2019 Fiat 124 Spider vs. 2019 Mercedes SLC

Detailed Review, Specifications & Comparison

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Safety

To help make backing safer, the 124 Spider Lusso/Abarth’s optional cross-path warning system uses wide-angle radar in the rear bumper to alert the driver to vehicles approaching from the side, helping the driver avoid collisions. The SLC doesn’t offer a cross-path warning system.

Both the 124 Spider and the SLC have standard driver and passenger frontal airbags, front side-impact airbags, side-impact head airbags, front seatbelt pretensioners, four-wheel antilock brakes, traction control, electronic stability systems to prevent skidding, daytime running lights, rearview cameras, available blind spot warning systems and rear parking sensors.

Warranty

There are over 10 percent more Fiat dealers than there are Mercedes dealers, which makes it easier should you ever need service under the 124 Spider’s warranty.

Reliability

The Fiat 124 Spider’s engines use a cast iron block for durability, while the SLC’s engines use an aluminum block. Aluminum engine blocks are much more prone to warp and crack at high temperatures than cast iron.

The engines in the 124 Spider have a single overhead cam for simplicity. The engines in the SLC have dual overhead cams, which add to the number of moving parts and the complexity of the cylinder heads.

Fuel Economy and Range

On the EPA test cycle the 124 Spider Auto with its standard engine gets better fuel mileage than the SLC 300 (25 city/36 hwy vs. 23 city/32 hwy).

To lower fuel costs and make buying fuel easier, the Fiat 124 Spider uses regular unleaded gasoline (premium recommended for maximum performance). The SLC requires premium, which can cost 20 to 55 cents more per gallon.

Transmission

The 124 Spider offers a manual transmission for better acceleration, control and fuel economy. The SLC doesn’t offer a manual transmission.

Suspension and Handling

For better maneuverability, the 124 Spider’s turning circle is 3.7 feet tighter than the SLC’s (30.8 feet vs. 34.5 feet).

Chassis

The Fiat 124 Spider may be more efficient, handle and accelerate better because it weighs about 850 to 1050 pounds less than the Mercedes SLC.

The 124 Spider is 3.2 inches shorter than the SLC, making the 124 Spider easier to handle, maneuver and park in tight spaces.

Ergonomics

The 124 Spider’s standard power windows have a locking feature to keep children from operating them. Mercedes does not offer a locking feature on the SLC’s power windows.

Economic Advantages

Insurance will cost less for the 124 Spider owner. The Complete Car Cost Guide estimates that insurance for the 124 Spider will cost $1025 to $2560 less than the SLC over a five-year period.

IntelliChoice estimates that five-year ownership costs (depreciation, financing, insurance, fuel, fees, repairs and maintenance) for the Fiat 124 Spider will be $18483 to $26292 less than for the Mercedes SLC.

Recommendations

J.D. Power and Associates rated the 124 Spider third among compact sporty cars in owner reported satisfaction. This includes how well the vehicle performs and satisfies its owner’s expectations. The SLC isn’t in the top three in its category.

The Fiat 124 Spider outsold the Mercedes SLC by 76% during 2018.

© 1991-2018 Advanta-STAR Automotive Research. All rights reserved.

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