Our cars: Fiat Panda - March
Week ending March 22
Driven this week 185 miles
Fiat Panda review
The Panda is a very good city car, but it isn't quite such brilliant value for money as some of its rivals. That's a problem at this end of the market.
For example, our long-term 1.2 Pop is priced at £8900, and for that you don’t even get remote central locking – let alone air-conditioning, stability control or split-folding rear seats.
Spend £140 more on a five-door Skoda Citigo, on the other hand, and you’ll all get all of the above as standard. You’ll also enjoy lower running costs courtesy of lower CO2 emissions and better fuel economy.
However, don't dismiss the Fiat out of hand, because there's a pretty good promotion around at the moment. The 1.2 Pop is available from just £7500 if you buy using an I-Deal finance agreement and you can spread the payments over four years.
True, you’ll have to pay interest charges, but even with these factored in the Panda works out cheaper than its official brochure price. Similar deals are also available on other models in the range.
By Will Nightingale
Week ending March 8
Total mileage 6715
Driven this week 115 miles
I've just had the Panda for a week, while I was on 'holiday' decorating my flat and it was more than practical enough for my needs (the car, not the flat).
The industrial carpet cleaner that I hired fitted into the boot with ease. However, I can't help thinking that our Panda is poorly equipped for a near-£10,000 model.
You don't get remote door locking, which is a real pain when your hands are full. What's more, there's no light on the key; even my first car, a Cinquecento, had one of those.
Our Panda could do with a trip to the dealer, too, despite having covered less than 7000 miles. Its engine now starts with an unpleasant screech, plus there's a nasty vibration through the steering wheel at motorway speeds, which suggests the wheels are out of balance.
By Steve Huntingford
Week ending March 1
Driven this week 280 miles
Fiat Panda review
I drove the new Fiat 500L this week, and I though it was very interesting that inside the car, the styling is much more reminiscent of the Panda than it is the regular 500.
The 500L uses the same 'squircle' (squared circle) motifs as the Panda, and while the interior materials are smarter than the Panda’s, they still look functional rather than flash. Still, being a small MPV, that’s probably no bad thing.
By Ivan Aistrop