2020 Chevrolet Camaro vs. 2019 Fiat 124 Spider

Detailed Review, Specifications & Comparison

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Safety

The Camaro (except LS) offers an optional collision warning system, which detects an impending crash through forward mounted sensors and flashes a bright light and sounds a loud, distinctive tone to warn the driver to brake or maneuver immediately to avoid a collision. The 124 Spider doesn't offer a collision warning system.

The Camaro has standard OnStar®, which uses a global positioning satellite (GPS) receiver and a cellular system to get turn-by-turn driving directions, remotely unlock your doors if you lock your keys in, help track down your vehicle if it’s stolen or send emergency personnel to the scene if any airbags deploy. The 124 Spider doesn’t offer a GPS response system, only a navigation computer with no live response for emergencies, so if you’re involved in an accident and you’re incapacitated help may not come as quickly.

Both the Camaro 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, daytime running lights, rearview cameras, available blind spot warning systems, rear parking sensors and rear cross-path warning.

The Chevrolet Camaro weighs 816 to 1715 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

Chevrolet’s powertrain warranty covers the Camaro 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.

The Camaro’s corrosion warranty is 1 year longer than the 124 Spider’s (6 vs. 5 years).

There are over 7 times as many Chevrolet dealers as there are Fiat dealers, which makes it much easier should you ever need service under the Camaro’s warranty.

Reliability

A hardened steel chain, with no maintenance needs, drives the camshafts in the Camaro’s engine. A rubber cam drive belt that needs periodic replacement drives the 124 Spider’s camshaft. If the 124 Spider’s belt breaks, the engine could be severely damaged when the pistons hit the opened valves.

To reliably start during all conditions and help handle large electrical loads, the Camaro has a standard 700-amp battery. The 124 Spider’s 450-amp battery isn’t as powerful.

J.D. Power and Associates’ 2019 survey of the owners of three-year-old vehicles provides the long-term dependability statistics that show that Chevrolet vehicles are more reliable than Fiat vehicles. J.D. Power ranks Chevrolet fourth in reliability, above the industry average. With 134 more problems per 100 vehicles, Fiat is ranked 31st.

Engine

The Camaro has more powerful engines than the 124 Spider:

Horsepower

Torque

Camaro 2.0 turbo 4 cyl.

275 HP

295 lbs.-ft.

Camaro 3.6 DOHC V6

335 HP

284 lbs.-ft.

Camaro LT1/SS 6.2 V8

455 HP

455 lbs.-ft.

Camaro ZL1 6.2 supercharged V8

650 HP

650 lbs.-ft.

124 Spider 1.4 turbo 4 cyl.

160 HP

184 lbs.-ft.

124 Spider Abarth 1.4 turbo 4 cyl.

164 HP

184 lbs.-ft.

As tested in Motor Trend the Chevrolet Camaro is faster than the Fiat 124 Spider (manual transmissions tested):

Camaro turbo 4 cyl.

Camaro V6

124 Spider

124 Spider Abarth

Zero to 60 MPH

5.2 sec

5 sec

6.6 sec

6.5 sec

Quarter Mile

13.9 sec

13.7 sec

15 sec

14.9 sec

Speed in 1/4 Mile

101 MPH

101.7 MPH

92.4 MPH

92.6 MPH

As tested in Motor Trend the Camaro ZL1 is faster than the Fiat 124 Spider (base engine) (manual transmissions tested):

Camaro

124 Spider

Zero to 60 MPH

3.6 sec

6.6 sec

Quarter Mile

11.7 sec

15 sec

Speed in 1/4 Mile

123 MPH

92.4 MPH

In a Motor Trend race course test, the Chevrolet Camaro LT Coupe was clocked 3.86 seconds faster than the Fiat 124 Spider Abarth (85.19 sec. vs. 89.05 sec.).

Fuel Economy and Range

An engine control system that can shut down half of the engine’s cylinders helps improve the Camaro V6/V8 Auto’s fuel efficiency. The 124 Spider doesn’t offer a system that can shut down part of the engine.

