Roy Lewis road tests the New Fiat Panda 1.3 Multijet diesel 16-valve Pop with start and stop (From Hereford Times)
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Roy Lewis road tests the New Fiat Panda 1.3 Multijet diesel 16-valve Pop with start and stop
8:00am Friday 16th March 2012 in Road Tests
AT-A-GLANCE New Fiat Panda 1.3 Multijet diesel 16-valve Pop with start and stop.
Price: £11,100 (on the road).
Top speed: 104mph.
0-62mph: 12.8 seconds.
Fuel: 72.4mpg (combined figure).
CO2 emissions (g/km): 104.
Verdict: Outstanding motor for performance with economy, fun to drive, practical, refined, innovative, well equipped and strong build quality.
IF you’re looking for something small, affordable, practical and fun to drive, then Fiat’s new Panda should be on your shortlist.
Having just gone on sale, with prices starting at £8,900, the third generation of Europe’s best-selling supermini is bigger, roomier, safer and more fuel-efficeint then its predecessor.
Legendary for small cars, Fiat has produced a stylish little mover which is ideal for the growing numbers of motorists looking at ways to reduce running costs.
Some small cars do little more than fulfil basic requirements but for the new five-door Panda its ability runs much deeper and it exudes a solidity hard to match in its sector.
The sophisticated city car with room for five in its more rounded body, comes with an advanced range of engines and some clever cutting-edge technology seen for the first time on a small motor.
Three engine options are presently on offer, headed by Fiat’s award-winning Twin-Air Turbo. This 875cc unit has the lowest carbon dioxide emissions of any quantity production petrol unit in the world and won the International Engine of the Year 2011 award, thanks to its combination of power, flexibility and economy. Top speed of the 85bhp version is 110mph and the official combined fuel consumption figure stands at 67.3mpg. In midrange Easy trim it costs £10,750.
The two-cylinder motor can be heard when worked hard but the noise is not intrusive. It is a characterful unit with the driver needing to pay attention to the rev band to get the best out of it.
Fiat also offers the latest evolution of the noted 1.2-litre FIRE engine. With 69bhp on tap, it has variable valve timing technology to blend power with economy. It’s a smooth operator with a combined fuel consumption of 54.3mpg and it is likely to be a popular choice, with prices starting at £8,900.
If you cover a high mileage then the 1.3-litre 75bhp multi-jet 2 turbo diesel is well worth considering.
This second-generation unit is a cracker. It features faster injectors than its predecessor, making it quieter and cheaper to run. The engine is mated to a smooth, high-mounted five-speed manual gearbox and offers plenty of performance and flexibility.
It can manage an excellent 72.4mpg on the combined cycle with CO2 emissions of just 104 (g/kg). Over 120 miles of mixed driving conditions the diesel returned a pleasing 64.2mpg, according to its computer. The oil burner sells from £11,100 for the entry Pop model to £12,250 for the top-specification Lounge version.
As with the other panda versions, the ride from the all-new suspension is fairly firm which keep the more rigid body in check. The ride remains composed with nicely positive steering and gentlemanly road manners.
Hustle the Panda into a corner and it handles confidently to put a smile on your face.
Inside, the Panda’s cabin is not only spacious, comfortable and airy but the controls are well laid out and easy to operate. The seats are well designed, being comfortable and supportive.
Around town the light steering allows you to nip in and out of tight spaces while the cars have sufficient pace and comfort to cover lengthy mileages with comparative ease.
The interior has 14 cubby holes, including an open compartment on the dash. Most of the Panda’s growth in length is in the rear overhang which increases rear passenger leg room and boot space. The boot is one of the biggest in its class. Later in the year, the rear bench can be specified to slide backwards and forwards.
Other options include a front passenger seat that folds into a table.
Life on board is further improved by a better climate control system. The Panda can also be ordered with the Blue and Me connectivity system to allow owners to sync music players and mobile phones in the car. Also available is a touch screen navigation system.
Safety is paramount with Fiat and features include a low-speed collision avoidance system that reads the road ahead and when it detects an obstacle in the car’s path applies the brakes.