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Fiat Panda

Road Test

Fiat Panda 1.2 driven

Driven July 2012

Additional Info

This is a lovely little car. I know everyone harps on about the TwinAir engine, and, yes, it is a rorty little two-cylinder funster, but it ain't economical. They say 67mpg. We say knock 20mpg off that. Or more. I did a two-hour journey in one recently and got 42mpg, while this naturally aspirated four did 46mpg on a similar drive. And prices for the TwinAir start at £10,750.

Too much. You can get a 1.2 for under nine grand in base trim and, although this may sound perverse, I preferred having to lean across the cabin to adjust the passenger mirror. Leave the 500 to do the flouncy stuff, the Panda's charm is in its bare essentials - it has an aura of necessity rather than luxury. And the 1.2 is something of a sweetie anyway. It's not super-tuneful and it sure ain't fast, but it picks up revs with surprising eagerness and generally gives the impression of being game for anything.

And because it's not as able as the TwinAir to force the chassis to do anything it doesn't want to do, the handling is somehow cleaner - you never quite get to the wheel-scrabbling stage, nor feel that you're missing out. Good.

Ollie Marriage

The numbers
1242cc, 4cyl, 68bhp, 75lb ft, 54.3mpg, 120g/km CO2, 0-62mph in 14.2secs, 102mph, 1015kg

The verdict
Can't quite afford the Panda with the TwinAir engine? Don't worry, this is the one you want anyway

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