Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

Fiat Panda Easy 1.3 Multijet

Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

Fiat Panda Easy 1.3 Multijet

Article excerpt

WHEN I was a nipper I remember my mum - concerned that I was becoming something of a couch potato - warning me that if I sat on my backside in front of the TV for too long I would end up with square eyes.

With just two channels to choose from showing a couple of hours of kids' programmes a day, I think her fears were a little unfounded.

However, her old adage came to mind as my eyes took a little time to adjust when I slipped behind the wheel of the new Fiat Panda.

To say the Italian car-maker has taken the boxy dimensions of its popular little hatchback and sought to make a virtue out of them would be an understatement.

Fiat does have form in this department with the Panda's larger and not dissimilar stablemate actually being called the Qubo.

There are square dials on the dash, square controls for the stereo and heating, a square knob on the gear stick, square oddments trays, square interior door handles, square speakers, square headrests, squarish headlights and a funky square pattern embossed on the upholstery of the firm and supportive seats.

To be fair to Fiat's design team, they've made this, only the third generation of Panda in 32 years on the road, appear less boxy.

And, while it may not be the easiest on the eye, the cubic design does offer practical benefits, especially in terms of space.

A high, flat roof means good head room for all while the vertical tailgate maximises available space in the boot, which is generous.

Interior space is good all-round as Fiat demonstrate expertise in small car design.

The new Panda is longer, wider and taller than the model it replaces but is diminutive enough to sit squarely, excuse the pun, in the city car bracket.

The extra room and generous window dimensions, mean the cabin is light and airy. There are 14 storage cubbies including a roomy pocket on the passenger side of the dash as well as a more traditional glovebox while an innovative handbrake design and elevated gear lever free up more space between the front seats for open trays and cup-holders. …

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