Fiat Panda (2012-present)

Fun, small and cheap to run, the Fiat Panda is great value for money

Strengths & Weaknesses

Strengths 

Fun, individual design
Low purchase and running costs
Spacious and practical interior

Weaknesses 

Newer rivals are better to drive
Basic levels of equipment
Cut-price feel
Best New Discount

Fiat Panda Diesel Hatchback 1.3 multijet [95] cross 4x4 5dr

Total RRP £18,255

Your quote £14,798

You Save £3,457

With cheeky looks, a spacious, practical cabin and lease deals costing less than £100 a month, you can buy the Fiat Panda with your head and your heart.

Its low-cost, plastic interior is spiced up with fun design, such as panels sprinkled with tiny letters that spell out ‘Panda’ and curved square shapes - Fiat calls them squircles - for dials, displays and even the steering wheel. On a more practical note, passengers in the back can increase legroom by sliding the rear seat backwards - at the expense of boot space - and there are 14 storage cubbyholes.

The cheap starting price doesn’t buy much equipment on the basic model, though. Air conditioning costs extra and there are only two seats in the back. A three-seat layout costs more.

The Fiat Panda is designed for city driving where soft suspension soaks up speed bumps and potholes and its small engines work efficiently. The tall shape gives passengers plenty of headroom, makes it easy to climb into and has large windows for good visibility. Compact bodywork, which barely stretches beyond the wheels, makes the Panda easy to park. It’s easier still thanks to a ‘City’ mode that makes the steering feather-light for easy manoeuvring but getting comfortable can be a challenge: the steering wheel only adjusts in and out rather than up and down too.

Alternatives, including the Citroen C1, Toyota Aygo, Hyundai i10 and Volkswagen up! are not as spacious as the Panda but have interiors that feel more upmarket thanks to higher-quality materials. They are also better on fast A-roads and motorways, where the Panda’s small petrol engines strain to produce enough power, making journeys noisy and overtaking slow.

The diesel engine has more power and improved overtaking performance but is still loud and is only available on more expensive Pandas that are designed to go off-road.

There are three Fiat Panda models designed to cope with off-roading and tough conditions, starting with the Panda Trekking, It has chunky bumpers and taller suspension, which increases the space between the ground and the bottom of the car, helping it to pass over jagged obstacles.

The tougher Fiat Panda 4x4 adds four-wheel drive, giving more control on snow, slippery mud or uneven ground. The Fiat Panda Cross is most extreme and competent enough for a jungle expedition. It has even taller suspension and hill descent control to automatically drive steadily down steep slopes. The list prices of 4x4 models are high but some Fiat Panda deals can cut the cost by thousands of pounds.

Safety across the Panda range isn’t up to the very latest standards, with equipment such as side airbags and automatic braking only optional. The car received four out of five stars from the independent crash-testers Euro NCAP in 2011. When the Panda Cross went through the tougher 2015 test, it only got three stars.

Last Updated 

Tuesday, April 26, 2016 - 09:15

Key facts 

Warranty: 
3 years
Boot size: 
225 litres
Width: 
1643mm
Length: 
3653mm
Height: 
1551mm
Tax (min to max): 
£0 to £110

Best Fiat Panda for... 

Fiat Panda 0.9 TwinAir 85hp Lounge
The most economical Fiat Panda has a diesel engine but is expensive. If you’re on a budget, opt for the TwinAir petrol engine which is still efficient (67.3mpg) and around £3,000 cheaper.
Fiat Panda 1.3 Multijet 95hp 4x4
The Panda 4x4 will drive through blizzards and mudslides to ensure that your kids get to school on time. Tall suspension gives passengers a good view and diesel Pandas are best for motorway journeys.
Fiat Panda 0.9 TwinAir 85hp Lounge
The quickest Panda takes 11.2sec to accelerate from 0-62mph, so it's far from a performance car. But the TwinAir engine is responsive and feels sportiest with the manual gearbox.
Fiat Panda TwinAir 85hp Easy Dualogic
The Dualogic automatic transmission is jerky and unpleasant and Easy trim is £500 cheaper than the Lounge version, but you do without electrically-adjustable mirrors, which are useful in city driving.

Fiat Panda History 

February 2012 Fiat Panda launched with a choice of two petrol engines (69hp 1.2, 85hp 0.9 TwinAir) and one diesel (75hp MultiJet), and in a choice of three trims

December 2012 The Fiat Panda 4x4 is launched, along with the Panda Trekking which looks like the 4x4 but only has two-wheel drive.

