The interior layout, fit and finish
The first thing you'll notice from the Fiat Panda's driving seat is the ancient-looking dials and trip computer display. Now, having analogue dials is no shame in this class, but the design and typography of the Panda’s makes it hard to gauge exactly what speed you're doing, and the small digital display in the middle is about as up to date as Ceefax and a faff to work.
A height-adjustable driver’s seat is standard, but the steering wheel adjusts only up and down and not in and out, so finding a comfortable driving position isn't always easy – especially if you're tall. The seat isn't that supportive, either, and the footwell is cramped, with very little room for your left leg behind the clutch pedal. Budget cars need not be like this, as the far better driving positions in the Hyundai i10 and Kia Picanto prove.
Pricer versions have a proper 7.0in touchscreen, though – which is actually pretty decent by the standard of what you get in many similar-priced alternatives. The operating system is fairly user-friendly and comes with Android Auto and Apple CarPlay smartphone mirroring as standard.
While no rival comes with particularly plush fixtures and fittings to relish, the i10 does at least look smart, while the Picanto and Volkswagen Up feel screwed together well. The Panda, on the other hand, features a palette of pretty low-rent plastics that have an undesirable flimsiness.