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Exciting Fiat 124 preview video leads to less-exciting reality

by David Zatz on

The Fiat 124 is an exciting car to drive — responsive, light, fun, and clearly engineered around the driver. In Canada, the 124 may displace the 500 as Fiat’s best-selling car — despite the presence of the Mazda Miata, which shares most of its chassis, but has a different powertrain.

When Fiat posted the video you see above, it was natural to think that the 124 would be getting a new engine; after all, the turbocharged 1.4 liter “FIRE” engine is being replaced by two new series of four-cylinders, a small GSE family and a larger GME family which includes Jeep’s 2.0 turbos.

What we got, in fact, was a bit more prosaic. Here’s a list of “new for 2019” features:

  • Rear backup camera and seven-inch touchscreen display are standard
  • Record Monza Exhaust on the Abarth
  • Abarth gets an optional Veleno Appearance Group with a red lower fascia lip, mirror caps, and tow hook; bright dead pedal; and Abarth badging and floor mats
  • Technology group includes satellite radio and remote-proximity entry
  • Ceramic Gray paint joins the color lineup
  • New center-stripe design options are available on the Classica trim

autocross fiat 124 spider

In short, what you were hearing just now in the Fiat video was a new Record Monza exhaust system on the Fiat 124 Abarth, not a new engine. It does sound fine, more like a big V8 than a little 1.4-liter four-cylinder, and the current engine’s 184 pound-feet of torque and 160 horsepower (164 on Abarth) serve it well. It’s still the car I, personally, would be seriously looking at, if I didn’t need space for my son’s gear in the trunk. But it’s not repowered — at least, not yet.

See our Fiat 124 review.

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