Fiat Panda 1.2 review

  • Updated engine
  • Big discounts available
  • On sale now
What is it? Updated version of Fiat's budget-priced city car, with a cleaner, more powerful engine.

What's it like to drive? Fiat has binned the old 1.1-litre petrol engine and introduced a new version of the 1.2 that's slightly more efficient and powerful; average economy rises from 56.5mpg to 57.6mpg, and there's an extra 9bhp, which helps the engine feel reasonably lively when you rev it.

Both the 1.2 petrol and the 1.3 diesel engines now meet the latest Euro V emissions standards, too.

As before, the Panda is fun to drive, but not as well-rounded as the likes of a Hyundai i10. The ride, particularly, is jittery.

What's it like inside? Cheap and cheerful just about sums it up. The plastics are hard and scratchy and the controls feel flimsy, but the Panda's interior feels built to last and still looks reasonably stylish. The raised driving position isn't to all tastes, though.

There's space for four - just – although rear legroom is tight. The boot is small.

Should I buy one? The price of these improvements is a £290 hike across the range, but if you buy before the end of September, Fiat will knock £1800 off the entry-level 1.2 Active. This brings it down to £6645 and makes it one of the cheapest new cars on sale.

Alternatively, you can have the mid-spec 1.2 MyLife for £7245, which equates to a £2010 saving. True, neither model is available with air-conditioning (you don't even get remote door locking with the Active), but those low prices are hugely appealing.

We just hope the Panda doesn't evolve into something much pricier when its replacement – which will be unveiled at the Frankfurt motor show in September - arrives next year.

Rivals:
Hyundai i10
Kia Picanto

What Car? says…


Steven.Huntingford@whatcar.com

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