Fiat Panda Review

Find out more about the Fiat Panda in the latest Motors.co.uk Review

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3
Out of 5

Pros

  • Low entry-level price
  • Roomy interior
  • Excellent visibility

Cons

  • Interior feels cheap
  • Rear legroom not brilliant
  • Limited amount of kit
  • MPG

    48 - 57

  • CO2

    114 - 131 g/km

  • Video

  • Price Guide

  • Trims

  • Summary

Model review

The Fiat Panda has been around for some time now, with the first incarnation of the hugely popular city car first appearing in 1980. The Italian manufacturer designed the Panda as a way of offering the masses a basic form of transport for a price that would by no means break the bank.

The original was produced in some form or another until 2003, when the second-generation car was unveiled.

Fast-forward to 2017, and the Panda is now in its third generation. While it may be considerably larger than the original, it remains a fairly cheap and practical offering in the growing city car market.

Latest model

The third-generation Panda was first unveiled at the 2011 Frankfurt Motor Show, and production began towards the end of that year. It built on the looks of the second-generation car, adding a funkier and more characterful appearance to its predecessor’s boxy and upright shape.

Fiat doesn’t just offer the Panda in regular city car guise, however. Those who live off the beaten track will likely be tempted by the beefier Panda 4x4 and Panda Cross models, which are more rugged in their appearance, have raised ride heights and four-wheel-drive capabilities.

Value for money

Next to its rivals in the city car market, the Panda doesn’t really seem to offer the best value for money. A basic Pop model will set you back £9,245, and standard equipment is incredibly sparse. Highlights include a CD player and not much else.

The Panda 4x4 and Panda Cross models do include a lot more equipment as standard – such as Bluetooth connectivity, air conditioning and 15-inch alloy wheels – but cost a lot more money than their more basic counterparts. The Panda 4x4 will set buyers back from £14,445, while the Panda Cross costs from £16,095.

A Skoda Citigo is considerably cheaper than the Panda, and also offers a more robust-feeling interior, greater fuel efficiency and lower CO2 emissions.

While a new Fiat Panda might not offer stellar value for money, a used example could be an attractive option for more budget-conscious buyers. A third-generation Panda in mid-level Easy specification with around 20,000 miles on the clock can be picked up for roughly £4,500. This car includes features such as air conditioning, remote central locking and a six-speaker stereo system.

 

Looks and image

If you’re in the market for a boxy and cute city car, you’ve come to the right place. The Panda is a far more eye-catching car than some of its rivals, such as the rather sober-looking Volkswagen Up and Hyundai i10.

It continues the theme set by its second-generation predecessor, with its design representing a more evolutionary than revolutionary approach to the car’s styling. A bright range of colour choices helps to add to the Panda’s characterful image, too.

While the regular Fiat Panda is a fairly attractive-looking car in its own right, the chunkier Panda 4x4 and Panda Cross only add to this. Rugged exteriors and raised ride-heights make both models cool-looking little cars that can also cash the cheques their appearances are writing when the time to leave the road comes around.

As far as the little Fiat’s interior is concerned, buyers may find they are left wanting in some areas. It is starting to feel dated next to its rivals – the current Panda was introduced in 2011, after all – and some of the materials used do look rather cheap.

Video Review

Space and practicality

Thanks to its tall stature, the Fiat Panda offers buyers a generous amount of headroom in the cabin, although rear legroom isn’t amazing unfortunately. The Panda is also only offered with four seats as standard, with a middle seat available as an optional extra.

Because of the Panda’s square shape, the boot is easy to load things in and out of. There is 225 litres of storage capacity on offer – which isn’t exactly cavernous – but it will easily fit accommodate a weekly shop.

If further space is required, the rear seats can be folded down to open up a maximum of 870 litres worth of capacity. Certain models of Panda – such as Lounge and 4x4 variants – are also offered with a folding front passenger seat, which means storing particularly long items such as skis that much easier as well. Fiat will also sell you a range of optional storage solutions, such as a roof box, ski racks or a bike rack.