October 2014 Fiat Panda Cross launched. Based on the Panda 4x4 but with greater off-road features.

August 2015 The Fiat Panda diesel engine is upgraded from 75hp to 95hp

2015 Two recalls launched for Fiat Pandas. The first involved models built at the end of 2014, which could have faulty seatbelts. The second recall affected cars built up to April 2014 which could have headlamp failure.

2016 Fiat Panda Easy+ special edition launched, with rear parking sensors and Bluetooth phone pairing for a little more than standard Easy trim.

Understanding Fiat Panda car names 

  • Panda
  • Trim
    Lounge
  • Engine
    0.9 TwinAir 85hp
  • Gearbox
    Dualogic
  • Trim
    Three trim levels, Pop, easy and Lounge, offer increasing levels of equipment. The car is also available in off road versions: Trekking, 4x4 and Cross
  • Engine
    The engine size (0.9) is given in litres and TwinAir refers to the two cylinder petrol engines which are powerful for their unusually small size. The diesel engine is called a MultiJet. The figure of 85hp is the engine’s power rating.
  • Gearbox
    All Fiat Panda models can be bought with a manual gearbox. Some are available with an automatic gearbox, which Fiat calls Dualogic.

Fiat Panda Engines 

1.2 69hp, 0.9 TwinAir 85hp, 0.9TwinAir 90hp 1.3 MultiJet 95hp

The Panda’s engine range starts off with the 1.2-litre petrol, a low-powered unit that’s not very economical, and whose only virtue is its low price. You’ll find your right foot is regularly pushed to the floor, even in town, because acceleration is sluggish and it costs £30 to tax.

The 0.9-litre TwinAir petrol engine is better. It’s more modern and efficient, helping it to accelerate from 0-62mph in 11.2sec. That’s three seconds quicker than the 1.2 engine. Low emissions means that some models fitted with the engine qualify for free car tax. Claimed fuel economy, based on laboratory tests, is an impressive 68.9mpg but be warned: it uses more fuel in real-world driving because heavy acceleration is needed to get the best from the engine. Most Pandas, including four-wheel drive models, are available with an 85hp version of the engine, but the most capable off-road model, the Cross, comes with a more powerful 90hp unit.

The 1.3 MultiJet 95hp diesel engine is only available on the off-road Fiat Panda models. It’s the most economical and about as quick as the 0.9 TwinAir petrol engines. The diesel is better suited to motorway journeys than the less powerful petrol engines, which must work hard to maintain speed and struggle to accelerate when overtaking, but is still noisy.

Type

Mpg

Power

0 - 60

top speed

1.2

Petrol

55.4mpg

69hp

14.2sec

102mph

0.9 TwinAir

Petrol

57.6-68.9mpg

85hp

11.2 - 12.1sec

103 - 110mph

0.9 TwinAir

Petrol

57.6mpg

90hp

12sec

104mph

1.3 MultiJet

Diesel

74.3 – 62.8mpg

95hp

11.8 - 12.5sec

104 - 107mph

Fiat Panda Trims 

Pop, Easy, Lounge, Trekking, 4x4, Cross

The Fiat Panda’s back-to-basics design suits the steel wheels and plain black side mirrors fitted to the cheapest Pop models, which are only available with the sluggish 1.2 litre petrol engine. There’s a radio/CD player but no luxuries to speak of - not even head restraints.

For those, you need to upgrade to the Easy trim level, which also brings the option of the more powerful TwinAir petrol engine. Air conditioning , remote central locking and a height-adjustable seat come as standard too, along with roof rails.

For an additional £500, Lounge trim brings additional equipment including alloy wheels, front foglights, electric mirrors and body mouldings. However, other equipment that you might want such as Bluetooth phone pairing, parking sensors, automatic braking to avoid crashes and a sat-nav that sits on top of the dashboard are optional on all models, and will increase the price.

The Panda Trekking has raised suspension, Mud & Snow tyres and an electronic traction system that is meant to cope better with slippery surfaces. It’s only two wheel drive though. The Fiat Panda 4x4 sends power to all four wheels, which should be even more effective at getting the car moving in snow and mud.

Above the 4x4 sits the Panda Cross which has a special off-road mode for greater performance, as well as plates to protect parts underneath the car from scrapes, and front tow hooks. It can keep up with some Land Rovers but the official price is a hefty £1600 more than the Fiat Panda 4x4.

