Editor’s note: You may also want to read Autotrader’s 2017 FIAT Spider 124 review.
The first thing we noticed about the new 2017 FIAT Spider is that the designers did a great job capturing the classic Spider look while giving the new model a modern style at the same time. Even today, the old Spider has a clean look that screams "classic sports car."
You may or may not know that much of the new Spider’s core structure is shared with the Mazda MX-5 Miata. That’s a good place to start, since the Miata is an excellent sports car in its own right. Some online commentators have suggested that the new FIAT is basically a Miata, but that’s really not true — each car has its own look and feel. The one thing we wish FIAT would change is the Spider’s interior: It’s attractive and comfortable but ultimately looks too much like the Mazda.
But the FIAT has its own unique character thanks to a slightly more comfortable ride and a turbocharged 160-horsepower 1.4-liter engine. Buyers have the option of a 6-speed automatic or a 6-speed manual. The turbo is a blast to drive hard and provides a surprising amount of thrust, all while getting 36 miles per gallon on the highway.
Our test car came with the automatic, but we don’t recommend it. The automatic is actually really good, probably one of the best automatic transmissions we’ve experienced — it’s just that the manual is the right choice for this kind of car.
We really like how easy it is to put the top up and down; you don’t even have to get out of the car.
Bottom line: The new FIAT Spider is appealing for two simple reasons. First, the car’s terrific exterior design — the new Spider is one of the best-looking sports cars around. Second is the fact that it’s just so much fun to drive. The turbo engine revs freely, almost like the original car’s twin-cam engine. Plus, handling is spectacular: Acceleration and braking match the car’s athletic feel on twisty roads.
The new 2017 FIAT spider is a great car that’s lots of fun, especially for about $25,000. If you get one of these cars, your new hobby will probably be finding cool, curvy remote roads.