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2020 FIAT 124 Spider Review

The 2020 Fiat 124 Spider ranks in the middle of the sports car class. It has luxe materials, sporty handling, and a fairly energetic turbocharged engine. However, a snug interior and small trunk keep this two-seat convertible from ranking higher than the bottom third of the segment.

Pros & Cons

  • Agile handling
  • Good fuel economy
  • Handsome two-seat interior
  • User-friendly features
  • Small trunk
  • Snug headroom for taller occupants

Rankings & Research

The 2020 FIAT 124 Spider's #5 ranking is based on its score within the Sports Cars category. Currently the FIAT 124 Spider has a score of 7.5 out of 10, which is based on our evaluation of 19 pieces of research and data elements using various sources.

7.5

Overall

Scorecard

Critics' Rating: 8.9
Performance: 7.8
Interior: 5.8
Safety:
This model has never been fully tested for safety. Its overall score is being calculated without safety.
N/A
Reliability:
This rating isn’t available yet for the current model year. In the meantime, last year’s rating of 3.0 for reliability is being used to calculate this vehicle’s overall score.
TBD

Is the Fiat 124 Spider a Good Car?

Yes, the 2020 Fiat 124 Spider is a good sports car. It offers agile handling, a comfortable ride, and a fuel-efficient turbocharged engine. The 124 Spider also boasts a handsome interior and an intuitive touch screen, and it’s available with more safety features than most rivals. All in all, it’s a great option for those who truly enjoy driving.

Should I Buy the Fiat 124 Spider?

You should definitely consider the 124 Spider if you want a simple, back-to-basics sports car. It’s lightweight, affordable, and very fun to drive. That being said, it’s not a car you want for running errands or taking daily trips around town. The interior is snug for tall drivers and passengers, and the trunk is tiny. Check out alternatives like the Subaru BRZ or Ford Mustang if you want a sports car with more trunk space. Both of these rivals also have four seats.

Compare the 124 Spider, BRZ, and Mustang »

Should I Buy a New or Used Fiat 124 Spider?

The Fiat 124 Spider launched as an all-new vehicle for 2017. Since its inception, the only major updates have been the addition of a 7-inch touch screen and a rearview camera as standard equipment for 2019 (they were previously optional). You can save a lot of money by shopping for an older model while still finding similar performance and features.

If you're considering an older model, be sure to read our 2017, 2018, and 2019 Fiat 124 Spider reviews to help make your decision. Also check out our Used Car Deals page to learn about savings and discounts you can find on used vehicles.

Compare the 2018, 2019, and 2020 124 Spider »

We Did the Research for You: 19 Reviews Analyzed

We’ve analyzed 19 Fiat Spider reviews, as well as hard data points like reliability scores and fuel economy estimates, to help you make the best car-buying decision possible. This 2020 Fiat 124 Spider review incorporates applicable research for all models in this generation, which launched for 2017.

Why You Can Trust Us

U.S. News Best Cars has been ranking and reviewing vehicles since 2007, and our team has decades of experience in the auto industry. Though we’re passionate about cars, we’re even more committed to providing helpful consumer advice. To maintain objectivity, we don’t accept expensive gifts or trips from car companies.

How Much Does the Fiat 124 Spider Cost?

Pricing for the 2020 Fiat 124 Spider starts at $25,390, making it one of the least-expensive sports cars on the market. Other options in this price range include the Mazda MX-5 Miata and Toyota 86, which retail for around $25,700 and $26,700, respectively.

Check out our U.S. News Best Price Program for great savings at your local Fiat dealer.

Fiat 124 Spider Versus the Competition

Which Is Better: Fiat 124 Spider or Mazda MX-5 Miata?

Choosing between the Fiat 124 Spider and the Mazda MX-5 Miata is like choosing between vanilla and chocolate ice cream. Both are great options – in fact, both cars are built at the same factory – but each has a distinctive flavoring.

In this comparison, the 124 Spider is vanilla. It’s a close match for the Miata in terms of price, interior quality, tech features, seating and cargo space, and fuel economy. However, it’s tuned to deliver a smoother ride. This makes it the better choice for laidback cruising.

On the other hand, the MX-5 Miata is a little bolder, like chocolate. It has a punchier, more-responsive engine and sharper driving dynamics. This makes it the ideal choice if you want to slice around turns. The MX-5 also offers more variety than the Fiat. You can get it with a soft-top or a hardtop, and it's available with more advanced safety options, like forward collision warning with brake assist.

Which Is Better: Fiat 124 Spider or Mini Cooper?

