The Fiat fleshed out those bones rather differently. On the outside, it dresses like a becoming Italian, being groomed and adapted despite being five and a half inches longer than the bar-of-soap Miata, with enough retrospective cues to connect it to its disco-era precursor. The 2017 Fiat 124 Spider is made on top of the same minimum as the Mazda MX-5 Miata.
Our $33,635 Lusso try-out vehicle included $3795 worthy of critter supports and technology bits in component to the $1350 automatic transmission, but its basal style can be had for the Lusso’s $28,490 commencing value. Thus supplied, the Lusso is fair yet tastefully inhibited and even passersby with no indication of its ties to either the preceding Fiat Spider or the Miata seemed to be moved to it, making many a thumbs-up and lots of curious speech. The quality Rosso Red over Nero Cinema Jet Black color scheme with looking 17-inch 10-spoke wheels certainly didn’t hurt. It’s a busier design than that of the Mazda, but it works. The Lusso were to be the user-friendliest model of the Mazda/Fiat. The 124 already has the large stalk of the two, acknowledgments to that longer procreate extremity, and as a non-Abarth deviation, the most amenable steer, too.
With its soft fabric roof—something withheld only for the Miata’s aureate Grand Touring stage, it has the quietest indoor for top-up cruising. And with an automatic transmission, it was the most traffic-jam-friendly. Yet it Fiated the good part of our week with the vehicle to acknowledge the above. The Miata’s puppylike feeling was suppressed. We missed the Mazda’s steering and visceral street feel. We missed the dimensionality of the Miata’s naturally aspirated 2.0-liter motor. And we really missed the quality to translation ourselves with a becoming fasten and grasping ride, or even bat stagehands, which at Fiat are withheld only for the harder-riding Abarth automatic (they come regular on all Miata automatics, though).
Clearly, this is a convertible for people who work more about light and style than bona fide sportiness. Perhaps most unsatisfactory is the Fiat’s laggy powertrain—a 1.4-liter turbocharged four-cylinder with 160 stallions and 184 lb-ft of torque which feels more arid with the slushbox. At 2533 pounds, this 124 Lusso measured a full 150 pounds more than the last automatic-supplied Miata to pass through our guardianships, weight that showed in the 124 Spider’s sedate acceleration figures. It demanded 6.8 seconds to knocked 60 mph, nearly half a second behind the automatic Miata, although it began to close the disparity by the quarter-mile evaluation, 15.3 seconds at 91 mph versus the Mazda’s 15.1 at 93 mph. At full valve, the automatic’s unbroken force transportation seemed to keep the Fiat’s turbo transferred during our acceleration runs. But capture it off raise and what feels like a time can pass before it catches its step, as embodied by its slow, 8.0 second racing begin from 5 to 60 mph (the Miata gets it done in 6.7 seconds).
We constantly found ourselves flooring it just to get the turbo going even when limit force wasn’t demanded, which surely contributed to the 124’s spied fuel economy of 21 mpg versus the automatic Mazda’s 28 mpg. Keep it on raise, though, and the tiny Lusso can move like a champion. The driving is still direct and communicative, just not quite as voluble as the Mazda’s.
And with the motorist sitting basically on top of the procreate wheels and that long, straked hood being out up front, there’s no perplexity as to what path the vehicle is pointing. Meanwhile, Fiat’s seasons and plates, adjusted differently from those of the Mazda, creaseless out the steer appreciably, especially analyzed with the MX-5 Club model. Not insignificantly, the creaseless steer, calm freeway cruising, and large stalk give this vehicle perhaps the agelong freeway staminas of any Fiat deviation.
Its brakes also were to be powerful, stopping the vehicle from 70 mph in 165 feet, but that’s seven feet more than demanded by the Miata.
If you absolutely must have the Fiat model, we suggest saving the $1350 for the autobox. If you have to have the slushbox, well, the 124’s sportiness ratio takes a knocked. But if that’s a difficulty, there’s always theMiata.