Fiat 124 Spider a

It costs: $43,500.


It has: A 125-kilowatt turbocharged 1.4 litre with a six-speed manual.


We got: 9.7 litres per 100 km in the city, 6.8 in the country. The official combined figure is 6.5.


Consensus: Italian passion, Japanese build quality.

He says:

I have always loved Mazda’s MX5 and the 124 is an MX5 with a more powerful Fiat motor, tighter suspension and styling that reflects the original Fiat 124 roadster of 1966 – but only if you’re generous of view. So if you’ve always loved MX5s but dearly wanted just a tad more go and handling this is the one for you, and the price is entirely in line with what Mazda’s charging.

Fiat 124 Spider bFiat’s turbo 1.4 in a light body makes for a very quick car, although it can bog down a bit off the mark if you’re not concentrating, and don’t try a rolling start from second-gear. But once wound up it goes like a mouse at a cattery. You’d be silly to pay an extra two grand for the auto, the six-speed manual is an utter peach; light, fast, direct and beautifully spaced, it begs to be used and doing so is a real pleasure. The ride gets quite firm and the noise levels are high, but mostly they’re beautiful noises, especially up around five grand. Even driven hard the economy is good.

The handling is a revelation. Kick the gas half way through any roundabout and you’ll feel the tail tuck in beautifully as the 124 simply goes around and straightens up again on exit without even a tremor. Delicious.

Rod’s verdict:
Utterly wonderful.

Fiat 124 Spider cShe says:

The seats are good, very comfortable and they help to even out a ride that can get quite sharp, especially over long distances. But then this is a weekend car and totally impractical for the day-to-day grind with a tiny boot, no spare wheel (there’s a puncture repair kit) and very few places to store anything in the cabin. One of the storage boxes, at your left shoulder, is impossible to use while seated.

I hated the navigation/entertainment screen sticking out of the dash and reflecting badly on the windscreen at night. The speedometer is awkward – you’ll spend 95 per cent of your time down between 6 o’clock and 9 o’clock and it’s calibrated in 30 kmh segments which easily gets you out of whack on the freeway.

I loved the 124 anyway.

Sheryl’s verdict:
Great fun.

Published April 2017


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