2017 Fiat 124 Spider captures spirit of original, despite Miata DNA – Chicago Tribune

Posted: Saturday, July 09, 2016

Five years into the Fiat brand’s return to U.S. shores, the 2017 Fiat 124 Spider goes on sale this summer to bolster the lineup, inspired by the original Fiat 124 Spider sold in the U.S. from 1968 to 1982.

That last model year marked Fiat’s retreat from the U.S. market, and my mother bought one of the last new Spiders. I drove it a lot — even took my driver’s test in it — and it gave me an appreciation for small European sports cars. Years later I would buy a well-loved 1981 Spider of my own, and the 2017 captures the spirit if not the distinction of the original.

While most brands would kill for younger customers, Fiat Brand North America director Bob Broderdorf thinks the new 124 Spider convertible will bring in an older and more affluent crowd to Fiat buyers who are five years below the industry average of 51 years old.

The price of admission is reasonable. With the exception of the limited-edition launch model, you can buy any trim level of the 124 Spider starting under $30,000, even with an automatic transmission. This falls in line with the appeal of the original Fiat Spiders, as they were reasonably priced.

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