2016 Fiat 124 Spider Review
Fiat’s iconic 1960’s Spider is back, exactly 50 years after the original was launched in 1966. It has retained its legendary name, the 124 Spider and its looks closely resemble what you would imagine a modern interpretation would be. Of course, this history comes with high expectations for the 2016 version and die-hard fans will be even harsher of any faults Fiat has made. They’ve set a good foundation for a modern sports car by teaming up with Mazda for the underpinnings of the 124 Spider but how does this incarnation stack up?
One of the first things you’ll notice about the 124 Spider is that the styling is much more aggressive than its Japanese counterpart. Taking influence from muscle cars, this model is obviously aimed at the American market as Fiat continues to make strives overseas. The lines of the body mirror that of its 60s sibling, with a flat boot lid that slightly flicks up to form a spoiler as it reaches the rear of the car. Classic large, bold headlights and a hexagonal grille adorn the front of the car, leading to the quintessential double dips in the bonnet. Fiat’s flair for retro styling is also very apparent, surely bringing back memories of summertime in the days of old.
Inside, the cabin doesn’t stray too far from the MX-5 it’s based on and rightly so, as the interior on it is superb, providing one of the most comfortable driving experiences in a small sports car. Fiat has added its own special touches that better represent the 124 Spider’s retro appeal. The instrument dial aperture is bubblier than its smooth counterpart and is reminiscent of the 500’s cluster. The monotone plastic dashboard has been replaced with a two tone one – featuring leather on the bottom half. This leather matches that of the wrap around seats that offer maximum comfort and cradle you through every turn.
Driving is excellent in all conditions, whether it’s popping to the shops or taking a long needed break in the country. The 124 Spider has a 140bhp turbocharged 1.4-litre petrol engine capable of reaching 62mph in 7.5 seconds with a top speed of 134mph. As well as being impressively swift, it has relatively good fuel economy with a combined cycle achieving 44.1mpg with CO2 emissions of 148g/km. Handling is incredibly responsive and you fully feel the sporting pedigree of this car, mostly because of how well the Mazda MX-5 itself handles.
Technology in the 124 Spider is exactly what you’d expect from a new car in 2017. Mounted on top of the dashboard is a “state of the art” 7-inch touchscreen which features a user-friendly interface that makes it easy to link up your phone up and get going. The usual satellite navigation, DAB radio, Bluetooth, WiFi, USB and AUX inputs can be found when you explore its system. Perhaps unexpected is the fact that the 124 Spider has nine built-in speakers, an impressive amount for a sports car. Two headrest mounted Bose speakers are fitted to each seat which ensures high quality even when the roof is down.
50 years on, Fiat’s late 60s icon has been reborn spectacularly with a new model that truly embodies the original’s spirit. The 2017 124 Spider is everything you want from a compact sports car, offering speed, practicality and economy. At £21,050 on the road, it sits at the perfect price point for a summer car to explore the countryside with the top down, feeling the cool air during a hot day. It takes the best parts about the MX-5 and adds the retro appeal that Fiat is well known for. Enthusiasts will be happy with this fantastic tribute to a piece of Italian motoring history.