In-depth reviews

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.

In spite of the facelift, entry-level Life 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.

Moving up a level to City Life gets you 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 when combined with the alloy wheels and foglights. You also get the upgraded Uconnect touchscreen infotainment system, which features Android Auto and Apple CarPlay, and has a handy slot behind the display for you to stash your smartphone.

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.

Sat-nav, stereo and infotainment

Even the entry-level Life comes with a four-speaker audio system with MP3 compatibility and a USB connector for streaming. The City Life level and above upgrades you to a six-speaker system with the latest Uconnect set-up featuring Bluetooth connectivity and a dash-top cradle that allows you to easily use your smartphone for navigation and more. The system also comes with steering wheel controls to make life a little easier.

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