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2021 Fiat 124 Spider Review: Expected Release Date, Prices, MPG and Performance

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John Bedrow

Automotive Journalist

July 19, 2020 at 03:23 PM

The Fiat 124 was originally born in difficult times but this badge came a long way before being discontinued in the 90s. With the help of Mazda, the 124 Spider got another chance to relive its heritage. After five years, amidst so many technologically advanced, luxurious, and reasonably priced vehicles, it finds itself in yet another struggle - the struggle to stay relevant.

To a certain extent, the Fiat 124 Spider stands at a position of advantage for few patrons. With cars today becoming more than just means to travel from point A to Point B. The experience is no more limited to just driving anymore.

And if there’s any car right now that can deliver on driving joy, the Fiat 124 Spider should be counted as one of the best there is. It’s not about numbers anymore, the 124 Spider has aged quite gracefully and it will sit poised at your garage arousing the same temptation to drive, that it did in the ’60s. Whether it's those teardrop-shaped headlights or that old-school manual cover top, the 2021 124 is more of a testament to that statement, “You have no idea how things were back then!”

Will there be a 2021 Fiat 124 Spider?

Well, the 2020 model is still available and Fiat hasn’t announced any plans about a new car. So, as of now the 2021 124 Spider will be a carry-over. As far as changes and additions are concerned, it will be minimal. Fiat would not want to change much in a car that at one point will become a sought after vintage design. There will be small inputs like the strip on the steering wheel and abundance of Abarth inscriptions and badges throughout the car for enthusiasts to seek out. Aside from that, the premise of this classic will stay the same.

What’s New in the 2021 Fiat 124 Spider?

  • Minor updates and slight tweaking

What engine will the 2021 Fiat 124 Spider get?

All four, Classic, Urbana, Lusso, and Abarth, trims get the same 1.4L turbocharged engine, but the sportier Abarth gets minor tweaks in the form of more power. Fiat will continue with the Multiair engine, which has been hailed to as the “Ultimate Air Management Strategy”. By controlling the air intake to individual cylinders stroke by stroke, Fiat has managed to extrapolate the most out of the minimum.

It not only optimizes and cuts down on fuel consumption but also enhances performance with a steady rise in power as quickly as possible. The standard six-speed manual transmission shifts in a more lively manner and that should be retained, as opposed to the automatic transmission, which in all honesty does kill the thrill a bit.

Models

2021 Fiat 124 Spider (Expected)

2020 Mazda MX-5 Miata

2020 Mini Cooper Convertible

2020 Nissan 370Z Coupe

Base MSRP

$25,390

$26,580

$28,400

$31,490

Engine

1.4L I-4

2.0L I-4

1.5L I-3

3.7L V6

Transmission

6-speed manual

6-speed manual

7-speed manual

7- speed automatic

Horsepower (hp@rpm)

160@ 5,500

181@ 7,000

134@ 4,400

332@7000

Torque (hp@rpm)

184@ 3,200

151@ 4,000

162@ 1,250

270@5200

0-60 (Seconds)

6.4

6.3

6.2

4.8

Quarter Mile (Seconds)

17.6

16.2

16.2

11.6

*2020 figures used for reference

The Fiat 124 Spider might not be the most powerful of the lot but it does offer great value for money. However, Fiat’s 184lb-ft torque output makes it the most fun to drive convertible where Miata and Cooper don’t even stand a chance. The Nissan on the other hand, with a pricier tag, gets a V6 that makes it the faster in the lot, on paper.

How does the 2021 Fiat 124 Spider drive and handle?

The performance will not be compromised in the 2021 Fiat 124 Spider. In fact, despite the Italian-Japanese friendship, Fiat has managed to make it stand apart from the Miata with several additions of its own. Especially, when it comes to the Abarth trim. If seen in the table above, it might come across as a slow car, with 17.6 seconds to reach 100 mph. Yet, when accelerating the 124 Spider, it will sound better courtesy the Record Monza exhaust system, something that is missing in the MX-5.

Fiat also manages to fill the half-empty cup by installing Limited Slip Differential, which helps the car to slide and drift at command. And with 164 horsepower at the tap, the Fiat manages to get away with just more than some slides. And last but not the least, the ‘Sport’ switch that can be found on the 124 Spider only, with the manual gear set up just makes things more interesting and faster. Both of these are not present in the Miata.

How many miles to a gallon will the 2021 124 Spider deliver?

Fuel consumption has been optimized to a huge extent by the Multiair- air management system. The mechanism is similar to the modern cylinder deactivation system. The electronic control unit in the unit works similar to a sensor that controls the valve movement, making it flexible and adaptive to driving situations.

Not only have they worked on the openings but also combustion control, where different modes pre-set up in the engine, work together and optimize the fuel burnt on the go. All that transcends down to an average fuel consumption rate of 30 mpg.

