Reader Question: Fixing it Again, Tony?

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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!

. . .

Got a question about cars, Libertarian politics – or anything else? Click on the “ask Eric” link and send ’em in!

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  1. Acquaintance of mine blew up his Abarth 500 twice in a year doing “educational” track events. I’m assuming it doesn’t like to be held at high rpm – not too cool for a ‘sports’ car that may get driven hard on occasion. He traded it and bought a Porshce…
    Seen a few Fiat 500s at the dragstrip in the last couple years too, in a word they were – uninspiring. Maybe the owners just couldn’t drive…I once watched a late model GT500 belt out some blistering 16 second times LOL.

  2. The 2.0t in the Alfa’s are solid from what I read, and many people are happy with their Alfa’s (skimmed through the forum’s)

    Not just Fiat, my friend wants a solid V6 awd sedan and I found him an ’18 cpo Chrysler 300 with 32k miles for $20k, won’t look at it

    These ain’t the old days folks, thinks have definitely improved


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