FIAT

FIAT PANDA HATCHBACK 0.9 TwinAir [85] Cross 4x4 5dr

Fuel

FuelPetrol

Transmission

TransmissionManual

Acceleration

0 - 62 mph12.7s

WLTP - CO2 (g/km)

WLTP - CO2156 g/km

Fiat's Panda aims at being all the car some buyers will ever need. It's large where it matters, yet still small enough for its urban purpose. It's more efficient - especially in its latest 1.0-litre mild hybrid form - yet can offer surprising reserves of performance. And you can make it high-tech - or specify one that's super-affordable. The Italians have always done this kind of thing very well. They still do.

ANIMAL MAGIC

Fiat's improved Panda gets mild hybrid tech and remains cute and sensible. Jonathan Crouch reports.

Ten Second Review

Fiat's Panda aims at being all the car some buyers will ever need. It's large where it matters, yet still small enough for its urban purpose. It's more efficient - especially in its latest 1.0-litre mild hybrid form - yet can offer surprising reserves of performance. And you can make it high-tech - or specify one that's super-affordable. The Italians have always done this kind of thing very well. They still do.

Background

Almost every car you can think of on the market can be pigeonholed into a specific market segment. And even if it can't be, it's likely to appeal to a very specific group of customers. The Fiat Panda's different. Though sized and priced as a little citycar, it's so versatile and class-less that it can really function as.... well, almost anything you want. Depending on the flavour you choose, it's a design as suited to city living as it is to the needs of a mountaintop farmer. It can be a hot hatch - or eco-conscious transport for Friends of the Earth. It can be a second vehicle for older empty-nesters. Or the sole car for a rural family. Less a citycar. More an 'essential' car, it is, in the words of one top Fiat executive 'the official car for doing whatever the hell you like'. This is the Italian brand at its very best. A modern-era MK2 Panda design was launched back in 2003 to replace a first generation model that sold for over twenty years from 1980. The MK3 design we've got here was originally launched back in 2011, but in early 2020 was significantly updated with the option of 1.0-litre mild hybrid power; it's this improved Panda that we're going to take a look at here. Functional, solid, intelligent and free spirited, it's still, we're told, a car that thinks outside the box. Let's try it.

Driving Experience

The volume Panda range is now based around Fiat's newer three cylinder 70hp 1.0-litre mild hybrid powerplant, which improves fuel efficiency without impeding performance. It also ensures a very high standard of driving comfort thanks to a 12-volt 'BSG' 'Belt-integrated Starter Generator', allowing for a quiet, vibration-free restart of the internal combustion engine in Stop&Start mode. The engine (which we've already seen in Fiat's alternative citycar, the 500) puts out 92Nm of pulling power and works via a 6-speed manual gearbox integrated with that 'BSG' set-up we just mentioned. The 'BSG' system is mounted directly on the engine and is operated by the belt that also drives the auxiliaries. The new system also involves lowering the entire power unit 45mm so the car behaves better on the road thanks to the lower centre of gravity. Bear in mind that if you opt for either the standard shape ('Wild') or 'Cross' versions of the top 4x4 derivative, the engine used continues to be the brand's two cylinder 85hp TwinAir petrol unit. The 'Cross' version adds an All terrain selector driving mode system and rear differential gear locking that will take you further off the beaten track. All Pandas are of course especially at home in a city environment. True, the five-speed gearbox could be a little more precise, but you'll appreciate the way this car takes even quite nasty small urban bumps in its stride. And delivers neat little touches like the steering's 'City' mode option to increase the assistance it gives at parking speeds so that you can use the tight 9.3m turning circle more easily. Urban-friendly through and through you see.

Design and Build

Fiat has given this updated MK3 model Panda a slightly smarter look, courtesy of revised bumpers, smarter wheels and fresh colour options. It remains a tall car, with a vertical tail, a five-door-only shape and a large glass area, plus there's the usual tiny roadway footprint. And the familiar friendly look remains, based upon what Fiat's designers call 'a squarical' theme, rounded rectangles in vogue everywhere from the headlamps to the front air intake, from the wheelarches to that trademark extra third rearward side window. The squarical touches continue on inside, now updated with seats and dashboard created from recycled materials. As for those squarical touches, you'll find them in the instrument binnacle, on the steering wheel boss, the ventilation controls on the centre console - even on the seats where embossed rounded squares are there to better help air circulate between your body and the backrest. The dashboard itself is enveloped in a colourful frame of your choosing with a roomy storage pocket in front of the front passenger supposed to evoke a nod towards original Eighties Panda motoring. Overall then, this is a cabin of reasonable quality given the affordable asking prices. Storage for bigger items is taken care of by a 225-litre boot that's square and usefully shaped. As for rear seat passenger space, well thanks to the slim seats, it's perfectly adequate for a couple of fully-sized adults.

