny feet or as a weekend toy to offset the tedium of the family SUV, driving a topless sports car is a rewarding and enriching experience.


The Fiat 124 Spider is one of the best of the breed. It’s based on the brilliant Mazda MX-5, sharing an interior and platform with its Japanese sibling, but Fiat has done enough to create a sports car that’s dripping in Italian flair.


Only you can decide if there’s room in your life for a two-seat sports car with limited practicality, but the combination of affordable prices and low running costs means there should be nothing stopping you. This incy wincy Spider will crawl under your skin and make your journey to work a more pleasurable experience.

What’s the best Fiat 124 Spider model/engine to choose?

The 124 Spider comes in two distinct flavours: Fiat and Abarth. Both are powered by the same 1.4-litre turbocharged MultiAir engine, but while the Fiat offers a healthy 140PS, the Abarth delivers a punchy 170PS.


Whisper this, but the Abarth 124 Spider is one of the best versions of the Mazda MX-5 we’ve ever driven. While that might upset the MX-5 purists, we’re standing by our wild claim. Its Abarth Record Monza exhaust delivers a rich and evocative soundtrack for your aural pleasure.


Not that we’d rule out the standard Fiat 124 Spider. It’s less hardcore than the Abarth and a more soft-focus take on the Mazda MX-5. Either way, the Fiat is more exclusive than the Mazda, especially in the UK, where only 3,000 or so were sold during its short life.

What other cars are similar to the Fiat 124 Spider?

The most obvious rival is the Mazda MX-5. The 124 Spider was actually built alongside the MX-5 at Mazda’s Hiroshima plant in Japan. However, while production of the MX-5 is still in full flow, the Fiat is on borrowed time.


We’d also place the Toyota GT86 and Subaru BRZ in a similar playground as the 124 Spider, although these Japanese tearaways offer strictly tin-top thrills. Beyond that, you’re looking at the likes of the more expensive Porsche 718 Boxster or Alpine A110.

Learn more

Fiat 124 Spider Interior

On the inside

Fiat 124 Spider Driving

Driving

Fiat 124 Spider Back

How much does it cost to run

Fiat 124 Spider Side

Prices, versions and specification