Parkers overall rating: 4.4 out of 5 4.4
  • Will be a snug fit for larger adults
  • Surprisingly comfy, all controls are in easy reach
  • Roof is easy to fold down and put back up

Climbing into and out of the Abarth 124 Spider is an art that can only be mastered after a good deal of practice. The car is low slung and the driving position akin to a proper old-fashioned sports car. It’s not uncomfortable, but those used to an upright SUV-style driving position will feel like they’re sat in a rowing boat.

Needless to say, the 124 Spider does not lend itself to those who are either very tall or of a hefty build. It’s imperative that anyone over six foot tests whether they can fit in the car before even considering it as a possible purchase.

Providing you meet all of the physical requirements, however, the Abarth 124 Spider is a reasonably comfortable place to sit with a two-way adjustable seat and steering wheel that moves up and down (but not forward and back). It’s fine for short to medium journeys although does become a little uncomfortable after two hours of driving.

An unexpected surprise of the cabin is the overall ergonomics and just how easy every major control is to reach and operate. The climate control dials can be operated with gloves on – handy when you’re driving top-down in winter – and the Mazda-sourced infotainment system is simple to use thanks to a rotary controller on the centre console (it can also be operated via the touchscreen).

Excellent build quality courtesy of Mazda

Fiat (and by extension Abarth) hasn’t got the best reputation when it comes to reliability and build quality but the 124 Spider feels like it’s built to last – largely because it’s based on a Mazda MX-5.

Everything feels tightly screwed together plus the buttons and switches work with a solid, predictable action.

Manual fabric roof folds down with ease

Like the MX-5, the 124 Spider’s folding roof mechanism is excellent. Putting it down is simply a case of undoing the latch and pushing it behind your shoulder, then clicking it in place with a firm press.

Sudden downpour? No problem, you simply flick a lever between the seats, reach behind and pull the roof up over your head and fasten the clip. Job done.

Looks special, feels special

From the circular leather wheel with the red centre stripe to the stubby gearlever and suede gaiter, the Abarth 124 Spider’s cabin both looks and feels a special place to be – especially with the roof down.

It may be almost exactly the same as that found in the Mazda MX-5, but the extra additions just make it feel that little bit more exciting. Very few cars at this price point feel quite like the Abarth 124 Spider to sit in. 

  • Better-than-expected overall comfort levels
  • Pliant suspension gives a decent ride
  • Plenty of wind and road noise on motorways

While the 124 Spider might not be designed for comfort, it’s far more pleasant to use every day than you might think. The ride quality is firm, but not overly so, displaying enough give to tackle bumpy country roads or broken urban streets.

Comfort levels do take a hit at motorway speeds, although largely because of the increased wind and road noise – especially the latter. Driving long distances with the roof down is an achievable feat, but one that the vast majority of customers would likely want to avoid due to the levels of wind buffeting. On that front, the heated seats are worth their weight in gold.

Road and wind noise with the roof up are noticeable and you’ll struggle to have a conversation at high speed without raising your voice. Folding the roof down brings about even more wind noise, yet even so it’s no more than is typical for  a small two-seat roadster.