Models

2021 Fiat 124 Spider (Expected)

2020 Mazda MX-5 Miata

2020 Mini Cooper Convertible

2020 Nissan 370Z

MPG (City)

26

26

28

19

MPG (Highway)

35

34

36

26

MPG (Combined)

30

29

31

22

Fuel Capacity(Gallons)

11.9

11.9

11.6

19.0

Range(City/Highway, in miles)

309/417

309/405

325/418

361/494

*2020 figures used for reference

The 2020 Fiat 124 Spider offers amazing fuel efficiency. In fact, all the cars in this segment except for Nissan have a good fuel economy as their inline engines are very efficient. However, with the capacity to hold 19 gallons fuel the 2020 370z lives up with a respectable 494 miles of range on the highway.

What to expect from the Fiat 124 Spider's interior?

The 2020 Fiat 124 Spider has a very suave, yet sporty interior. Fiat used a lot of premium materials in the cabin with leather options. The Abarth trim gets leather-wrapped sports steering wheel, sports pedal alongside an abundance of Abarth logos, except for the one on the steering that says Fiat. The microfiber interior material is smooth and soft. The two-tone dashboard with an advanced console and high-tech infotainment feels complete.

And for a 2-seater sports car, the Fiat 124 Spider is pretty well-off that costs just $30,000. Speaking of seats, they are wide, well-padded, and cushioned, with standard Power adjust and Heating functions. The 2021 model will get updates to some of the interior features but it won’t be radically different from last year.

Models

2021 Fiat 124 Spider (Expected)

2020 Mazda MX-5 Miata

2020 Mini Cooper Convertible

2020 Nissan 370Z

Passenger Capacity

2

2

4

2

Front Row(Headroom/Shoulder room/Legroom) inches

37.4/52.1/43.1

37.4/52.2/43.1

39.8/51.0/41.4

38.2/54.4/42.9

Second Row(Headroom, Shoulder room/Legroom) inches

-

-

39.0/39.7/30.9

-

*2020 figures used for reference

Both 124 Spider and Miata are identical on the inside. The Mini cooper compromises on the front legroom to open up space at the rear. While the Nissan 370Z offers significantly more space than at the front.

2021 Fiat 124 Spider: Infotainment and Connectivity?

The Fiat 124 spider is fitted with advanced 7.0-inch infotainment that comes with the latest Fiat Connect 7 system. The infotainment supports Bluetooth audio configuration and SiriusXM subscription. The infotainment display offers a touch screen but it looks small compared to other modern cars. This is expected to change with the 2021 Fiat 124 Spider.

The infotainment can be controlled by designated buttons mounted on the steering wheel itself. The Bose surround system plays like anything with its woofer and 9-speaker setup out of which 2 each are placed in the headrest so that wind doesn't blow away your music.

Will there be any changes to the exterior of the 2021 Fiat 124 Spider?

The Fiat 124 Spider has evolved every year making it a better-packed sportscar. However, as far as the exterior body design is concerned it has more or less remained the same, ever since 2015. There has been a bit of enhancement in the form of headlights and taillights, and color options but aside from that the 124 Spider looks similar. The muscle overtones and the bonnet with those classic markings and a sleek rear with four Record Monza tailpipes add to its after an appeal

The front grill with the chrome design look premium and somewhere gives BMW Z4 vibes. The 2021 model is expected to retain the overall design with minor updates and changes. The headlights look phenomenal with their classy design and sure Fiat will add more to it.

Models

2021 Fiat 124 Spider (Expected)

2020 Mazda MX-5 Miata

2020 Mini Cooper Convertible

2020 Nissan 370Z

Curb Weight (lbs)

2,436

2,341

2,948

3362

Length (inches)

159.6

154.1

151.9

167.5

Width (inches)

68.5

68.3

68.0

72.6

Height (inches)

48.5

48.6

55.7

51.8

Wheelbase(inches)

90.9

90.9

98.2

100.4

Ground Clearance(inches)

5.3

4.9

4.5

-

*2020 figures used for reference.

Fiat 124 Spider is a compact sports car that's why it is lighter in weight and has the dimensions of a supercar. Again, 124 Spider and Miata are identical in size but the 124 spider is longer and the Miata is taller. Rivals like the Mini Cooper and Nissan, they are quite heavy and are bigger in dimensions. The size of Fiat 124 Spider is its USP as it is really a fun car that can surprise you with its performance.

Will the Fiat 124 Spider worth it?

The premium interior and modern tech have revived the legacy in a very elaborate manner. Fiat is offering a great deal with the 124 Spider and the 2021 model will hopefully be better. The nimble handling, the smooth-shifting, and excellent performance coupled with more than decent fuel efficiency figures, the 2021 Fiat 124 Spider will be a valuable package in exchange for your money and time.

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