Fiat 124 Spider vs Mazda Miata MX-5

January 23rd, 2018 by

Fiat 124 Spider vs Mazda Miata MX-5 Comprehensive Comparison
The Fiat 124 Spider is often hailed as a Mazda Miata in Italian clothing by automotive journalists and this comparison isn’t too far off the mark. Both vehicles share similar dimensions and stylistic queues. The new Fiat 124 Spider is even produced in Japan at a Mazda facility. The Fiat 124 Spider has a slightly lower price point, and sometimes Fiat offers more substantial incentives. This has driven a lot of people to ask the question, “Which vehicle should I buy, a Mazda Miata MX-5, or the Fiat 124 Spider?”

We’ll take a comprehensive look at the specs of each vehicle to evaluate performance, but the biggest difference in these two vehicles is aesthetic appeal. Fiats are all about personality and the Fiat 124 Spider, despite being so similar in dimensions as the Miata, does an exceptional job of showcasing that unique Italian style. The Mazda Miata MX-5 is purpose built for performance, but lacks in some of the luxury and comforts that are expected in a modern vehicle. One thing almost every automotive critic agrees upon is that the Fiat 124 Spider is more luxurious and comfortable offering a more enjoyable daily driving experience with enhanced sound proofing and a more comfortable luxurious interior.

(All data for our comparison was pulled from

We often find that Fiat owners are generally looking for a vehicle that truly expresses their personality and lifestyle. There are a number of reasons to show interest in any particular vehicle, but we will take a quick look at just what’s under the hood of each of these sports cars.

Engine type is one area where these two vehicles vary drastically. The Fiat 124 Spider is equipped with a Ferrari inspired turbocharged 1.4-liter four-cylinder engine that produces 164-horsepower with 184 lb-ft of torque. The Mazda Miata MX-5 is equipped with a 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine that produces 155-horsepower with 148 lb-ft of torque. The Fiat 124 Spider’s Ferrari inspired engine produces more power and torque with the assistance of a turbocharger. Both offer similar fuel economy ratings, but the Fiat 124 Spider offers slightly better highway efficiency due to its engine size and turbocharger.

Fiat 124 Spider Powertrain
Engine: turbocharged and intercooled SOHC 16-valve inline-4, iron block and aluminum head, port fuel injection
Displacement: 83 cu in, 1368 cc
Power: 164 hp @ 5500 rpm
Torque: 184 lb-ft @ 3200 rpm
Fuel Economy: EPA city/highway driving: 26/35 mpg

Mazda Miata MX-5 Powertrain
Engine Type:DOHC 16-valve Atkinson-capable inline-4, aluminum block and head, direct fuel injection
Displacement:122 cu in, 1998 cc
Power: 155 hp @ 6000 rpm
Torque: 148 lb-ft @ 4600 rpm
Fuel Economy: EPA city/highway: 26/33 mpg

As mentioned before, if you simply look at mathematical data you are likely to come to the conclusion that these two vehicles are identical. The main difference is that the Fiat 124 Spider has slightly larger overhangs and offers 1 cu. ft. more in cargo and passenger volume. In addition to having more cargo/passenger volume, the Fiat 124 Spider exudes a bit more luxury.

Fiat 124 Spider Dimensions
Wheelbase: 90.9 in
Length: 159.6 in
Width: 68.5 in Height: 48.5 in
Passenger volume: 49 cu ft
Cargo volume: 5 cu ft
Curb weight: 2509 lb

Mazda MX-5 Dimensions
Wheelbase: 90.9 in
Length: 154.1 in
Width: 68.3 in Height: 49.0 in
Passenger volume: 48 cu ft
Cargo volume: 4 cu ft
Curb weight: 2429/2435 lb

Sports cars often invite performance enthusiasts to evaluate track data in order to develop their preference in vehicle, but these observations matter a little more on the track than they do in the daily grind of Seattle traffic. In 0-60 and 0-100 evaluations the Mazda Miata MX-5 performs about a second quicker with its naturally aspirated engine. In 0-120 the Fiat 124 Spider is able to close the gap between the two once the turbocharger has spooled up. If quarter mile times is what you are concerned with the Mazda Miata MX-5 may feel like the better choice though the difference between the two is a mere three tenths of a second. On a road course where higher RPMs are being maintained the Fiat 124 Spider is going to outperform the Mazda Miata due to the assistance of the turbocharger.

Fiat 124 Spider Performance
Zero to 60 mph: 6.7 sec
Zero to 100 mph: 18.8 sec
Zero to 120 mph: 31.9 sec
Rolling start, 5-60 mph: 7.6 sec
Top gear, 30-50 mph: 13.6 sec
Top gear, 50-70 mph: 8.1 sec
Standing ¼-mile: 15.1 sec @ 91 mph
Top speed (drag limited): 136 mph
Braking, 70-0 mph: 171 ft
Roadholding, 300-ft-dia skidpad: 0.87 g

Mazda Miata MX-5 Performance
Zero to 60 mph: 6.1
Zero to 100 mph: 17.5 sec
Zero to 120 mph: 31.3 sec
Rolling start, 5-60 mph: 6.6 sec
Top gear, 30-50 mph: 9.6 sec
Top gear, 50-70 mph: 9.6 sec
Standing ¼-mile: 14.8 sec @ 93 mph
Top speed (drag limited): 131 mph
Braking, 70-0 mph: 171 ft
Roadholding, 300-ft-dia skidpad: 0.89 g
The question between which is better the Fiat 124 Spider or the Mazda Miata MX-5 is likely to come down to preference between aesthetics. Both vehicles offer similar performance, fuel efficiency, and cargo/passenger space. When analyzing all the above data the differences are so miniscule that the average day to day driver won’t notice a difference. We often see Mazda Miata MX-5s come in as trade-ins for the Fiat 124 Spider because the consumer is looking for a sports car with a little bit more luxury and comfort than the Miata has to offer. One thing most critics agree upon is that the comfort and quality of the Fiat 124 Spider is superior to the Mazda Miata MX-5. Both vehicles have essentially equivalent specs across the board, with the Fiat 124 Spider offering a slightly lower price point.

If you are interested in learning more about the 2018 Fiat 124 Spider, or would like to know if we currently have any used Mazda Miata MX-5s that have come in on trade, then schedule a vehicle demonstration at Rairdon’s Fiat of Kirkland. Our award winning customer service team can help you find the perfect vehicle to express your unique personality.
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