The Fiero is a polarizing subject. I obviously see mainly its negatives, as brought forth in my DS. The 149 comments there attest to that quite colorfully. But I can also see why journalists were mostly positive about it at its introduction. It was the summer of 1983, and everyone’s attitude was still mired in the tail end of the Malaise Era. The first green shoots of the new era of performance were just appearing. So naturally a mid-engine sports car—even if dubbed a “commuter car”—was going to raise high hopes and expectations. And its performance was going to be judged to the standards of the near past and present, not the rapidly changing future.
And therein is the crux of the Fiero’s Deadly Sin: it might have been just sort of good enough in 1983, but even then there was hedging, as in dangling a future V6 instead of offering it from the get go. And certain limitations in its suspension were already making itself known, if in a modest way as of yet.
The Fiero was another great GM missed opportunity. Once again they pulled their punches, which quickly became obvious. Buyers of exciting and sporty cars want to sense that they’re the creations of unbridled passion and risk-taking. Dropping in the Iron Duke (with an undersized oil pan) pretty much insured that wasn’t going to be the case.
My apologies, but I’m a bit distracted with other things to be able to add any commentary, so here’s your chance to relive the Fiero’s introduction and a road test and do the commentary yourselves.