Here’s the latest reader question – along with my reply!
Lake asks: I really want a 124 over the Miata for the reasons listed in your review – but I can’t get over reliability issues with a Fiat engine. Fiat has a very bad rep for reliability and parts availability. I know that the 124 is mostly a Mazda, but is the engine reliable?
My reply: A very good friend of mine bought a Fiat 500 turbo on my recommendation and she is very happy with the car – which she has owned for going on three years now – in part because she hasn’t had any problems with the car, excepting a deer that hit her car, which isn’t the car’s fault!
The problem Fiat’s got is chiefly a perception problem. Or rather, a memory problem. People remember how unreliable Fiats were… 30 years ago. And they were. And it was hard to get parts . . . 30 years ago, especially after Fiat left the U.S.
But today? Fiats seem to be good little cars overall – and where it counts (the mechanical things). Some trim/plastic parts aren’t the highest quality – but that’s not operational and it’s of a piece with other FiatChrysler (and Dodge/Ram/Jeep) vehicles.
Given the general goodness – the enjoyability and great value of these cars – I wouldn’t hesitate to buy one myself. And – as you mention – most of the Spider is Mazda anyhow!
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