They're almost the same car, but the differences in driving feel make them competitors.
By now most of us know that when looking at a Fiat 124 Spider, all we’re really seeing is an uglier version of the Mazda MX-5 Miata. However, unlike the Subaru BRZ and the Toyota 86 twins, it takes more than just a badge swap to get these cars ready to hit the dealership. Instead, Fiat makes a few tweaks to the suspension system and tosses in an entirely different engine to keep things different. Thing is, does that make it a better car?
To find out, Jason Cammisa of Motor Trend gets behind the wheel of both cars to do an old fashioned comparison.
As it turns out, the judge may be biased. Cammisa begins by mentioning how he recommended the Miata for multiple awards, citing how he thought that it is one of the best cars that money can buy today. If that’s the case, then how can the Fiat, an FCA product no less, improve on near perfection? It ain't easy, but it begins where the Miata falls short by revamping the suspension to get rid of body roll. While that helps with the handling, the downsized 1.4-liter turbo has a harder time stacking up to Mazda’s 2.0-liter because it's plagued with a chronic case of turbo lag. Making matters worse is the fact that the smaller engine falls far below the fuel economy benchmark set by the 2.0-liter. Still, these aren't cars we love for their EPA ratings.