Tuesday, July 5, 2022
Should-you-buy Should You Buy a 2018 Fiat 124 Spider Abarth?

Should You Buy a 2018 Fiat 124 Spider Abarth?

It’s no secret: Fiat is dying a horrible death in North America. Among its lineup of cars, only one is worthy of Fiat’s proud heritage of building small, fun cars. It’s no secret here either that this one car is only a Fiat in badge and engine.

The Fiat 124 Spider is a brilliant and failed attempt at reinfusing life into the brand’s showrooms. By using the world’s greatest affordable roadster as a building block into which they infused some of its own DNA, Fiat created an interesting car, to say the least.

This “Should You Buy” applies to all versions of the 124. Should you do it then?

2018 Fiat 124 Spider Abarth – Photo: Matt St-Pierre

Why you should buy a 2018 Fiat 124 Spider Abarth:

  • The 124 is nothing other than a re-bodied Mazda MX-5, one of the best driving cars money can buy
  • The 4-litre MultiAir turbocharged 4-cylinder engine is torque-rich and responsive
  • The cockpit is hyper-functional for the task at hand
  • Mazda MX-5s are rather common. The 124 Spider is rare and somewhat exclusive
  • As FCA is having a hard time moving these cars, rebates are plenty and there are deals to be made 

Why you should not buy a 2018 Fiat 124 Spider Abarth: 

  • Styling is a matter of personal tastes and yes this is an “Italian” car but the 124’s design mixed in with familiar Miata cues does not work – everyone knows it’s a Miata
  • The Abarth may have a Sport mode selector, a limited-slip differential and four extra horsepower but it’s not worth the required $4,000 premium
  • The Abarth’s exhaust note is fun at first but draws too much attention to itself. For this reason alone, we’d look elsewhere
  • Again, with the Abarth, the suspension is “performance-tuned” which only means it rides harsher. The base Classica and Lusso are fine as is 

2018 Fiat 124 Spider Abarth – Photo: Matt St-Pierre

Conclusion:

By default, making copies of an original means that the copy will never be as good as the original. The Fiat 124 Spider fits this description however the presence of the 1.4-litre MultiAir turbocharged engine makes up for the fact that it’s only a copy.

If the car’s styling is not an issue, a base Rosso or Blu Scuro Classica 124 could be a screaming deal. It drives and handles like an MX-5 and at this point, it’s less expensive than the Mazda. We say go for it and enjoy!

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Matt St-Pierre
Trained as an Automotive Technician, Matt has two decades of automotive journalism under his belt. He’s done TV, radio, print and this thing called the internet. He’s an avid collector of many 4-wheeled things, all of them under 1,500 kg, holds a recently expired racing license and is a father of two. Life is beautiful. Send Matt an emai

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