Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

New Fiat Panda

Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

New Fiat Panda

Article excerpt


THE image is one of soft, cuddly, universally lovable but not very dynamic. Yet over its 32-year lifetime the Fiat Panda has found its way into 6.4 million homes, flourishing, unlike its extinction-threatened namesake, by being able to adapt to its environment.

So much so in fact that Fiat has only felt the need to completely redesign the model twice in that period - until now.

As more motorists prioritise price, economy and green issues, they face the dilemma of wondering how far they can downsize without running out of space.

Fiat is confident it can provide the answer to that question and has thrown a massive resource at doing so.

High numbers such as EUR800m invested, two million hours of product development, 200,000 hours of training and 8,500 suggestions from car workers, has resulted in the new generation Panda.

It goes on sale this week as a five-door, genuine five-seater city car with all the style, gizmos and interior comfort you would expect from an urban trend setter.

While a modern, rounded design makes the new Panda less instantly recognised than its more squared off predecessors, there are still some of the straight-edged interior touches - particularly around the dash - that past owners will appreciate.

Time-honoured Panda practicality is there too. Because this car is longer, wider and taller than before, there's more space for passengers and luggage. Most city cars only cater for two rear passengers, the little Fiat can fit three - and there are no less than 14 storage compartments, including an open one on the dash.

Even the cabin can be made to look more Panda-like, with dark grey and white upholstery and panels.

And that's not the only thing sure to put a smile on your face, because this Panda has claws too, courtesy of a lively yet frugal engine line-up that includes a fabulous 900cc TwinAir turbo.

It has the lowest CO2 emissions at 99g/km of any volume production petrol engine in the world and was named International Engine of the Year in 2011.

The two-cylinder unit sounds sporty too with its throaty engine note, yet has the potential for 67 miles per gallon. …

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