The new Fiat 124 Spider and Mazda MX-5 are basically the same car, but Clarkson isn't happy about it.
Manufacturer collaborations can be great, when they combine to share platforms and engines things can get pretty exciting, especially when one of the cars in question is set to replace an already great car with a cult-like following. Jeremy Clarkson pitted the new Fiat 124 Spider Classica against the new Mazda MX-5 in his most recent Driving article. You never can tell which way a Clarkson review will go, which is scary because his comments can make or break a car's future.
The new Mazda MX-5 is the latest in the the model's lineup, and it's every bit as good as the models it replaces, and more. It's set to become another cult classic for Mazda, which is the ultimate aim for any manufacturer. Fiat's version harks back to the '66 Sport Spider, one of the many iconic cars from the Italian brand. Did they get it right though? Well you'll need to read the article for yourself because no one can put down words better than Jezza can. Comments like: "Fiat has tried to copy that on the new version, but the Mazda’s boot lid isn’t horizontal, so the result looks awkward, like amateur taxidermy." set the tone.
From that you can tell that he's not really a fan. The styling of the Fiat, in particular the rear wing, as well as the power the car offers is also a disappointment for JC, but it doesn't end there. JC goes on to say "When you are in a sports car and the sun’s out and the roof is stowed away, you want to hear some induction roar and a crackle from the exhaust. Whereas what you get from the 124 is a missionary-position noise from the front and a vanilla exhaust note. It’s a pity." While the Italian cousin to the MX-5 promised a lot, it seems the Japanese version is where it's at, and with it costing over $1,300 less, why would you go Italian?