Indeed, this wee four-pot pulls hard when the boost comes on, but the window of opportunity is relatively narrow when compared to the linear and rev-hungry delivery of the Miata’s 2.0L naturally aspirated unit. Drop below 1,700 rpm and it closes up shop and all semblance of forward thrust vaporizes. Turbo lag, I know thy name. And once you’ve crested 5,500 rpm, the party is pretty much over.

So you drive the Fiat in the midrange, and here it hauls some decent arse. The 124 Spider really is a delightful little roadster that is nothing but a whole heap of fun.

If I buy the Fiat over the Mazda, will people think I’m an old fuddy-duddy?

Warranty:
3 years/60,000 km; 5 years/100,000 km powertrain; 3 years/unlimited distance corrosion perforation; 5 years/100,000 km roadside assistance

Competitors:
Audi A3 Cabriolet
BMW 228i Cabriolet
BMW Z4
Mini Convertible
Nissan 370Z Roadster
Porsche Boxster
Scion FR-S
Subaru BR-Z

If they do it’s their problem. Yes, I know, the elemental and purely genius Mazda Miata MX-5 is the very definition of a modern lightweight roadster, and it blends its modest power and brilliant (and again modest) handling into some otherworldly concoction greater than the sum of its parts. But I think Fiat was smart in going their own route here by not just bringing us a rebadged Mazda. The 2017 Fiat 124 Spider is a different and totally viable take on this wonderful chassis, and it opens up the world of the compact roadster to a demographic who might not go for the Mazda.

Pricing: 2017 Fiat 124 Spider Lusso
Base price: $36,495
Optional equipment: Premium Collection $4,200 – auto dimming rearview mirror, auto dimming and heated exterior mirrors, headlamp washer, adaptive LED headlamps, navigation, LED daytime running lamps, alarm, Bose audio, SiriusXM, rear park assist, blind spot and cross traffic detection, universal garage door opener
A/C tax: $100
Destination charge: $1,795
Price as tested: $42,590

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