Fiat Panda hatchback - Interior & comfort
Tall, boxy body gives Fiat Panda occupants great visibility and lots of space
Whereas some small cars can feel cramped, the Fiat Panda feels light and airy inside thanks to its tall roof and large windows. This good visibility also makes it an easy car to drive in town and manoeuvre around crowded car parks.
Fiat Panda dashboard
One of the recurring design themes in the Fiat Panda is a rounded-edged square that Fiat calls a ‘squircle’. This shape can be found on the dashboard, the buttons and even the dials in front of the driver. But while the Panda’s interior looks good, it feels quite cheap in parts, and we’re not sure how well it will stand up to the ongoing wear and tear of family motoring. It's also fairly dated, with an LCD radio and trip computer where the Fiat 500 has proper displays. If you want more features, it's necessary to put your smartphone atop the dashboard and download Fiat's Uconnect app. Rivals like the Hyundai i10 and Dacia Sandero Stepway are better equipped, with large touchscreens and features such as Apple CarPlay.
There’s plenty of room for the driver and front-seat passenger, but the steering wheel only adjusts in and out, not up and down, so some people might not be able to find the perfect driving position. The seats are on the firm side, as well, so while they offer plenty of support, they could become uncomfortable on a longer journey. It’s worth noting that the entry-level Pop model doesn’t come with a height-adjustable driver’s seat, either.
The Fiat Panda range kicks off with Pop specification, available only with the basic 1.2-litre petrol engine. The Pop is fairly basic, with just power steering, four airbags and a CD/MP3 stereo fitted as standard. It now includes air conditioning, however. If you’re on a very tight budget, it’ll do, but it misses out on a lot of equipment that’s taken for granted in new cars these days.
We think the mid-range Easy is a much better choice, as it adds central locking, rear head restraints and roof rails to the Pop’s kit, making the Panda much easier to live with day-to-day. At roughly £11,000, a Panda Easy would be our pick of the range.
The Lounge model is stylish and well-equipped, if a little more expensive, adding body-coloured door handles, heated door mirrors, foglights and eye-catching 15-inch alloy wheels to the package. There are also Panda City Cross, 4x4 and Cross 4x4 versions, with rugged styling and chunkier tyres.
Panda Mild Hybrid Launch Edition comes with upholstery woven from recycled plastic and an exclusive Dew Green paint colour.
Roof rails, air-conditioning and and electrically adjustable door mirrors are optional on the Pop, but realistically you’re better off upgrading to Easy specification to get this kit as standard.
The Easy model itself can be specified with body-coloured door mirrors and handles, a ‘Sky Dome’ panoramic sunroof, dark-tinted privacy glass, alloy wheels, a leather steering wheel and front foglights. A leather steering wheel and panoramic sunroof are also optional on the Lounge model.
On the Easy and Lounge models, Fiat also offers a number of option packs that group features together for better value. The Climate Pack adds climate control, a heated windscreen and heated mirrors to the Lounge, while the Style pack adds alloy wheels and foglights to the Easy.
Both models are available with the Flex Pack, which boosts practicality by adding a fold-down table, split-folding rear seats, a luggage net and a height-adjustable driver’s seat. We’d definitely recommend getting this.
Another tempting option is the Fiat Blue&Me infotainment system (available on all models), which adds steering-wheel stereo controls and integrates with your smartphone to offer safe calling, music streaming and sat-nav use at the wheel.
Surprisingly, the split-folding rear seat on its own is optional on all two-wheel-drive models – even the range-topping Lounge – at a cost of £60. A space-saver spare wheel is also optional across the range, with only a tyre-repair kit coming as standard.