Though it's assembled in Japan, the latest FIAT Spider is as close as many of us will get to buying a new Italian sports car, Alfa 4C notwithstanding. Final assembly takes place in Mazda's Hiroshima assembly plant, while Termoli, Italy is the origin of the 1.4L MultiAir powerplant The exterior is convincingly Italian, if a bit overwrought.
Reviews are mixed on FIAT's alterations to the Miata formula. For one, critics generally favor the Mazda powertrain to the torquier FIAT unit. On the suspension side, the FIAT reportedly corners with less body roll, which is great for transient response, but can rob ultimate grip, which plays a large part in driver confidence in a small sports car. Further, while the Miata saw an upgraded transmission with its latest redesign, the FIAT is stuck with the old Miata gearbox - never an outright bad thing, but inferior in this case. But, we haven't driven the new Spider yet, so we'll reserve judgement for our first test drive.
Engine: 1.4L I4
Transmission: 6-speed manual
CLICK FOR DETAILS: 2017 FIAT Spider
Included Packages Technology Collection Radio: AM/FM Bluetooth w/7" Display Integrated Voice Command w/Bluetooth Nav-Capable! See Dealer for Details Pandora, AHA & Stitcher Apps ParkView Rear Back-Up Camera Remote Proximity Keyless Entry Additional Options Transmission: 6-Speed Manual Remote Proximity Keyless Entry Technology Collection Engine: 1.4L I4 MultiAir Turbo Pandora, AHA & Stitcher Apps Quick Order Package 21D 50 State Emissions Radio: AM/FM Bluetooth w/7" Display Integrated Voice Command w/Bluetooth Premium Cloth Seats ParkView Rear Back-Up Camera It delivers plenty of power and excellent gas mileage! A turbocharger further enhances performance, while also preserving fuel economy. All of the following features are included: a tachometer, variably intermittent wipers, and power windows. It features a standard transmission, rear-wheel drive, and an efficient 4 cylinder engine.
Keeping in tradition with the intent of a sports car, this base "Classico" model is low on frills. Nice touches, such as a leather-wrapped steering wheel and leather shift boot maintain a respectable level of appointment inside the cabin. The base model wheels are arguably the prettiest on offer, and do complement the retro feel of the design with a more traditional aspect ratio tire. If tan cloth were available, we would have selected it, but currently only black cloth is available on the Classico models.
Would we put our money into a new Spider? Well, we haven't had the chance to test drive one yet, so we don't know how well it would stack up to a Miata for us. We test drove the new Miata in spring of 2016 and were rather impressed with the old school sports car feel, not to mention the proper sporty exhaust note. As far as appearance goes, we'd probably vote in favor of the Miata as well. That said, we do prefer to drive an Italian car when available, so our solution would be to buy a Miata and slap some Alfa emblems and Spider badges on - best of both worlds!