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How Fiat Made the 124 Spider Different From the Miata at the Same Price

A few key tweaks made this $25,000 drop-top a compelling driver, in a way that differs from the other car built on the same platform.

The Fiat 124 Spider is not an exact twin of the ND Mazda Miata, but it's pretty close. It's slightly bigger thanks to its longer overhangs, and heavier due to using the previous-generation NC Miata's gearbox (needed because Fiat's 1.4 turbo produces more torque than Mazda's N/A engines). It also comes with more power in America than in Europe, and obviously it's fitted with different body panels, shocks, springs and windshield.

Despite having a firmer suspension, the 124 Spider still has plenty of body roll to keep things comfortable and balanced on the edge of the mechanical grip. The point of this setup is to offer a fun driving experience even on bad roads, and also to make it easy to drive for those who are not necessarily used to rear-wheel drive.

But just like the Miata, the Fiat 124 has the same strong selling points: a basic, driver-focused cabin and a lightweight, rigid, dedicated chassis. A fun two-seater with a soft top for $25,000. It's great to drive today, and it'll be great to drive in 20 years.