- Great interior design
- Fun to drive about town
- Standard equipment could be better
- 4-star NCAP
- Unrefined on motorways
Funky, fun city car is one of the best on the market
The Fiat Panda, first introduced in 1980, is one of the world’s best-selling city cars. The concept of a practical, fun to drive, reliable city car continues to this day. Gone are the days of Italian unreliability and rusting, the latest Panda is one of the most practical, reliable cars currently on sale. The latest generation, introduced in 2011, offers more class than ever. It’s spacious, fun to drive, and good-looking, so it’s little wonder why TopGear awarded it the Editor’s Choice award.
The update in 2011 brought a complete redesign, with new, more fuel efficient engines, and improved interior.
Stylish and practical
Whilst the Fiat 500, the Panda’s sibling, focuses on style over form, the Panda is more about functionality. There’s much more practical space on offer, though the Panda does feature lots of customisation opportunities, which can give the cabin a funky look.
The dashboard of the Panda is incredibly well-designed. Storage space around the dash is everywhere to be seen, which is perfect for storing away all of your clutter. Gloss plastics are used throughout, and though it doesn’t have the quality soft-touch materials that you’d find in a Volkswagen Up!, the level of customisation options give the Panda a funky vibe. It’s all pretty well thought out, so there’s few city cars that come close to the Panda.
Space wise the Panda also impresses. There’s lots of space in the cabin, enough for four full-sized adults to sit comfortably, and there’s also up to 260 litres of boot space. That’s amongst the biggest in its class. There’s enough room for a small buggy, a couple of carry on suitcases, and even a big family shop. The Panda is one of the most practical city cars on sale today.
Equipment levels in the Panda are decent, though the entry-level Pop trim doesn’t come with much. You’ll get electric front windows and a CD player but not much else, so it’s worth considering the mid-range Easy trim, which adds air-con, and a better infotainment system, electric rear windows, as well as practical roof rails.
All in all the interior of the Panda is well-designed, well-constructed, and well thought out. There’s plenty of space, the cabin is practical and stylish, and whilst spec levels could be better, it’s still an impressive package.
Good to drive around the city
The Fiat Panda is a car that’s primarily geared towards city driving. There are four wheel drive options that offer genuine off-road capability at competitive prices, but the majority of the range is best suited weaving through busy traffic.
Most people when purchasing a city car expect it to be both easy, and fun to drive around the city. The Panda ticks both boxes comfortably. Steering is light, which makes parking and tight turns a breeze, and there’s enough grip to cope with rough surfaces and poor weather conditions. Take it up to higher speeds however and it starts to struggle a little. Light steering is perfect for about town but on motorway on B-roads it can feel a bit out of synch. The Panda is a city car however, and it meets its primary needs with aplomb.
Ride refinement in the Panda is reasonable, though it’s not the most refined car on the market. It copes with the all but the worst of rough road surfaces, potholes, and speedbumps, that the city can throw at you. Again though, at higher speeds, there’s quite a bit of road, engine, and wind noise. It’s not the worst in its class by any means, but it’s not up there with the best either.
Gearbox options in the Panda come in two forms, a 5-speed manual, and an optional Dualogic automatic. The 5-speed manual suits the Panda perfectly, with gearing specced specifically for city driving. The automatic transmission on offer has received mixed reviews however, so it’s worth test-driving before committing to it.
Efficient, reliable engines
When it comes to deciding how you want to power your Panda, you’ve got the usual two options: petrol, or diesel. All engines in the range offer pretty impressive fuel consumption and green credentials, though there’s no ‘hot’ version for petrolheads.
If it’s power and speed that you crave in your Panda, you’re probably going to be a little disappointed with those on offer from Fiat. The fastest model in the range is the petrol-powered 85bhp 0.9 litre TwinAir. There’s not an awful lot of power on board, so the 0-62mph time of 11.2 seconds is hardly mind boggling. Still, there’s enough gusto for you to have fun around town.
Green-minded individuals will be impressed with this engine. Surprisingly, the most powerful in the range is also the greenest. With just 95g/km of C02 emissions, you’ll be helping to save the planet, whilst also saving yourself money on road tax. This engine is probably the best option for money savers as well. It may not quite offer the same fuel efficiency as the 1.3 litre diesel (which offers 72.4mpg), but it does have free road tax, and with 68.9mpg on offer, it’s not far behind.
Whichever engine you choose to go for in your Panda, you’re going to have enough power to have fun around town with, whilst also having impressive fuel efficiency and emissions, both of which are going to save you a fair bit of money in the long run.
Not quite up there with the best in class
The city car sector is not one that is awash with 5-star NCAP safety ratings, though some have now reached this level. Unfortunately, the Fiat Panda isn’t one of them. Nevertheless, the 4-star rating achieved by the Panda is still pretty impressive for the class. There’s also the usual array of airbags as standard, as well as stability control, and a tyre-pressure monitoring system.
Good value for money, as long as you avoid the cost of new-car depreciation
The Fiat Panda offers drivers excellent value for money. This varies between models, but generally speaking the Panda range offers impressive fuel efficiency, and low C02 emissions. The TwinAir engine is the pick of the bunch, whilst 4x4 versions increase day-to-day running costs.
Insurance wise the Panda is one of the cheapest cars to insure on the market. The entry-level 1.2 Pop is the cheapest to insure, in group 3, whilst the most expensive is the 1.3 MultiJet Trekking, which is in group 12. Whichever Panda you go for, it’s not going to cost you too much in yearly insurance costs.
Depreciation is one area that particularly affects the Panda, but only for the first year. With first year depreciation as high as 40%, you’re better off opting for an inspected used equivalent.
The Fiat Panda is one of the most complete city cars currently on sale in the UK today. It offers tremendous practicality, funky looks, some efficient, clean engines, and a functional yet stylish interior. It might not be the safest, nor is it the most refined at higher speeds, but there’s few cars that can match the Panda when it comes down to value for money.
Buying a used Fiat Panda online with Carspring
If you’re after a used Fiat Panda for sale, it can all feel like a bit of an ordeal. What, with long days spent around gigantic car supermarkets, or time spent trawling through classified websites, looking for that ideal used Panda. Carspring makes it simple. Buy your next used Fiat Panda online with the touch of a button. Simply decide on the model you want and choose how you want to pay.
Looking to finance your used Panda? Not a problem, we work with our carefully selected finance partners to ensure that, if you’re paying monthly for your used Fiat Panda, you know you’re getting the best rates. What’s more, with any Carspring used Panda, you also get our 14-day money-back guarantee and 6 months’ free Carspring Warranty. Plus, you don’t have to leave your home. We’ll deliver your used Fiat to you at a time and place of your choice.
*This is an approximate figure based on the range of the car’s list price and the AA’s average 1st-year depreciation cost of 40%.