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Car Review

Fiat Panda review

£10,030 - £16,530
610
Published: 05 Jul 2022
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Driving

What is it like to drive?

Most of the Panda’s charm is in its chuckable nature, along with the free-revving, perky little engine and jaunty body roll that all combine to raise a smile at most urban speeds. It’s fun to urge along a country lane too, but this is all to the detriment of fuel consumption if you’re trying to vaguely meet any of the official numbers.

The ride does verge on being slightly firm, and if you ever felt that the steering was too tough for you (it really shouldn’t be) then there’s the customary City button that turns the wheel into a fidget spinner. 

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Yet more than perhaps any other city car the Panda is the one that you’ll relish jumping in behind the wheel to bound around town, and likewise it’s one that you’ll enjoy looking back at as you leave it. You don’t get any parking niceties like rear sensors or a camera, but the upright Panda is easy to place and the windows offer decent visibility. 

What’s it like outside of town?

If you dial back the fun the Panda feels more grown-up than its size and segment would tell you – it’s stable on a faster road in the same way that a Volkswagen Up is, although it doesn’t offer that car’s refinement and there’s quite a bit of wind noise from the upright 4x4 versions with their plastic cladding and roof bars. The engine gets a touch wheezy at higher speeds, so don’t think you’ll be overtaking at any great rate. 

Does the 4x4 Panda actually work off-road?

The various iterations of Panda Cross actually do work well off the beaten track: it’s a sight to behold when you see a Panda scampering around an off-road course. All the 4x4 versions of the Panda have mechanical set-ups aided by electronic stability control trickery, which is mostly for slippery road surfaces or a bit of light, muddy car park escaping.

The Garmin model is the spiritual successor to the iconic 4x4 model, and adds a locking rear differential to its many and varied talents. The Panda is aided by low weight (they all come tip the scales at around 1,000kg) and narrow tyres that cut through mud and snow. 

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It’s a funny mixture, the Panda – an 11-year-old city car shouldn’t be any good at all on paper, but it wins you over with its simple charms and Italian panache combined with stealthy off-road ability.

Highlights from the range

the fastest

Fiat Panda 0.9 TwinAir [85] Cross 4x4 [Touchscreen] 5dr
  • 0-6212.7s
  • CO2131.0g/km
  • BHP85
  • MPG
  • Price£N/A

the cheapest

Fiat Panda 1.0 Mild Hybrid Easy 5dr
  • 0-6214.7s
  • CO2
  • BHP70
  • MPG
  • Price£11,610

the greenest

Fiat Panda 1.0 Mild Hybrid City Life [5 Seat] 5dr
  • 0-6213.9s
  • CO289.0g/km
  • BHP70
  • MPG
  • Price£12,645

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