Fiat Panda 1.3 Multijet

Our reigning economy champ makes a strong case for itself again. But has it been left behind by hi-tech rivals?

  • Useful trip computer and city button, impressive economy in mixed driving conditions, stronger engine than in C1 rival.
  • Less aerodynamic lines than Citroen means slightly less mpg.

We’ve long been aware of how efficient the Fiat Panda is. Earlier this year we crowned it Britain’s most economical car. And it rarely delivers less than 50mpg in mixed conditions, no matter how hard it’s driven.

It follows the same approach as the Citroen C1: skinny tyres, a light chassis and a small, clean diesel. The engine isn’t as weak as the C1’s, either. Developing 145Nm of torque at 1,500rpm, it provides a good turn of pace without demanding that you venture high into the rev range.

As a result, around town the Panda was narrowly ahead of its French competitor, returning 39.7mpg, while on our cross-country route, the Fiat achieved 67.4mpg, and trailed by a mere 0.6mpg. Only on the motorway section of our test route did the Panda lose touch slightly, and that’s because of its inferior aerodynamics – it doesn’t have the C1’s smooth, rounded lines.

What the Panda does have is a trip computer – so you can keep an eye on your returns – as well as electric power-steering which draws less energy from the engine than a conventional hydraulic set-up.

It also highlights how hybrids are flattered by government fuel figures. Both the Fiat and Toyota claim identical 65.7mpg official returns, yet the Prius trailed the Panda by 5.4mpg in our tests.

Details

Price: £8,295Model tested: Fiat Panda 1.3 MultijetChart position: 3WHY: Economy champ aims to keep its crown. But it faces a very stiff challenge.

Economy

Urban: 39.7mpg Cross-country: 67.4mpg Motorway: 59.4mpg Combined: 59.7mpg

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