If you like the Fiat Spider, you may also want to consider the Mini Cooper convertible. This drop-top Mini is a bit more practical for day-to-day driving. It has four seats, a slightly larger trunk, front-wheel drive, and better fuel economy in its base configuration. The Mini also supports Apple CarPlay. There are three available engines, with outputs ranging from 134 to 228 horsepower. However, the Mini Cooper is pricier than the rear-wheel-drive Fiat. The base Cooper starts at $26,900, which is $1,500 more than the 124 Spider. Test drive both cars to see which you prefer.

Compare the 124 Spider, MX-5 Miata, and Mini Cooper »

124 Spider Interior

How Many People Does the 124 Spider Seat?

The Fiat 124 Spider is a two-seat roadster. Cloth seats are standard; leather upholstery and heated seats are available. These seats are nicely padded and provide good support, making the 124 a rather comfortable sports car to rack up the miles in. On the other hand, the cabin is pretty snug. Taller drivers and passengers won’t have much headroom with the soft top up.

124 Spider and Car Seats

Like many two-seat sports cars, the Fiat Spider does not have LATCH connectors for securing child safety seats. We do not recommend installing a car seat in the front seat of any vehicle.

124 Spider Interior Quality

The 124 Spider’s cabin looks nearly identical to that of the Mazda MX-5 Miata, and that’s mostly a good thing. The dashboard is cleanly styled with a minimalist layout, and most interior surfaces are covered in soft-touch plastic. That said, there are a few hard plastics here and there. One of the 124’s biggest perks over the Miata – and many other small convertibles – is that the Fiat's interior filters out a lot of wind and road noise.

124 Spider Cargo Space

The Fiat Spider has just 4.9 cubic feet of trunk space. That’s enough room for a few grocery totes or duffle bags, but bulkier suitcases aren’t likely to fit. Consider the Dodge Challenger or Ford Mustang if you want a sports car with a larger trunk; both have over 10 cubic feet of cargo space.

124 Spider Infotainment, Bluetooth, and Navigation

The Fiat 124 Spider comes equipped with a 7-inch touch screen, four speakers, Bluetooth connectivity, two USB ports, air conditioning, remote keyless entry, and push-button start. Available features include navigation, a nine-speaker Bose stereo, HD Radio, satellite radio, proximity keyless entry, and automatic climate control.

The touch-screen infotainment system in the 124 is user-friendly and it has crisp graphics. You can also control this system using a knob and buttons on the center console, which can be helpful when driving. The 124’s air conditioning controls are about as simple as it gets – just three knobs on the dashboard. On the downside, the infotainment system doesn’t support Apple CarPlay or Android Auto.

Read more about interior »

124 Spider Performance

124 Spider Engine: Molto Bene

The Fiat 124 Spider has a turbocharged 1.4-liter four-cylinder engine with 160 horsepower. A six-speed manual transmission and rear-wheel drive are standard; a six-speed automatic is available.

This turbo engine may be small, but it packs a decent punch. There’s 184 pound-feet of torque on tap, and it offers adequate muscle for accelerating up to speed and passing other cars once the turbo kicks in. The exhaust note has a lovely zing as well. The Abarth model turns up the heat a little with 4 extra horsepower, and this version hits peak torque lower in the rev range. It’s no rocket ship, but it is fun to squeeze that power out.

The 124 Spider’s manual transmission is a joy to shift, thanks to its slick action and tightly spaced gears. The six-speed automatic transmission is pretty good as well; its gear changes are smooth and prompt, though it occasionally upshifts too soon.

124 Spider Gas Mileage: Leads the Class

When equipped with its manual transmission, the 124 Spider gets an EPA-estimated 26 mpg in the city and 35 mpg on the highway. Models with the automatic return 25/36 mpg city/highway. These estimates are better than any other vehicle in the sports car class.

124 Spider Ride and Handling: Graceful Balance

The 124 Spider is a better cruiser than almost all of its pint-sized rivals. Its suspension soaks up bumps and dips in the pavement, yielding an unusually smooth and relaxing ride for a sports car. It’s still a blast to wring out on winding roads, though. The Spider feels stable in tight turns, its steering is snappy and well-weighted, and the brakes provide strong stopping power. The Abarth model tightens things up a little more. It features stiffer Bilstein shock absorbers, a limited-slip differential, and available Brembo high-performance brakes.

Read more about performance »

124 Spider Reliability

Is the 124 Spider Reliable?

J.D. Power gives the 2020 Fiat 124 Spider a predicted reliability rating of three out of five, which is about average.

