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What Car? says

4 out of 5 stars

For There's plenty of space for four, it's fairly refined and cheap

Against The 1.2 engine is noisy and base cars are under-equipped

Verdict Cheap to buy and a pleasure for driver and passengers alike

Go for… 1.2 Dynamic AirCon

Avoid… 1.3 TD MultiJet Sporting/1.2 4x4

Fiat Panda Hatchback
  • 1. There's enough room for four adults inside - impressive for such a small car
  • 2. If you go for the MultiJet diesel, be prepared to keep an eye on your fuel and oil consumption
  • 3. The car's reliability is basically good, but a few cars suffer clutch judder
  • 4. The boot is a good size considering the size of the car
  • 5. A few cars suffer from a jammed tailgate release mechanism
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Fiat Panda Hatchback full review with expert trade views

As an all-rounder in the miniature car market, few city cars impress in as many areas as the Fiat Panda.

Dynamically, first of all, the Panda is terrific. A range of three small engines give spirited performance, and handling is good for the most part, even though the car sometimes struggles to find enough front-end grip. The steering is responsive and well weighted, too.

The ride is great, and it deals capably with most surfaces. Refinement is also excellent, putting many bigger cars to shame. Wind-, road- and engine noise are extremely well contained, especially for a city car.

The interior space is just as impressive. Even the base models that don't have a sliding rear seat offer excellent accommodation for four six-footers, while the higher-specification models that do are even more commodious. The boot is also a good size.

Trade view

John Owen

Great town car. The Panda's breeding in numbers now

John Owen
Buyer,
Fords of Winsford

The 1.3-litre turbodiesel is great - it has 70bhp and it's quicker and more flexible than the petrol engines. Unfortunately, it's significantly more expensive to buy.

For that reason, we'd recommend the 60bhp 1.2-litre petrol. Like the 54bhp 1.1-litre you might also consider, it's peppy and responsive around town, but the extra performance of the 1.2 is a real help, especially on the motorway.

The base Active trim level lacks some essential equipment, but you do get electric front windows, power steering and twin front airbags.

Dynamic trim adds a CD player, height-adjustable steering wheel and remote central locking, while the Dynamic AirCon gets, you’ve guessed it, air-con - and that makes it our favourite.

The Dynamic Skydome has a full-length electric sunroof, while the Eleganza has climate control, alloy wheels and roof bars. There's also a 4x4 version available with the 1.2-litre engine, too.

Trade view

James Ruppert

More around now but prices are firm, 1.2 Dynamic most numerous of all

James Ruppert
Used car guru

A used Panda is far from expensive. It was a cheap car when new and, even though its residuals are quite strong, this is not what you'd call dear.

On top of that, running costs will amount to very little. All engines give excellent fuel economy, the diesel being the most impressive with average consumption of 65.7mpg.

The petrols are frugal, too. The 1.1 will give you 49.6mpg, while the 1.2 performs slightly better with an average of 50.4mpg. Even the four-wheel-drive version manages 42.8mpg.

The 1.1 is the winner when it comes to insurance premiums, though, because you'll pay the cheapest group 1 premium. The 1.2 and 1.3 diesel aren't far behind in group 2, unless you go for the Eleganza trim, which sits in group 3.

Trade view

John Owen

Great town car. The Panda's breeding in numbers now

John Owen
Buyer,
Fords of Winsford

Fiat puts in an average performance in our regular reliability surveys. And, if it wasn't for fault-ridden older cars such as the Cinquecento, the company could have finished even higher.

Certainly, owners seem to love life with the Panda, according to the JD Power Customer Satisfaction survey. It was the highest-placed Fiat in 2005, securely in the top 25% overall.

According to Warranty Direct, very few faults have been reported by Panda owners. Despite its good record, however, there are some things to look out for. On a few cars, the clutch juddered, and some suffered from a jammed tailgate release mechanism. If you're shopping for the MultiJet diesel, ask the previous owners about its fuel and oil consumption as some owners have reported that both are abnormally high.

Trade view

James Ruppert

More around now but prices are firm, 1.2 Dynamic most numerous of all

James Ruppert
Used car guru
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