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

The Camaro has a standard cap-less fueling system. The fuel filler is automatically opened when the fuel nozzle is inserted and automatically closed when it’s removed. This eliminates the need to unscrew and replace the cap and it reduces fuel evaporation, which causes pollution. The 124 Spider doesn’t offer a cap-less fueling system.

Transmission

A 10-speed automatic is available on the Chevrolet Camaro, 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 Camaro offers an optional up-shift light to indicate when the engine is approaching redline. The 124 Spider doesn’t offer an up-shift light.

The Camaro (except 4-cylinder/V6)’s optional launch control uses engine electronics to hold engine RPM’s precisely in order to provide the most stable and rapid acceleration possible, using all of the available traction. The 124 Spider doesn’t offer launch control.

The Chevrolet Camaro SS/ZL1 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

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

Camaro LS/LT

Camaro ZL1

124 Spider

Front Rotors

12.6 inches

15.35 inches

11 inches

Rear Rotors

12.4 inches

14.4 inches

11 inches

The Camaro SS’ 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 Camaro stops much shorter than the 124 Spider:

Camaro

124 Spider

70 to 0 MPH

140 feet

171 feet

Car and Driver

60 to 0 MPH

91 feet

115 feet

Motor Trend

60 to 0 MPH (Wet)

119 feet

130 feet

Consumer Reports

Tires and Wheels

For better traction, the Camaro has larger standard tires than the 124 Spider (245/50R18 vs. 195/50R16). The Camaro ZL1 1LE Coupe’s tires are larger than the largest tires available on the 124 Spider (F:305/30R19 & R:325/30R19 vs. 205/45R17).

The Camaro SS 1LE/ZL1’s tires provide better handling because they have a lower 30 series profile (height to width ratio) that provides a stiffer sidewall than the 124 Spider Lusso/Abarth’s 45 series tires.

For better ride, handling and brake cooling the Camaro has standard 18-inch wheels. Smaller 16-inch wheels are standard on the 124 Spider Classica. The Camaro’s optional 20-inch wheels are larger than the 17-inch wheels on the 124 Spider Lusso/Abarth.

The Chevrolet Camaro’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.

The Camaro has a standard easy tire fill system. When inflating the tires, the vehicle’s integrated tire pressure sensors keep track of the pressure as the tires fill and tell the driver when the tires are inflated to the proper pressure. The 124 Spider doesn’t offer vehicle monitored tire inflation.

Changing a flat tire near traffic can be dangerous and inconvenient. The run-flat tires available on the Camaro can be driven up to 50 miles without any air pressure, allowing you to drive to a service station for a repair. The 124 Spider doesn’t offer run-flat tires.

Suspension and Handling

The Camaro offers an optional driver-adjustable suspension system. It allows the driver to choose between an extra-supple ride, reducing fatigue on long trips, or a sport setting, which allows maximum control for tricky roads. The 124 Spider’s suspension doesn’t offer adjustable shock absorbers.

The Camaro 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 Camaro’s wheelbase is 19.8 inches longer than on the 124 Spider (110.7 inches vs. 90.9 inches).

For better handling and stability, the average track (width between the wheels) on the Camaro is 4.4 inches wider in the front and 3.7 inches wider in the rear than the track on the 124 Spider.

The Camaro SS Convertible handles at .98 G’s, while the 124 Spider Classica pulls only .84 G’s of cornering force in a Motor Trend skidpad test.

The Camaro SS Convertible executes Motor Trend’s “Figure Eight” maneuver 2.5 seconds quicker than the 124 Spider Classica (24.3 seconds @ .82 average G’s vs. 26.8 seconds @ .66 average G’s).

Chassis

As tested by Car and Driver while at idle, the interior of the Camaro SS Convertible is quieter than the 124 Spider Abarth (48 vs. 50 dB).

Passenger Space

The Camaro has standard seating for 4 passengers; the 124 Spider can only carry 2.

Cargo Capacity

The Camaro Convertible has a much larger trunk than the 124 Spider (7.3 vs. 4.9 cubic feet).

