The 2012 Fiat Panda gets a new life
- 29 February 2012
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Apologies for the lateness of this report and for the lack of a video, I was taken ill for the last week or so and that has put me far behind. All is well now though, and I’m catching up.
I have been a closet fan of the Fiat Panda ever since the 80’s when I briefly owned one. It was used when I bought it and when I say used, I really do mean used. There were more scratches on the car than paintwork and most of the lettering had fallen off. The back so it was called “F at a nd ” so it was no surprise that the car broke a few weeks after I got it.
Skip forward a few years and the Panda was reinvented and not only was is better looking but back to being loveable again. The high roof line and styling gave it a tough but cute appearance.
Last week I was invited to the UK for the launch of the new Panda and all of a sudden the little Panda was alive again. Now I’m not saying there was anything wrong with the previous Panda, indeed it is a fine little car; I mean James May owns one and that’s all the info you need there.
The new Panda is a rounder affair than the last one, actually it’s bigger too; not so you’d notice by looking at it but on the inside there is a light and airy feeling. It’s practical too, there’s loads of storage bins all over the cabin and a really decent sized boot.
Driving the Panda is a joy, I had a go in the twin air model which makes a great noise but it’s that noise that makes you want to rev the nuts off it and in doing so kills the fuel economy, still great fun though. Fiat’s brilliant Twinair two cylinder petrol engines, with either 64bhp or 84bhp Turbo. It is also available with a 1.2 litre petrol 68bhp and a 1.3 multijet diesel with 74bhp
The 1.3 Diesel is the one that really worked for me, it has 74bhp but it feels a lot more. It’s more planted on the road too, the handling and traction through the corners is brilliant.
The new Panda is bigger, rounder and smarter than the outgoing model and leaves my old 80’s Panda dead in the junkyard where it should be. Fiat has a reputation for funky, smart little cars and the Panda brings all that together beautifully.
The new Panda will be out in Ireland shortly, prices are still to be announced but I for one can’t wait for my little Panda to get into the showrooms.