2019 Nissan 370Z vs. 2018 Fiat 124 Spider

Detailed Review, Specifications & Comparison

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Safety

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Both the 370Z and the 124 Spider 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 and daytime running lights.

The Nissan 370Z weighs 817 to 1089 pounds more than the Fiat 124 Spider. The NHTSA advises that heavier cars are much safer in collisions than their significantly lighter counterparts. Crosswinds also affect lighter cars more.

Warranty

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Nissan’s powertrain warranty covers the 370Z 1 year and 10,000 miles longer than Fiat covers the 124 Spider. Any repair needed on the engine, transmission, axles, joints or driveshafts is fully covered for 5 years or 60,000 miles. Coverage on the 124 Spider ends after only 4 years or 50,000 miles.

There are almost 3 times as many Nissan dealers as there are Fiat dealers, which makes it much easier should you ever need service under the 370Z’s warranty.

Reliability

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The camshafts in the 370Z’s engine are driven by a hardened steel chain, with no maintenance needs. The 124 Spider’s camshaft is driven by a rubber belt that needs periodic replacement. If the 124 Spider’s cam drive belt breaks the engine could be severely damaged when the pistons hit the opened valves.

A reliable vehicle saves its owner time, money and trouble. Nobody wants to be stranded or have to be without a vehicle while it’s being repaired. Consumer Reports rates the 370Z’s reliability 40 points higher than the 124 Spider.

J.D. Power and Associates’ 2017 Initial Quality Study of new car owners surveyed provide the statistics that show that Nissan vehicles are better in initial quality than Fiat vehicles. J.D. Power ranks Nissan 10th in initial quality, above the industry average. With 70 more problems per 100 vehicles, Fiat is ranked 32nd, below the industry average.

J.D. Power and Associates’ 2018 survey of the owners of three-year-old vehicles provides the long-term dependability statistics that show that Nissan vehicles are more reliable than Fiat vehicles. J.D. Power ranks Nissan 10th in reliability, above the industry average. With 59 more problems per 100 vehicles, Fiat is ranked 29th.

Engine

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The 370Z’s standard 3.7 DOHC V6 produces 172 more horsepower (332 vs. 160) and 86 lbs.-ft. more torque (270 vs. 184) than the 124 Spider’s standard 1.4 turbo 4 cyl. The 370Z’s 3.7 DOHC V6 produces 168 more horsepower (332 vs. 164) and 86 lbs.-ft. more torque (270 vs. 184) than the 124 Spider Abarth’s standard 1.4 turbo 4 cyl.

As tested in Motor Trend the Nissan 370Z (base engine) is faster than the Fiat 124 Spider (manual transmissions tested):

 

370Z

124 Spider

124 Spider Abarth

Zero to 60 MPH

4.7 sec

6.6 sec

6.5 sec

Quarter Mile

13.3 sec

15 sec

14.9 sec

Speed in 1/4 Mile

105.7 MPH

92.4 MPH

92.6 MPH

Fuel Economy and Range

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The 370Z has 7.1 gallons more fuel capacity than the 124 Spider (19 vs. 11.9 gallons), for longer range between fill-ups.

Transmission

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A seven-speed automatic is available on the Nissan 370Z, for better acceleration and lower engine speed on the highway. Only a six-speed automatic is available for the 124 Spider.

To facilitate fast shifting and allow the driver to focus on the road, the 370Z has a standard up-shift light to indicate when the engine is approaching redline. The 124 Spider doesn’t offer an up-shift light.

The Nissan 370Z Sport/NISMO manual has a downshift rev synchronizer that automatically raises engine speed to make downshifts perfectly smooth. This keeps the car from lurching during downshifts, preventing loss of control during cornering. The 124 Spider doesn’t offer a downshift rev synchronizer.

Brakes and Stopping

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For better stopping power the 370Z’s brake rotors are larger than those on the 124 Spider:

 

370Z

370Z Sport/NISMO

124 Spider

Front Rotors

12.6 inches

14 inches

11 inches

Rear Rotors

12.6 inches

13.8 inches

11 inches

The 370Z’s standard front and rear disc brakes are vented to help dissipate heat for shorter stops with less fading. The rear discs on the 124 Spider are solid, not vented.

The 370Z stops much shorter than the 124 Spider:

 

370Z

124 Spider

 

70 to 0 MPH

156 feet

171 feet

Car and Driver

60 to 0 MPH

103 feet

115 feet

Motor Trend

60 to 0 MPH (Wet)

127 feet

130 feet

Consumer Reports

Tires and Wheels

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For better traction, the 370Z has larger standard tires than the 124 Spider (F:225/50R18 & R:245/45R18 vs. 195/50R16). The 370Z Sport’s tires are larger than the largest tires available on the 124 Spider (F:245/40R19 & R:275/35R19 vs. 205/45R17).

