grandma (actually) resists

Fiat Panda, born in 2012, almost belongs to the “young” section of some magazines. However, this young grandmother knows how to live with her time, offering herself a brand new light hybrid engine, the cheapest on the market.

By

Camille Pinay

Published in
Updated

The Fiat Panda is available with a light hybrid engine for €13,490 with the City Life trim.

Etienne Roville


FIAT Panda 1.0 70 HP city ​​life

  • – Engine : Essence
  • – Power: 70 HP
  • – Launch : October 2020
  • – From 13 490 euros
  • – No bonus or malus

If fate fiat, the former first European manufacturer, there is something to regret forever, the strength is to admit that there are beautiful leftovers. Obviously, the success of the 500 is the first thing that comes to mind, but Panda’s durability also speaks to the Italian manufacturer’s talent in the subcompact category. Take a look at the lines of this city car, born in 2012: does it seem to be the least outdated in the world from an aesthetic point of view? And it’s not the light restyling she just got that makes a difference, even if she gives herself the air of a fashionable adventurer thanks to a few plastic hubcaps here and there.

This is the case for our Fiat Panda test in the average finish City Life, but less demonstrative than the new “Cross”. And as if that weren’t enough, he offers himself the luxury of adding another buzzword to his seductive trappings: “Hybrid,” which designates his new Firefly 1.0 three-cylinder engine linked to a belt-driven starter alternator. Not enough to drive in electric mode, but this allows him to teach the lessons of modernity to his rare rivals in the A segment!

Hybrid Fiat Panda Price

The aesthetic changes of the Fiat Panda are noticeable but limited: despite its advanced age, its style remains very relevant.

The City Life edition of our test model Panda is available for €13,490, €1,500 more than the entry-level City but €1,000 less than the first Cross. We are far from the 6,990 € announced in the promotional broadcast. on all major radio stations! The offer currently being used by Fiat includes a €3,000 government conversion surcharge. However, the manufacturer adds an “Eco-bonus” of 1,500 euros, making the entry level a “real” 10,490 euros. Suffice it to say that Panda deliberately crosses swords with the cheapest cars on the market, despite the more advanced engine. Because the latter is the only one available in France in an all-wheel drive range. The previous 1.2 is no longer offered, which also means that the LPG offer has been abandoned forever: it is difficult to adapt a new direct injection engine to this fuel.

Despite the aggressive pricing policy,Panda does not skimp on equipment. It offers a radio, power windows and, above all, manual air conditioning as standard. Our City Life trim adds a 7-inch touchscreen with Android Auto and Apple Car Play connectivity, central locking and steering wheel controls. As for the options catalog, it looks like it’s quite complete of four packages. Among them, we highly recommend the €500 Comfort package, which includes a 60-40 split bench seat, a leather steering wheel and above all a height-adjustable driver’s seat, which is sorely lacking in this series.

Driving

If the Fiat Panda has pretty much reached middle age, then the heart transplant gives it the enthusiasm of a young girl. Its three-cylinder engine is indeed a derivative of the four-cylinder engine released in 2019 for the 500 X line. under the pedal and under 100Nm of torque, it’s not a warhorse, but it shows amazing agility and goodwill. at all speeds, including when approaching the switch. And that’s a good thing, because it’s coupled to a six-speed gearbox that has had its ratio lengthened excessively from third. The sixth can simply stabilize the speed at 110 km / h on a flat one, and you have to constantly switch to a lower gear to restart. The reality is exacerbated by the excessive travel of the accelerator pedal, which we end up welding to the floor as soon as possible.

The panda is able to get out of the city, but it needs a lot of whipping to keep up the right pace.

However, if you adopt an “Italian” driving style, this little Fiat is quite capable of covering long distances and even motorway travel, especially since the engine is surprisingly quiet. In the town, the Stop & Start system works remarkably smoothly, stops the engine when braking from 20 km/h and very quickly when restarting. Of course, it is in this environment that the little Fiat works wonders thanks to its excellent turning radius, incomparable peripheral visibility and, of course, very compact dimensions, especially in width.

We’re a little less convinced by its chassis part, which allows for an even more canonical age, as its “Fiat Mini” platform dates back to 2003. First of all, an outdated raincoat. Finally, like the accelerator pedal, the brake pedal suffers from too much travel, which affects its bite. On the consumption side, we noted a figure on the on-board computer 5.7 l/100km with smooth driving in the city and on the highway. Data that increases moderately with increasing tone: we noted 6.5 liters under these conditions. We are far from the frills of the TwinAir two-cylinder engine that is still available in Italy.

In the cabin

The main innovation in the cabin of the Fiat Panda is the 7-inch central screen located at the top of the dashboard: a small feat of integration. Otherwise, the finishes are rustic but not dated, the design is pleasing to the eye, and there is plenty of storage space.

The touch screen does not include GPS, but works well with Android Auto and Waze.

The Panda Hybrid has a six speed gearbox. Leadership lacks firmness.

The driving position is a defect. The steering wheel is not adjustable in depth, and seat height adjustment is optional in City Life.

Considering the Panda’s size, the trunk offers decent capacity, but a split bench seat is optional.

Competition

The A segment (small city cars) is becoming increasingly rare, but Panda still has direct competitors, especially among French manufacturers. Obviously, this is the case of the Renault Twingo, which is even smaller and perhaps even more comfortable in the city thanks to its record-breaking turning radius. However, it is very expensive compared to the Fiat, as its base price is set at €12,350 for the non-air-conditioned Life trim. At PSA, we still offer the Citroën C1 and Peugeot 108 duo at the end of their careers. Less livable, these city cars still offer better drivability than the Fiat. The former is available from 11,350 euros in the 3-door Live version, and the second is available for 12,300 euros in the Like package with 5 doors, both without air conditioning.

Separately, it is worth mentioning the Mitsubishi Space Star, which costs 11,990 euros in the In access configuration. The manufacturer is currently offering discounts that allow it to exactly match the price of the Fiat. However, the Japanese offers neither the habitability nor even the style of the Italian. Finally, those for whom size is not an issue can turn to Dacia Sandero without hesitation, whose old model remains in the catalog from 8,290 €.

Fiat Panda hybrid test report

The Fiat Panda shows that you can actually make good recipes in old pots with a few well-chosen changes. Inhabited, inexpensive, properly equipped and friendly, it remains a highly recommended purchase for those looking for an affordable small city car. It is a pity that its transmission does not allow to use all the qualities of the engine, whose light hybridization is well thought out. Finally, it is only by his behavior on the road that he really betrays his age.

We love

  • Pleasant engine
  • Habitability
  • gun price

We regret

  • Uncomfortable driving position
  • Suspension exceeded
  • Poorly placed transmission

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