It’s certainly cute, but can the new Panda give adolescent hot-hatches a real run for their money?
Call us strange, but we’re pretty sure we can see a similarity between this cute Panda and Postman Pat’s little van. Maybe it’s the red paint job, or maybe we’re just seeing things. Perhaps if you perched a black and white cat on the dashboard you’d see what we mean? But we digress.
A unique character
There’s a definite twinkle in the Panda’s eye. There’s the slightly flared wheel arches, the petite 15in alloys, the subtle rear spoiler, the dark tinted rear and side windows. All these facets combine to give the Panda its own unique character.
The Panda, as you’ve probably guessed, has 100HP (well, 99 if you’re being really picky). It’s easily the least powerful car in our Top 10, but don’t let the lack of horses and the relatively small 1.4L engine deceive you. Yes, it seems to take a week to reach 60mph (it’s actually 9.5 seconds), but the Fiat lets you have a lot of fun getting there.
Excellent cornering skills
It won’t to blow your socks off with neck-wrenching acceleration, but it’ll roll them down a little. The Panda 100HP is light on its feet, with purposeful steering and excellent cornering skills. Prod the ‘Sport’ button and the Panda’s heart skips a beat as throttle response gets a short, sharp shock and the steering becomes heavier (in a good way).
Our only problems really lie with the Panda’s suspension. It’s a tad on the hard side and the car isn’t especially subtle when it comes to launching itself over pesky potholes and speedbumps. It could be worth investing in crash helmets for those in the back.
For the money, you’re getting a decent features list too. Electric windows, air-conditioning, a CD-playing stereo system and Bluetooth connectivity all come as standard. If you’re feeling particularly flush you could always tick the box for the five disc CD changer (£300 extra) and the Connect NAV sat-nav system. It’s also worth remembering that the Fiat only falls in insurance group 5, which makes it more financially viable than some of its heady hot-hatch competitors.
If you’re in the market for a first car, the Panda is an attractive, affordable option. It doesn’t have the go faster stripes of its hot-hatch brethren, but it’s a heck of a lot of fun.
Fiat Panda 100HP review
A perfect first car, the Panda is fun, easy to drive and cheap to run