Market and Model

Panda pricing now starts at around £12,000, which gets you the base 'Panda' model with its 1.0-litre mild hybrid engine. But you'll probably want to embellish this Fiat a bit, either with 'City Life'-spec, which adds front fog lights, smarter front bumpers, an insert in the side skirts and 15-inch dark metal alloy wheels. Or you could go for 'Sport' trim, which adds 16-inch alloy wheels, red brake callipers, darkened rear windows, and body-coloured door handles and door mirrors. If you like the look of the top 4x4 variants but don't need a 4x4, you'll like the 'City Cross' variant, which costs around £14,000. The 'City Cross' model gives you LED DRL headlights, black door mirrors and door handles, a roof rack and special side sills, 15-inch alloy wheels, body-coloured bumpers and skidplates. Inside, blue and black two-tone eco-leather upholstery on the door panels and seats with silver stitching and fabric side panels finish the look. Automatic climate control is also standard. All of these volume variants use the 1.0-litre mild hybrid engine. If only a 4x4 Panda will do, you'll need to switch to Fiat's older but slightly more powerful 0.9-litre TwinAir 85hp petrol turbo unit. There are two 4x4 options, a 'Wild' model at around £16,000 or the full-fat 'Cross 4x4', costing around £18,000. With the top Panda Cross 4x4, you get an All terrain selector driving mode system and rear differential gear locking that will take you further off the beaten track.

Cost of Ownership

You'd certainly expect this Panda to be at or near the top of its class when it comes to the issue of WLTP-rated running costs. For the 1.0-litre mild hybrid model, the official combined cycle fuel figure is 52.3mpg and there's an CO2 emissions figure of 123g/km. For the 1.0-litre mild hybrid City Cross model, the CO2 reading can rise up to 127g/km. For the TwinAir 4x4 variant, you're looking at 37.7mpg and 166g/km. The warranty is a typical three year affair but with a 100,000 mile limit that's significantly higher than some other brands will give you. Pandas hold their value very well and that's unlikely to change any time soon. The car is covered by a three-year, unlimited mileage warranty and there's 36 months of breakdown cover included as well. Servicing needn't be too costly as Fiat parts are relatively cheap. The brand also offers fixed price service plans that take care of all service charges, labour and replacement fluids. You can pick from durations that span from one to five years, with corresponding mileage from 9,000 to 45,000 miles.

Summary

Loved by small car people the world over for more than thirty years, the Panda continues to define everything that a very compact multi-purpose model should be. It's had to evolve of course, with more efficient engines and clever technology. But its heart remains simple, functional and innovative. Which is why, while other citycars will please only citycar folk, you could imagine this one being bought by.... well, just about anyone. A few other rivals may be a little cheaper, more refined or slightly trendier but few push the boundaries of design quite like this Fiat. It happily challenges just about every tiny car perception in the book. That you can't get really impressive fuel and CO2 figures without forking out loads of money for a diesel. That you can't seat five in this class of car. Or carry really large items. Or get big car hi-tech features. Panda people think differently thanks to a car that lets them do just that. It's got tough competition these days, no question. But in a growing segment full of talented offerings, it's a key contender you just can't help liking.

  • Electric front windows
  • Rear wiper
  • Dark tinted rear windows

  • Brake assist function
  • ESP + ASR + hill holder
  • Anti-lock Brake System and Electronic Brakeforce Distribution

  • Floor mats

  • Rear parking sensor
  • Dual drive Power Assisted Steering
  • All wheel drive (including ELD system)
  • All terrain selector switch with 3 modes (Auto, Off-road, Hill Descent Control)

  • Stop/start system

  • Outside temperature display
  • Trip computer

  • Electric adjustable heated door mirrors

  • Hot black eco leather door panels
  • Woody dashboard

  • Bluetooth radio with Smartphone cradle, USB and DAB
  • 4 speakers

  • Black door handles
  • Chrome exhaust tailpipe
  • Black side skirts
  • Cross styling
  • Front and rear bumper with ultrashine silver skid plate
  • Ultrashine silver roof rails
  • Ultrashine silver side mouldings with cross logo

  • LED daytime running lights
  • Front fog lights

  • Automatic climate control

  • High centre console
  • Leather steering wheel and gear knob
  • Adjustable steering wheel
  • Steering wheel audio controls
  • 12V power sockets
  • Bi-colour Cloth/Eco leather upholstery

  • Front spot light with timer
  • Luggage compartment lighting

  • Side airbags
  • Driver and passenger airbags
  • Window airbags
  • Anti-whiplash front headrests
  • Tyre pressure monitoring system

  • Isofix attachments on rear seats
  • Height adjustable driver's seat
  • Five seat with 40/60 split folding rear seat with three rear seatbelts and head restraints

  • Remote control central door locking
  • Immobiliser

  • Front tow hooks in brilliant red

  • Rear differential gear locking

  • Passenger sunvisor with vanity mirror
  • Driver's sun visor with vanity mirror

  • Summer tyres

  • CO2 (g/km): 129
  • Standard Euro Emissions: EURO 6
  • HC+NOx: N
  • Particles: N
  • WLTP - CO2 (g/km) - Comb: 156
  • WLTP - CO2 (g/km) - Comb - Max: 156
  • WLTP - CO2 (g/km) - Comb - Min: 156

