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Autocrossing the Fiat 124

by David Zatz on

Patrick Rall wrote about autocrossing in the Fiat 124 weeks ago, but this week was the first time I’d been in the Miata’s bigger brother.

Fiat 124 end of track

My own experience with the Fiat 124 is that it is a tight, fun car with no slop in the suspension and remarkable stability. I drove the same white-and-black car and red stick as Patrick, with much the same results. I would say, though, that the 1.4 turbo engine is willing and ready, but it’s still basically a tiny engine relying on a big turbo for its power.  I found there to be some lag when starting, if you didn’t rev it high first — that is, if you drove on the street and not on the race-course.

The car was exceptionally nimble, and as Patrick wrote, it wasn’t punishing to drive. I took it along the “bad road” track at the Chelsea proving grounds, and it wasn’t quite as cushy as the Pacifica, but it was definitely closer to a comfortable family car than a sports car in terms of bump and wave absorption. It also felt “carved of a solid block” solid and never gave up a squeak or a rattle.

At the autocross track, I was just riding shotgun, but the Fiat felt surprisingly well planted. As Patrick said, the main limit seemed to be the tires.

For Patrick’s own, much more stable videos (GoPro based), see our Fiat 124 First Drive page.

 

David Zatz founded Allpar in 1998 (based on a site he had begun in 1993-94), after years of writing reviews for retail trades. He has been quoted by the New York Times, the Daily Telegraph, the Detroit News, and USA Today. Before making Allpar a full-time career, he was a consultant in organizational psychology. You can reach him by using our contact form (much preferred) or by calling (313) 766-2304


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