2020 is the final model year for the Fiat 124 Spider and the 500L, FCA announced Wednesday. The Miata-based roadster and family-ish hatchback will not return for 2021, slicing Fiat's U.S. portfolio to just a single model in one fell swoop.
"For the 2021 model year, the Fiat lineup will feature the Fiat 500X small crossover, which offers unique and functional Italian design, standard all-wheel-drive capability, 9-speed automatic transmission, 30 mpg highway and best-in-class 210 lb-ft of torque," Fiat said in its announcement. "The Fiat 124 Spider and the Fiat 500L will be discontinued after the 2020 model year."
A joint-development project between Mazda and FCA, the reborn 124 Spider was originally supposed to be an Alfa Romeo. At what seemed like the last minute, labor issues and an Alfa product development shuffle shunted the project to Fiat.
The final product was an interesting blend of Italian and Japanese style and engineering. The engine and exterior design were provided by Fiat; the platform, transmission and interior all came from Mazda. The result was a slightly heavier and more powerful roadster than the Miata on which it was based.
As an added bonus, the enthusiast-friendly Abarth model, with the same upgrades Mazda offered on the MX-5 Club, was cheaper trim-for-trim, especially after Fiat's far more generous discounts. Since then, the 124's advantages have been somewhat overshadowed by improvements to the Miata, which got a more potent engine for the 2019 model year.
On the other hand, we wouldn't blame you if you'd forgotten that the 500L was still in production at all. Apart from a core group of loyal buyers, the frumpy hatchback never really caught on in the United States.
Fiat also announced several trim updates and some pricing changes for its sole remaining model. The base 500X gets a $250 price hike (up to $26,335 after a $1,495 destination charge), and Fiat is introducing new packages for the Sport model to give potential customers more flexibility.
The Fiat's platform-mate, the Jeep Renegade, remains cheaper, but its standard engine is the naturally aspirated 2.4-liter Tigershark"4-cylinder, while the 1.3-liter turbocharged engine is a $1,495 upgrade.