Fiat Panda Reliability and warranty 

The old joke that the letters Fiat stand for ‘Fix It Again Tony’ doesn’t apply to the Panda, which received a higher reliability rating than the VW Golf in the 2016 Driver Power satisfaction survey. That’s not to say it was perfect: some owners marked the car down for rattles, and its 93rd position out of 150  shows room for improvement.

But the Panda is relatively uncomplicated, with engines that have performed well in other models. It’s covered by a three year warranty from new, although this is limited to 60,000 miles. If the car travels that far before the three years are up, the warranty will automatically end.

Used Fiat Panda 

With new Fiat Panda deals available for less than £100 a month, recent used models look even better value at under £5,000 or around £80 a month for cars that are less than two years-old - as long as you can put up with the least-powerful petrol engine.

Pandas hold their value well, you won’t find any recent models at rock-bottom prices, particularly if you are looking for the diesel-powered 4x4 or Trekking version, which are in-demand.

Prices below show typical BuyaCar discounts for our pick of new and used models. Scroll down further for the very latest new Fiat Panda deals or search for all new and used Fiat Panda offers.

List price

BuyaCar new

1 year old

2 years old

3 years old

Best for performance

Price

£12,010

£10,285*

N/a

N/a

£5495

Fiat Panda 0.9 TwinAir 85hp Lounge

Save

14%

N/a

N/a

51.2%

Best for families

Price

£16,610

£13,618*

£11,795

£10,500

£8,995

Fiat Panda 1.3 Multijet 95hp 4x4

Save

18%

-

-

57.9%

Best for economy

Price

£11,510

£9,815*

£8,295

£7,495

£6,000

Fiat Panda 0.9 TwinAir 85hp Easy

Save

14.7%

N/a

N/a

44.6%

*As part of Fiat Panda lease deal. Prices correct at time of publication

Fiat Panda Prices

Fiat Panda 4x4

0.9 twinair [85] 4x4 5dr

  • Doors 5
  • Fuel petrol
  • Economy 57.6mpg
  • Gears manual

Starting at: £12,029

You could save up to: £2676

1.3 multijet [95] 4x4 5dr

  • Doors 5
  • Fuel diesel
  • Economy 64.2mpg
  • Gears manual

Starting at: £13,511

You could save up to: £3094

Fiat Panda City Cross

1.2 city cross 5dr

  • Doors 5
  • Fuel petrol
  • Economy 51.4mpg
  • Gears manual

Starting at: £11,224

You could save up to: £1871

1.2 city cross 5dr [style pack]

  • Doors 5
  • Fuel petrol
  • Economy 51.4mpg
  • Gears manual

Starting at: £11,694

You could save up to: £1901

Fiat Panda Cross 4X4

0.9 twinair [90] cross 4x4 5dr

  • Doors 5
  • Fuel petrol
  • Economy 57.6mpg
  • Gears manual

Starting at: £13,316

You could save up to: £3039

Fiat Panda Cross 4x4

1.3 multijet [95] cross 4x4 5dr

  • Doors 5
  • Fuel diesel
  • Economy 62.8mpg
  • Gears manual

Starting at: £14,798

You could save up to: £3457

Fiat Panda Easy

0.9 twinair [85] easy 5dr

  • Doors 5
  • Fuel petrol
  • Economy 67.3mpg
  • Gears manual

Starting at: £9,493

You could save up to: £1972

0.9 twinair [85] easy 5dr dualogic

  • Doors 5
  • Fuel petrol
  • Economy 68.9mpg
  • Gears automatic

Starting at: £10,117

You could save up to: £2148

1.2 easy 5dr

  • Doors 5
  • Fuel petrol
  • Economy 54.3mpg
  • Gears manual

Starting at: £8,667

You could save up to: £1728

Fiat Panda Lounge

0.9 twinair [85] lounge 5dr

  • Doors 5
  • Fuel petrol
  • Economy 67.3mpg
  • Gears manual

Starting at: £9,984

You could save up to: £2111

0.9 twinair [85] lounge 5dr dualogic

  • Doors 5
  • Fuel petrol
  • Economy 68.9mpg
  • Gears automatic

Starting at: £10,608

You could save up to: £2287

1.2 lounge 5dr

  • Doors 5
  • Fuel petrol
  • Economy 54.3mpg
  • Gears manual

Starting at: £9,213

You could save up to: £1882

Fiat Panda Pop

1.2 pop 5dr

  • Doors 5
  • Fuel petrol
  • Economy 54.3mpg
  • Gears manual

Starting at: £8,052

You could save up to: £1543