Three years ago, Fiat brought affordable Italian open-air motoring back to North America with the 124 Spider, a slick-looking convertible based on the Mazda MX-5 and powered by Fiat's own MultiAir turbocharged engine.
For 2019, the 124 is largely carried over but gains a standard 7.0-inch infotainment touchscreen with backup camera; a rejigged technology package that now includes satellite radio and passive keyless entry; and a new ceramic grey paint option.
While the 124's suspension is tuned for a softer ride than the Mazda's, the real differences between these two cars is under the hood, where Fiat's turbo motor (160 hp/184 lb-ft of torque, or 164 hp in Abarth trim) makes more torque than the Mazda and, once you get past some turbo lag, makes the 124 feel quicker in city driving. Taken altogether, the 124 offers a more laid-back driving experience.
Transmission choices start with a six-speed manual that can be optioned to a six-speed automatic.
Entry-level Classica trim comes with dual exhaust tips, black roll bar, body-colour header, side sills and door handles, 16-inch aluminum wheels, cloth seats, halogen headlights and LED taillights.
Lusso trim brings 17-inch wheels, silver A-pillar header and roll bar cover, chrome exhaust tips, leather-trimmed heated seats and leatherette trim for the gauge hood and lower instrument panel.
Abarth is the sportiest of the bunch, but unlike the tiny Fiat 500 Abarth, doesn't get a significantly more power engine. There's an extra four horsepower that we presume is owing to a less restrictive exhaust, but the real differences are a firmer suspension, limited slip differential, front strut tower bar, sport-tuned exhaust and sport drive mode, gunmetal wheels and exterior accents and a hand-painted hood stripe.
Options include adaptive LED headlights, Brembo brakes, Recaro seats, blind spot monitor with rear cross path detection, passive keyless entry and a nine-speaker stereo.
Fiat's fuel consumption estimates are 9.0/6.7 L/100 km (city/highway) with the manual transmission and 9.3/6.5 with the automatic.