Fiat Panda review - Interior, design and technology
Characterful design gives the Panda a sense of fun inside and out, but some parts feel cheap
The Fiat Panda is a cute-looking choice in the city car market, with bags more exterior appeal than the slightly conservatively styled Volkswagen up! and generic-looking lower spec versions of the Kia Picanto; for many owners, the Panda’s design will have been the deciding factor. With its upright stance, bold details and eye-catching blend of straight lines and curves, it certainly stands out.
The interior of the Fiat Panda continues the sense of fun, and there are plenty of the trademark 'squircle' design cues – think square shapes with rounded corners. Chunky Tonka toy-style switchgear and bright fabrics contribute to the fun personality of the car.
While the interior is a vast improvement over past models, some of the materials feel a bit low-rent and it can't match the Volkswagen up! in terms of quality.
There are three trim levels in the Fiat Panda range: Pop, Easy and Lounge. Entry-level Pop cars look a little basic with their 14-inch steel wheels, but they do get electric front windows as standard, along with a CD player with MP3 compatibility.
Mid-range Easy models feature remote central locking and air-con, as well as a set of roof rails, which definitely add more of a premium edge to the looks. Lounge versions are even more stylish with alloy wheels and foglights.
Then there are the pseudo-SUV versions of the Panda. The City Cross is similar to the older Panda Trekking, as it has the chunky SUV looks, but not the running gear of the Panda 4x4. That latter model does have the off-road ability to go with its looks, while the Panda Cross 4x4 adds a bit more style to its appearance.
There’s no arguing with the appeal of the Mild Hybrid version, which is complemented by new 15-inch alloys and ‘Dew Green’ paint, intended as a nod to the car’s eco-friendly credentials.
Sat-nav, stereo and infotainment
Even the entry-level Pop comes with a four-speaker audio system with CD player and MP3 compatibility.
The Easy trim level upgrades you to a six-speaker system, while top-of-the-range cars add the Uconnect set-up with Bluetooth and a dash-top cradle that allows you to install your smartphone as a navigation unit. The system also comes with steering wheel controls, and is a worthwhile optional extra on all the other models.
In this review
- 1Fiat Panda reviewThe Fiat Panda is a characterful city car with lots of practical touches
- 2Engines, performance and driveThe Panda performs well in the city, but out on the motorway the lack of refinement comes to the fore
- 3MPG, CO2 and Running CostsNo version of the Panda will cost much to run, even if you can't match the official fuel economy figures
- 4Interior, design and technology - currently readingCharacterful design gives the Panda a sense of fun inside and out, but some parts feel cheap
- 5Practicality, comfort and boot spaceThe Fiat Panda has an airy cabin and a practical boot, although it's not the biggest load bay in its class
- 6Reliability and SafetyThe Panda doesn't feel as durable as rivals, while Euro NCAP safety ratings aren't the best