Review

Fiat Panda hatchback

Price  £9,375 - £14,975

Fiat Panda hatchback

reviewed by Carbuyer

Pros
  • Funky interior design
  • Great to drive in town
  • Low purchase and running costs
Cons
  • Could be better equipped
  • Not great on the motorway
  • Only four-star Euro NCAP safety score

At a glance

The greenest
0.9 TwinAir 85hp Dualogic Lounge 5dr £12,625
The cheapest
1.2 Pop 5dr £9,375
The fastest
0.9 TwinAir 85hp Easy 5dr £11,375
Top of the range
1.3-16v Multijet Trekking EU6 5dr £14,975

“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.

MPG, running costs & CO2

4.4 / 5

With good fuel economy and annual road tax of £30 or less, the Fiat Panda is a very cheap car to buy and run

Engines, drive & performance

3.7 / 5

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

Interior & comfort

3.2 / 5

Tall, boxy body gives Fiat Panda occupants great visibility and lots of space

Practicality & boot space

3.5 / 5

The Fiat Panda is impressively spacious for such a small car, but you need to add some options to maximise its practicality

Reliability & safety

3.2 / 5

A simple car like the Fiat Panda should be reliable, but its four-star Euro NCAP safety rating is slightly concerning

What the others say

3.5 / 5
based on 4 reviews
4 / 5
“The Fiat Panda doesn't have class-leading build quality but it makes up for that with its quirky personality and cute looks.”
3 / 5
“The Fiat Panda is an endearing and funky looking little car that won’t cost you much to run.”
4 / 5
“This model of Fiat Panda is certainly more attractive than its predecessors. It has a more rounded look to the exterior while the interior feels much more grown-up, with an improved finish.”
3 / 5
“This Fiat Panda is much improved inside, with far higher quality throughout and a neater design, too. The plastics are less scratchy than before and nicer to touch, while the overall finish has more attention to detail.”
What owners say 
4.4137931034483
4.4 /5 based on 87 reviews
77%
 of people would recommend this car to a friend
Last updated 
14 Jan 2015
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