  • Cylinders: 2
  • Cylinder Layout: IN-LINE
  • Number of Valves: 8
  • Camshaft: DOHC
  • Fuel Delivery: TURBO INJECTION
  • Catalytic Convertor: True
  • Engine Layout: FRONT TRANSVERSE
  • Compression Ratio: 10.0:1
  • Transmission: MANUAL
  • Gears: 6 SPEED
  • Cylinders - Bore (mm): 80.5
  • Cylinders - Stroke (mm): 86
  • CC: 875

  • EC Directive 1999/100/EC Applies: False
  • WLTP - MPG - Low: 35.8
  • WLTP - MPG - Medium: 46.3
  • WLTP - MPG - High: 48.7
  • WLTP - MPG - Extra High: 36.2
  • WLTP - MPG - Comb: 40.9
  • WLTP - FC (l/100km) - Low: 7.9
  • WLTP - FC (l/100km) - Medium: 6.1
  • WLTP - FC (l/100km) - High: 5.8
  • WLTP - FC (l/100km) - Extra High: 7.8
  • WLTP - FC (l/100km) - Comb: 6.9

  • Generation Mark: 3
  • Alternative Fuel Qualifying: False
  • Did at least one aspect of this vehicle's safety give cause for concern?: False
  • Special Edition: False
  • Special Order: False
  • Based On ID: N
  • Insurance Group 1 - 50 Effective January 07: 8U
  • Service Interval Frequency - Months: N
  • Timing Belt Interval Mileage: N
  • Timing Belt Interval Frequency - Months: N
  • NCAP Adult Occupant Protection %: 45
  • NCAP Child Occupant Protection %: 16
  • NCAP Pedestrian Protection %: 47
  • NCAP Safety Assist %: 7
  • NCAP Overall Rating - Effective February 09: N
  • Badge Power: 85
  • Badge Engine CC: 0.9
  • Vehicle Homologation Class: M1
  • Coin Series: Cross 4x4
  • Coin Description: TwinAir [85]
  • Standard manufacturers warranty - Years: 3
  • Standard manufacturers warranty - Mileage: 999999
  • Manufacturers Paintwork Guarantee - Years: 3
  • Manufacturers Corrosion Perforation Guarantee - Years: 8

  • Engine Power - KW: 63
  • Engine Power - RPM: 5500
  • Engine Torque - LBS.FT: 107
  • Engine Torque - NM: 145
  • Engine Torque - RPM: 1900
  • 0 to 62 mph (secs): 12.7
  • Top Speed: 102
  • Engine Power - BHP: 85
  • Engine Power - PS: True
  • 0 to 60 mph (secs): False
  • Engine Torque - MKG: 14.8

  • Emissions Test Cycle: WLTP

  • Alloys?: True
  • Space Saver?: False
  • Wheel Style: OFF ROAD
  • Tyre Size Front: 175/65 R15
  • Tyre Size Rear: 175/65 R15
  • Tyre Size Spare: TYRE REPAIR KIT
  • Wheel Type: 15" ALLOY

  • Width (including mirrors): 1882
  • Height: 1657
  • Height (including roof rails): N
  • Length: 3705
  • Width: 1662
  • Wheelbase: 2300

  • Minimum Kerbweight: 1165
  • Fuel Tank Capacity (Litres): 35
  • Luggage Capacity (Seats Up): 225
  • No. of Seats: 5
  • Max. Towing Weight - Braked: 800
  • Max. Towing Weight - Unbraked: 400
  • Max. Roof Load: 60
  • Luggage Capacity (Seats Down): 870
  • Turning Circle - Kerb to Kerb: 9.7

  • City brake control: £285

  • Gloss black door mirrors: £0
  • Body colour door mirrors: Included

  • Metallic paint: £500
  • Solid paint: Included
  • Additional special solid paint: £500
  • Bi-colour paint with black roof: £650
  • Special solid paint: £350

  • Winter pack - Panda: £280
  • Comfort kit - Panda: £115
  • Smoker's kit: £55

  • Metallic - Grey: £500
  • Metallic - Green: £500

  • Solid - Ambient white: £0

  • Special solid - Yellow: £500
  • Special solid - Ceramic dark blue: £350
  • Special solid - Cerment grey: £350
  • Special solid - Red: £350
  • Bi-colour - Aluminium grey with black roof: £650
  • Bi-colour - Grey with black roof: £650
  • Bi-colour - Yellow with black roof: £650
  • Bi-colour - White with black roof: £650
  • Special solid - Black: £350

  • Bi-colour Cloth/Eco leather - Grey with stripes texture, cross logo and brown seams: £0

  • 15" Cross style wheels: £0

  • 15" Off road alloy wheels: Included

  • Fix and go puncture repair kit: Included
  • Space saver spare wheel: £60

Whilst every effort is made to verify and ensure the accuracy of the data, the information should only be used as a guide and no purchasing decision should be made without verification of the data from either the manufacturer or franchised dealer. Our offers may be on a different model year to that represented by this data and so specification may differ accordingly.

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