Tag Archives: #Fiat

Fiat 124 Spider Review – New Car Review Ireland

Classic cars have played a large part in my life since a young age. I have been going to the Terenure Classic Car show each year since I was too young to remember. But it wasn’t until December 2007 when my Dad bought a 1973 Triumph TR6 that we started to mingle with these classic nuts. They really are nuts. Owning a 30 year old car and only using it at weekends, spending most of that time in fields listening to Elvis, Buddy Holly and co. on repeat on a crackling speaker in the unpredictable Irish weather. Sounds a bit crap, yeah? But it’s not and only unless you’re a nut will you ever understand the dedication these cars and this lifestyle takes.This leads me to the 2018 FIAT 124. Having partnered up with Mazda, FIAT and Mazda had the same idea – to build a rear-wheel-drive convertible that was both uncomplicated and affordable. While Mazda had been doing this since 1989 consecutively, FIAT stopped production of it’s 124 Spider in 1985 after 19 years of production. But seeing a demand for competition to the already excellent Mazda MX-5 they decided to give it a bash again.The 124 is powered by a 1.4 Turbo petrol engine producing 140hp and 240Nm. The equivalent Mazda has 131 Hp and 150Nm. The Fiat offers only a convertible option whereas the Mazda offers the RF (Retractable Fastback) option too. The FIAT starts at €28,745 for the Classica trim and the Mazda starts at €28,195. Is the FIAT worth that little bit extra?In terms of styling, both roadsters have a lot to offer. The FIAT’s bubbliness is a little bit cuter and the bug-like headlights give it some more character over the MX-5. However, I prefer the sleek, muscular and angriness of the MX-5. The FIAT uses a lot of Mazda’s parts on the 124. Mazda stickers are even plastered throughout to remind you that you are really driving a re-badged MX-5. This annoys me. Getting behind the wheel of the 124, the only differences, I spotted, were the gear knob (which twisted about in your hand), the handbrake lever, the gigantic FIAT badge on the steering wheel and the start-up screen on Mazda’s MZD Connect infotainment system. Everything else is Mazda; the switch gear, the dials and even the seats.Out on the road, the FIAT gets more attention. This is down to the fact that the MX-5 has sold better so the 124 is more scarce, but also because of the nostalgia factor. I was stopped by a man in my local area who reminisced about his first car, a FIAT 124 saloon. He even exclaimed that he hadn’t seen a new 124 Spider on the road before. But that wasn’t my first 124 encounter. Another local guy owns a 2017 Abarth 124 Spider, the only one in the country, apparently. We exchanged a finger wave as we passed by each other, both with the roof dropped. This is where the FIAT has its edge over the Mazda; it’s nostalgic. I’ve even noticed the prices of original FIAT 124 Spiders creeping up since the 2018 FIAT 124 Spider was released.As a daily runabout, the FIAT works better. Not that the 140l boot is much more significant than the MX-5’s 130l one or the cabin storage is better, but I found the suspension to be softer. The MX-5’s is quite crashy, much like my 2005 MINI Cooper S.

So it comes down to the final say, what would I own? Based on looks, cabin design and overall driving pleasure, I would have to go for the Mazda. The FIAT hasn’t done enough to distinguish it from its cousin. However, if you were to buy a 124 Spider, I have no doubt you’ll have many happy motoring memories.