Fiat's return to North America in 2012 was the result of a corporate tie-up between the Italian brand and Chrysler, so that Fiat, Alfa Romeo, Dodge, Jeep and Chrysler are now all marketed under the Fiat Chrysler Automobiles umbrella.
Last year, Mazda got involved when it licensed the platform from its excellent fourth-generation MX-5 roadster to Fiat for the latest version of its 124 Spider roadster, a car that has is built alongside the MX-5 in Japan and has been affectionately nicknamed the "Fiata."
For its second model year, the 124 gets minor changes to trim, including better options flexibility in Lusso and Abarth trims and a trio of new paint colours.
That leaves this car's fundamentals unchanged: all trims use a 1.4L turbocharged multiair four-cylinder engine that makes 160 hp and 184 lb-ft of torque in Classica and Lusso models and 164 hp and 184 lb-ft in the Abarth.
All models come with rear-wheel drive and a six-speed manual transmission that can be optioned to a six-speed automatic.
While we generally approve of any car that brings turbocharged torque to the table, but the 124 accelerates with a less-urgent feel than the MX-5 does with its rev-happy 2.0L engine. The Fiat is also heavier than the Mazda, thanks in part to its bulkier engine. Happily, Fiat stuck with the MX-5's fantastic convertible roof, which can be stowed and restored one-handed from either seat.
Standard features include LED taillights, 16-inch wheels, air conditioning, six-way driver and four-way passenger seat adjustments, tilt steering and leather-trimmed shifter and steering wheel.
Lusso trim adds fog lights, automatic headlights, 17-inch wheels, rain-sensing wipers, dual-zone automatic climate control, leather-faced seats, seven-inch infotainment display and satellite radio.
Abarth upgrades include some performance items, adding a sport drive mode, limited slip differential and performance suspension. This range-topper also gets passive keyless entry and a Bose stereo.
Fuel consumption estimates are 9.0/6.7 L/100 km (city/highway) with the stickshift and 9.3/6.5 with the automatic, figures that more or less match those of the MX-5 despite the differences between the two cars' powerplants.
This vehicle has not yet been reviewed