Servicing Ease

The Camaro uses gas struts to support the hood for easier service access. The 124 Spider uses a prop rod to support its heavy hood. It takes two hands to open the hood and set the prop rod, the prop rod gets in the way during maintenance and service, and the prop rod could be knocked out, causing the heavy hood to fall on the person maintaining or servicing the car.

Ergonomics

The Camaro Auto has a standard remote vehicle starting system, so the vehicle can be started from inside the driver's house. This allows the driver to comfortably warm up the engine before going out to the vehicle. The climate system will also automatically heat or cool the interior. The 124 Spider doesn’t offer a remote starting system.

To help each driver find a more comfortable driving position, the Camaro has a telescoping steering wheel. Much better than just a tilt steering wheel or adjustable seat, this allows a short driver to sit further from the steering wheel while maintaining contact with the pedals. The 124 Spider doesn’t offer a telescoping steering wheel.

When two different drivers share the Camaro (except LS/LT1), the optional memory seats and mirrors make it convenient for both. Each setting activates different, customized memories for the driver’s seat position and outside mirror angle. The 124 Spider doesn’t offer a memory system.

The Camaro (except LS/LT1)’s optional easy entry system glides the driver’s seat back when the door is unlocked or the ignition is switched off, making it easier for the driver to get in and out. The 124 Spider doesn’t offer an easy entry system.

The Camaro’s instruments include an oil pressure gauge and a temperature gauge - which could save your engine! Often ‘idiot lights’ don’t warn you until damage has been done. The 124 Spider does not have an oil pressure gauge.

The Camaro offers an optional heads-up display that projects speed and other key instrumentation readouts in front of the driver’s line of sight, allowing drivers to view information without diverting their eyes from the road. The 124 Spider doesn’t offer a heads-up display.

The Camaro’s power parking brake sets with one touch and releases with one touch or automatically. The 124 Spider has a lever-type parking brake that has to be strenuously raised to engage properly. It has to be lifted up more and a button depressed to release it.

The Camaro’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.

The Camaro has a standard automatic headlight on/off feature. When the ignition is on, the headlights automatically turn on at dusk and off after dawn. 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 Camaro has standard extendable sun visors. The 124 Spider doesn’t offer extendable visors.

The Camaro’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.

When the Camaro with available tilt-down mirrors is put in reverse, both rearview mirrors tilt from their original position. This gives the driver a better view of the curb during parallel parking maneuvers. Shifting out of reverse puts the mirrors into their original positions. The 124 Spider’s mirrors don’t automatically adjust for backing.

Optional air-conditioned seats in the Camaro (except LS/LT1) 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.

On extremely cold winter days, the Camaro’s optional heated steering wheel provides comfort, allowing the driver to steer safely and comfortably before the car heater warms up. The 124 Spider doesn’t offer a heated steering wheel.

The Camaro’s optional dual zone air conditioning allows the driver and front passenger to choose two completely different temperatures so people with different temperature preferences won’t have to compromise. This makes both the driver and front passenger as comfortable as possible. The 124 Spider doesn’t offer dual zone air conditioning.

A built-in pollen filter removes pollen, exhaust fumes and other pollutants from the Camaro’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

The Chevrolet Camaro comes in coupe and convertible bodystyles; the Fiat 124 Spider isn’t available as a coupe.

Economic Advantages

The Camaro will cost the buyer less in the long run because of its superior resale value. The IntelliChoice estimates that the Camaro will retain 45.92% to 53.69% of its original price after five years, while the 124 Spider only retains 38.93% to 40.43%.

Recommendations

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

The Camaro was chosen as one of Car and Driver’s “Top Ten” for 3 of the last 4 years. The 124 Spider has never been a Car and Driver “Top Ten” pick.

Motor Trend selected the Camaro as their 2016 Car of the Year. The 124 Spider has never been chosen.

The Camaro was chosen as one of Automobile Magazine’s “All Stars” in 2013. The 124 Spider has never been an “All Star.”

The Chevrolet Camaro outsold the Fiat 124 Spider by over 14 to one during 2018.

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

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