Fiat Panda hatchback
Price £9,375 - £14,075
- Funky interior design
- Great to drive in town
- Low purchase and running costs
- Could be better equipped
- Not great on the motorway
- Only four-star Euro NCAP safety score
At a glance
“The Fiat Panda is an upbeat city car with a practical interior and an economical range of petrol and diesel engines.”
The Fiat Panda has been a hugely popular small car since it was relaunched in more modern form in 2004, offering distinctive design inside and out, as well as impressive practicality and very affordable running costs. This third-generation model has been on sale since 2012, and builds on the traits that made its predecessor such a hit. It faces competition from city cars such as the Hyundai i10, Renault Twingo, Kia Picanto, Skoda Citigo, Volkswagen up! and SEAT Mii.
The Panda is built using many of the same basic parts as the Fiat 500, but unlike that chic city car, which is aimed at fashion-conscious young buyers, the Panda is intended to offer cheap and cheerful basic family transport. Depending on the exact model, you get between 225 and 260 litres of boot space, thanks to clever sliding rear seats. Plus, while the Panda's tall roof can make it look a bit ungainly from outside, it means there's much more headroom inside than you get in many rival cars.
Every engine in the Panda range is impressive in its own way, but we particularly like the 0.9-litre TwinAir petrol – a two-cylinder turbo engine that boasts strong performance and a characterful exhaust note. It's ideal for low-mileage town drivers, but if you spend a lot of time going up and down the motorway, the excellent 1.3-litre Multijet diesel is a better bet. The basic 1.2-litre petrol isn’t bad either if you’re on a tight budget.
No Fiat Panda is expensive to run, with fuel economy of between 54.3 and 72.4mpg and annual road tax bills as low as £20. Insurance and servicing costs are also very manageable, although the Panda isn’t the best car in its class when it comes to retaining value on the second-hand market.
Fiat also offers several off-road-oriented models of the Panda, including the raised up two-wheel-drive Panda Trekking, the tough Panda 4x4 and the extremely rugged Panda Cross, which comes as standard with snow tyres for ultimate go-anywhere ability. We’ve reviewed these models separately.
With good fuel economy and annual road tax of £30 or less, the Fiat Panda is a very cheap car to buy and run
The Fiat Panda has a range of petrol and diesel engines that make it a great performer around town, but it’s less impressive on the motorway
Tall, boxy body gives Fiat Panda occupants great visibility and lots of space
The Fiat Panda is impressively spacious for such a small car, but you need to add some options to maximise its practicality
A simple car like the Fiat Panda should be reliable, but its four-star Euro NCAP safety rating is slightly concerning