Fiat 124 Spider Warranty

Fiat covers the 124 Spider with a four-year/50,000-mile limited warranty.

Read more about reliability »

124 Spider Safety

124 Spider Crash Test Results

Neither the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration nor the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety has crash tested the 2020 Fiat 124 Spider. This is common among sports cars.

124 Spider Safety Features

The 124 Spider comes standard with a rearview camera. Available safety features include blind spot monitoring, rear cross traffic alert, rear parking sensors, and adaptive headlights.

Read more about safety »

Which Fiat 124 Spider Model Is Right for Me?

The 2020 Fiat 124 Spider is available in four trim levels: Classica, Urbana, Lusso, and Abarth. They each have a turbocharged four-cylinder engine and can be equipped with either a six-speed manual or a six-speed automatic transmission. That said, the sport-tuned Abarth model manages to pull a bit more power from that engine.

Overall, the midrange Lusso trim is the best bet for most shoppers. It adds a few luxury and convenience features that the base Classica trim lacks.

Fiat 124 Spider Classica

The base model 124 Spider Classica starts at $25,390. Standard features include a 7-inch touch screen, a rearview camera, Bluetooth, USB ports, four speakers, remote keyless entry, push-button start, air conditioning, manually adjustable seats, cloth upholstery, a leather-wrapped steering wheel, a manually operated soft top, power-adjustable side mirrors, auto on/off headlights, and 16-inch alloy wheels. Available features include HD Radio and satellite radio.

Fiat 124 Spider Urbana

The sporty 124 Spider Urbana trim starts at $26,385. It builds on the Classica trim's features with black 17-inch wheels, gloss black exterior accents, leather seats, and satellite radio.

Fiat 124 Spider Lusso

The midrange 124 Spider Lusso trim starts at $28,145 and it adds heated leather seats, automatic climate control, proximity keyless entry, HD Radio, satellite radio, rain-sensing windshield wipers, fog lights, and 17-inch alloy wheels. Available features include a navigation system, a nine-speaker Bose stereo, blind spot monitoring, rear parking sensors, and adaptive headlights.

Fiat 124 Spider Abarth

Lastly, the 124 Spider Abarth trim starts at $29,390. This top-of-the-line model gets leather seats with larger side bolsters, a stiffer sport-tuned suspension, and a limited-slip differential. In addition to the Lusso trim’s options, the Abarth is also available with larger Brembo brakes, a cat-back exhaust, and Recaro sport seats upholstered with leather and Alcantara.

Check out our U.S. News Best Price Program for great savings at your local Fiat dealer.

See 2020 Fiat 124 Spider specs and trims »

The Final Call

There’s a lot to love about the Fiat 124 Spider. This roadster is stylish inside and out. It’s fun to drive on switchback roads yet comfortable on uneven pavement. It’s also rather inexpensive for the sports car class. As long as you don’t need a big trunk or rear seats, you’re apt to be quite happy with the 124 Spider.

Don’t just take our word for it. Check out comments from some of the reviews that drive our rankings and analysis.

  • The 124 sets itself apart with styling cues plucked from the original version, making for a substantially different exterior appearance than the Miata. From behind the wheel, the Fiat is a more relaxed take on the Mazda, with a welcome reduction in interior noise due to extra sound-deadening measures, higher-quality materials inside, a more powerful turbo engine, and slightly more trunk space. However, the engine lacks responsiveness, and despite the extra power, is actually slower than the Miata. And make sure you fit, because, like the Miata, the 124's cabin is quite compact. Overall, it's a very good small roadster that lives in the shadow of the even better Miata." -- Car and Driver
  • Fast forward to the present day and the recently revived Fiat 124 Spider keeps its charm and minimizes its drawbacks. Much of this has to do with its Japanese DNA. Under the nouveau-retro bodywork are the same underpinnings as the Mazda MX-5 Miata. Fiat does use its own engine and transmission, however, along with unique suspension tuning. For most drivers, the differences in driving dynamics are negligible. That leaves the decision to personal preferences and aesthetics." -- Edmunds (2019)
  • "Despite their similar underpinnings a rich day spent blissfully baking in the Spider's cabin revealed a personality distinct from the Miata's. For some drivers the utterly undiluted handling and sharp style of Mazda's roadster make it the superior choice. But for others the slightly softer, light-hearted spirit of the Fiat better align with their top-down fantasies. In the world of roadsters emotion trumps all. The 2017 Fiat 124 Spider hits the right emotional notes with just enough rationality to justify the fun." -- Kelley Blue Book (2017)
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