2019 FIAT 124 Spider & 2019 FIAT 500X

2019 Fiat 124 Spider Abarth

By Davio Rodriguez

When FIAT unveiled the Centoventi, a squat little electric concept car, for their 120th anniversary back in March, most auto press outlets in America saw this as the brand signifying a departure from traditional combustion-based engines, and embracing a future lineup of fully-electric vehicles. However, this doesn’t lend credit to the brand’s other models released this year—the 2019 FIAT 124 Spider and the 2019 FIAT 500X—the former a neat Japanese-Italian fusion and the latter being a souped-up crossover. The Spider, an impressive roadster developed in conjunction with Mazda, combines playful speed with reliable fuel efficiency. It is a “revival” of FIAT’s original 124 Spider, and is meant to compete with American luxury cars of a similar class. On the other hand, the 500X is a broad-shouldered crossover meant to keep FIAT, famous for their mini-cars, afloat in a market where mini-cars are floundering. With interpretations both old and new fully realized within the design of FIAT’s newest releases, it is only speculation where this brand will go next. 

2019 Fiat 124 Spider Lusso

2019 FIAT 124 Spider

With Mazda’s involvement in production, the Spider is blend of Italian and Japanese engineering—this iteration of the Spider takes inspiration from the Mazda MX-5 Miata. Because of this, and because the Spider is produced in a Mazda facility in Japan, some auto journalists have bashed the new Spider as “inauthentic.” Even so, the Spider sees vast improvements to mileage, speed, and handling and is true to FIAT’s aesthetic form. On the outside, the FIAT Spider is a handsome, cross-ethnic blend of the soft, rounded, inexplicably Japanese auto silhouette and the unmistakably classic Italian trappings of smart, sharp chrome and steel. On the inside, the FIAT can’t keep a secret—an unabashedly powerful and Ferrari-inspired 1.4-L four-cylinder engine peaks at 160 horsepower (or 164 with the higher-end and rowdier Abarth trim). The Spider is also a combination weekday-commute and weekend-getaway car, thanks to the high MPG rating (up to 26 city/35 highway) which makes regular trips economical, and the myriad of new features within the driver-centric cabin (seven-inch touchscreen display, steering controls, navigation technology, etc.), which make regular trips possible. Overall, it’s too soon to say if the new FIAT Spider will become an American staple—with only a small number of highly-satisfied purchases already on the road, the FIAT Spider may be resigned to history as a fast, fun curiosity with a timeless relevance but a limited production.

2019 FIAT 500X

2019 Fiat 500X Trekking Plus

Rolling off the docks of the Port of Baltimore in late March, all the way from the brand’s plant in Melfi, Italy, the arrival of 2019 FIAT 500X was a thrilling occasion for American auto press, with specific interest in the model’s all-new 1.3-L turbocharged, four-cylinder engine. With this, FIAT has become the first in the market to make such engines the standard. The new works gets the 2019 500X up to 177 horsepower and a MPG rating of 24 city and 30 highway—truthfully, this is fairly impressive for a crossover with only four cylinders. This year’s model also comes with an renovated exterior—heavyset, stocky, and low to the ground, yet with an arched back and rivulets of angled metal contours running from front to end—which evokes the more familiar, classic Italian style of early FIAT models while welcoming the sleeker aesthetics of today’s automotive designs. As for the interior, more comes as standard: heated mirrors, rear-view cam, and matching leatherette steering wheel and gear-shift knob, to name a couple. The latest Uconnect system, which includes a remote starter, a vehicle tracker, and a personal assistant program, comes standard across the 500X Pop, Trekking, and Trekking Plus tiers. And of course, special consideration was granted to this year’s safety & security features, with over 70 such features installed including an adaptive cruise control and a parking assistant. This year’s 500X is standard AWD across all tiers and includes a dynamic selector system, putting more focus on performance and fuel economy this time around. 

To test drive one of the models reviewed here, visit Rick Case FIAT on 3500 Weston Rd, Davie, Florida. Call 954.903.0719 or visit RickCaseFIATUSA.com to learn more.

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