Matthew Jones30 August 2011

2012 Fiat Panda: first pics

One of James’ favourite cars gets a new look for 2012, but will he like it?

Hey, look! It's the new version of one of James May's favourite cars!

Though the 2012 Fiat Panda's got some competition in the hitherto unnamed ruthlessly-practical-and-all-the-more-charming-for-it segment. Namely, the Volkswagen Up.

See more pics of the 2012 Fiat Panda here 

It makes a chunkier, more versatile-looking first impression than the dub, though - it's 11cm longer (3650mm in total), has five doors (the launch-spec Up's a three-door) and, according to Fiat, there's room enough for five actual humans. It's also got the biggest boot in its class.

Unlike VW, Fiat went a bit retro inside. Doffing its cap to the original eighties version, there's a cloth-covered dashboard with a great big bin for your stuff.

Underneath, the oily bits are pretty familiar. Suspension comprises of MacPherson struts up front and torsion beam astern. Engine-wise, you can chose between the TwinAir two-cylinder petrol in either 64bhp 0.9 Aspirated TwinAir form and 84bhp 0.9 TwinAir Turbo guise. More conventional 68bhp 1.2 four-cylinder petrols and 74bhp 1.3-litre diesels are also on the menu.

Think James'll like it, TopGear.commers? Or will he prefer the Up?

Now watch James studying the contents of his Panda's boot

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