Engines

Fiat currently offers the Panda with a choice of two petrol engines. The first is a 1.2-litre unit that develops 68bhp and 102Nm of torque. This engine enables the city car to complete the sprint from 0-60mph in 14 seconds before hitting a top speed of 102mph. This engine is paired with a five-speed manual gearbox.

The other engine is a smaller, yet more powerful 0.9-litre TwinAir engine that also appears in the Fiat 500. In the Panda, this power plant produces 84bhp and 145Nm of torque, and will complete the benchmark sprint to 60mph in 11 seconds. With this engine, the Panda will be capable of hitting a maximum speed of 110mph. This engine can be paired with either a five-speed manual or a five-speed semi-automatic transmission.

Running costs

Running costs for the Fiat Panda are fairly respectable, even if they can’t quite match the figures posted by certain models of Volkswagen Up and Skoda Citigo.

The 1.2-litre petrol engine is the least fuel efficient engine in the Panda range. Fiat claims it can manage a combined fuel economy figure of 55.4mpg, while CO2 emissions stand at 119g/km. This means that customers who opt for this engine will be required to pay £160 in road tax for the first year of ownership and £140 each consecutive year under the new VED tax bands introduced in April 2017.

The smaller 0.9-litre TwinAir engine will be much more affordable to run, although Pandas with this engine are more expensive. With the five-speed manual, Fiat claims this engine can manage a combined fuel economy figure of 67.3mpg, while CO2 emissions stand at 99g/km. With the semi-automatic transmission, this engine boasts an economy figure of 68.9mpg and CO2 emissions of 95g/km.

Things to look out for

Historically, Fiat hasn’t been renowned for its reliability – although the Panda does go some way to bucking this trend. Consumer surveys tend to paint a positive picture of the Panda as far as reliability and ownership satisfaction are concerned.

Fiat also offers the Panda with a three-year/60,000-mile warranty, which is comparable with many of its rivals. That said, the Kia Picanto and Hyundai i10 both feature a seven-year/100,000-mile warranties.

The Panda has been the subject of a number of recalls over its lifetime for a variety of reasons, so if you’re considering purchasing a used example be sure to check that all the appropriate work has been carried out to ensure the faults are fixed.

Rivals

The city car is a packed segment of the market, so the Fiat Panda really has its work cut out for it. It goes up against the likes of the Volkswagen Up, Skoda Citigo and Seat Mii – which all share the same platform – as well as cars such as the Hyundai i10 and new Kia Picanto.

Depreciation warning

With more and more options available to consumers in the city car segment of the market, residual values have taken a bit of a hit. That said it has been forecasted that a new Fiat Panda will retain roughly 42.7 per cent of its value after three years of ownership.

The more basic models will likely fair better when the time to sell comes around, and owners of the Panda 4x4 and Panda Cross cars may find those models aren’t in as high demand as the regular Panda.

Which Panda to Pick

Cheapest to Buy When New

1.2 Pop 5dr

Most MPG

0.9 TwinAir [90] Cross 4x4 5dr

Fastest Model (0-60)

0.9 TwinAir [90] Cross 4x4 5dr

Trims Explained

Excluding the Panda 4x4 and the Panda Cross, there are three trim levels available with the little Fiat.

Panda Pop

The entry-level model is the Panda Pop, which costs from £9,245. This car is incredibly basic, and includes limited standard kit.

Features include 14-inch steel wheels, a CD player, manually adjustable door mirrors and central locking.

Panda Easy

This model adds air conditioning, remote central locking, a six-speaker audio system and start-stop technology.

Prices start from £10,045.

Summary

  1. The Fiat Panda has been around since the 1980s
  2. It is now in its third generation, which was introduced in 2011
  3. There are three regular trim levels available, as well as two variants with off-road capabilities
  4. Prices start at £9,425 for the entry-level Pop model
  5. The 0.9-litre TwinAir engine is the most economical in the Panda line-up
  6. Third-generation model first unveiled at the 2011 Frankfurt Motor Show
  7. Offers funkier looks than many of its city car rivals
  8. Starting to show its age now
  9. Interior quality not quite up to the standard of some rivals
  10. Should be fairly cheap to run

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