- More practical than most rivals
- Easy to drive
- Low wind and road noise
- Not the most sleek styling
- Limited equipment
- Interior may feel dated
What's the Fiat Panda like?
There's nothing any other auto manufacturer can teach Fiat about building small, economical cars that have style and flair.
This has always been the company’s forte, and the funky and distinctive Panda is right up there with the best.
But in fact, it’s better than many of the others in the small car market because it has a bigger interior with more leg and knee room front and back.
The latest model was introduced in 2012, and it has loads of personality. It’s also very easy to drive and must be just about the easiest car to park of any on the market.
There are basically three trim levels – of which more later – plus a number of special editions and the four-wheel drive (4WD) 4x4, which comes in a couple of variations.
Engines are a choice between three petrol and one diesel, starting with the lowliest 1.2-litre. This is a very old design, and like the others, is also used in the 500. It produces 68bhp and is capable of 49mpg, but the 0 to 60mph sprint is slow at 14.3 seconds.
Then comes the latest, a 1.0-litre unit with mild hybrid electric assistance and lower emissions. It's capable of 54mpg and gets to 60mph in 13.5 seconds.
Finally, on the petrol front comes the 0.9-litre TwinAir 2-cylinder turbo. This has a particularly charming sound and, with 85bhp on tap, is the performance leader of the range.
It covers the sprint in a very creditable 10.8 seconds and is capable of a diesel-busting 67mpg, with emissions of just 99g/km making it useable in low emission zones.
The Panda diesel is a quiet and refined 1.3-litre with 95bhp. Economy should be a very best of 72mpg and the sprint takes about 12.4 seconds.
The three main trim levels are Pop, Easy, and Lounge. All three are available with 1.0-litre and 1.2-litre petrol and diesel engines.
But only the upper Easy and Lounge models are offered with the TwinAir, and some of the special editions are only offered with one engine choice.
Driving Experience and Practicality
All Panda models are beautifully easy to drive and thread through crowded streets, and they also have a supple ride at slow speeds, so that they take the potholes and speed bumps of town life delightfully in their stride.
Tyre, wind and road noise are impressively suppressed too, which is not the most common in any smaller car. Roadholding and handling are also very good.
The Panda is decently practical, with good interior space, excellent headroom, and a one piece folding rear seat. The boot is fairly small, but it will handle a week’s shopping for most people.
There were also 4x4 and other more heavy-duty variants such as Trekking and Cross models, which are exceptionally capable in poor driving conditions and over rough terrain.
Equipment is decent to generous across the range and, in all, includes extra power city steering assistance, central locking, electric front windows, and CD stereo with MP3.
Easy adds air conditioning, remote locking, traction control and roof rails, while Lounge also gets front fog lights, heated mirrors, alloys, side mouldings, extra steering wheel adjustment, and a height adjustable driver’s seat.
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Find your Fiat Panda your way with CarStore
Fun to drive, reliable, and with tons of charisma, the Fiat Panda is a city car that offers levels of practicality that others in its class struggle to match. You can also expect a relaxing driving experience when venturing away from the city, as the Panda offers a smooth and comfortable ride as well as impressive boot space.