The 370Z’s standard 245/45R18 rear tires provide better handling because they have a lower 45 series profile (height to width ratio) that provides a stiffer sidewall than the 124 Spider Classica’s standard 50 series tires. The 370Z Sport/Sport Touring’s 245/40R19 front and 275/35R19 rear tires have a lower 40 series front and 35 series rear profile than the 124 Spider Lusso/Abarth’s 45 series tires.

For better ride, handling and brake cooling the 370Z has standard 18-inch wheels. Smaller 16-inch wheels are standard on the 124 Spider Classica. The 370Z Sport/Sport Touring’s 19-inch wheels are larger than the 17-inch wheels on the 124 Spider Lusso/Abarth.

The Nissan 370Z’s wheels have 5 lugs for longer wheel bearing life, less chance of rotor warping and greater strength. The Fiat 124 Spider only has 4 wheel lugs per wheel.

Suspension and Handling

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The 370Z has vehicle speed sensitive variable-assist power steering, for low-effort parking, better control at highway speeds and during hard cornering, and a better feel of the road. The 124 Spider doesn’t offer variable-assist power steering.

For a smoother ride and more stable handling, the 370Z’s wheelbase is 9.5 inches longer than on the 124 Spider (100.4 inches vs. 90.9 inches).

For better handling and stability, the average track (width between the wheels) on the 370Z is 2 inches wider in the front and 3.1 inches wider in the rear than the track on the 124 Spider.

The 370Z Touring Roadster handles at 1.00 G’s, while the 124 Spider Classica pulls only .84 G’s of cornering force in a Motor Trend skidpad test.

The 370Z Touring Roadster executes Motor Trend’s “Figure Eight” maneuver 2 seconds quicker than the 124 Spider Classica (24.8 seconds @ .76 average G’s vs. 26.8 seconds @ .66 average G’s).

Chassis

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To almost totally eliminate engine vibration in the passenger area, the 370Z has a liquid-filled front engine mount. The liquid helps further dampen engine harshness. The 124 Spider uses conventional solid rubber engine mounts.

For excellent aerodynamics, the 370Z has standard flush composite headlights. The 124 Spider has recessed headlights that spoil its aerodynamic shape and create extra drag.

The 370Z Sport/Sport Touring/NISMO uses computer-generated active noise cancellation to help remove annoying noise and vibration from the passenger compartment, especially at low frequencies. The 124 Spider doesn’t offer active noise cancellation.

Passenger Space

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The 370Z has .8 inches more front headroom, 2.6 inches more front hip room and 2.3 inches more front shoulder room than the 124 Spider.

Ergonomics

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The 370Z’s front power windows open or close with one touch of the switches, making it more convenient at drive-up windows and toll booths, or when talking with someone outside of the car. The 124 Spider’s power windows’ switches have to be held the entire time to close them fully.

Consumer Reports rated the 370Z’s headlight performance “Very Good,” a higher rating than the 124 Spider’s headlights, which were rated “Good.”

The 370Z has a standard automatic headlight on/off feature. When the ignition is on, the headlights automatically turn on at dusk and off after dawn. When the ignition turns off, the headlights turn off after a delay timed to allow you to securely get to your front door. The 124 Spider has an automatic headlight on/off feature standard only on the Lusso/Abarth.

To shield the driver and front passenger’s vision over a larger portion of the windshield and side windows, the 370Z has standard extendable sun visors. The 124 Spider doesn’t offer extendable visors.

The 370Z’s sun-visors swivel front-to-side to block glare from the side windows. The 124 Spider’s visors are fixed into the windshield header.

Standard air-conditioned seats in the 370Z Touring Roadster/Sport Touring Roadster keep the driver and front passenger comfortable and take the sting out of hot seats in summer. The 124 Spider doesn’t offer air-conditioned seats.

A built-in pollen filter removes pollen, exhaust fumes and other pollutants from the 370Z’s passenger compartment. This helps prevent lung and/or sinus irritation, which can trigger allergies or asthma. The 124 Spider doesn’t offer a filtration system.

Model Availability

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The Nissan 370Z comes in coupe and convertible bodystyles; the Fiat 124 Spider isn’t available as a coupe.

Economic Advantages

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The 370Z will cost the buyer less in the long run because of its superior resale value. The IntelliChoice estimates that the 370Z will retain 39.73% to 46.11% of its original price after five years, while the 124 Spider only retains 38.92% to 39.11%.

Recommendations

© 1999 - 2020 Advanta-STAR Automotive Research. All rights reserved. This vehicle comparison and all of the content in it are provided only by license from Advanta-STAR Automotive Research Corporation of America. If you are not a legally licensed user of this vehicle comparison, it is against federal law to access it, copy it, forward it or use it in any manner whatsoever. Any unauthorized use of this vehicle comparison is a violation of U.S. and international law and is punishable criminally and civilly. 6IUEX-0KENZ 45.55.47.189 2020/06/05

Consumer Reports® recommends the Nissan 370Z, based on reliability, safety and performance. The Fiat 124 Spider isn't recommended.

The Nissan 370Z outsold the Fiat 124 Spider by 136 units during 2017.

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