Fiat Panda hatchback review - CarBuyer
The story of the second generation Panda began at the 2003 Geneva Motor Show. Then, a four-seat Gingo prototype was presented to the public, almost ready to stand on the conveyor. However, against this name made concern Renault. It, according to the French, is too consonant with the name of their model Twingo. So the car went into the series under a name that was known to all Europeans for a long time - Panda, although the car has nothing in common with its predecessor. The first-generation auto, whose production began in 1980 and with minor changes, lasted on the conveyor until 2003.
Panda II has become more modern, more spacious, better equipped, but the main thing is that it has a modification with permanent all-wheel drive. A unique case in class A! Apparently, under the impression of such a set of important consumer qualities, "packaged" in a stylish compact body, European automotive journalists awarded Panda the title "Car of the Year - 2004".
Externally, the car is original: a sharp rise in the windshield, a tall body with an abundance of fashionable now longitudinal ribs, chopped off "feed", massive, almost square headlights, a large glass area and original windows in the rear pillar. Panda is compact, but gives the impression of a sort of microvan - mainly because of the high roof. The same height adds a share of comfort inside: even in the knees closely, if you climbed back, but plenty of space above your head.
Fiat Panda - the most suitable vehicle for use in urban traffic. It is small and compact, which is very convenient for parking, fast and maneuverable, and does not feel at all restrained in the general dynamics of movement. And most importantly, this car is economical: it is designed to reduce fuel consumption.
Inside, everything is made of budget materials. But the Italians managed to beat this budget due to a very original performance. The location of the gear lever on the console allows the driver to feel comfortable when driving. The chair and steering wheel can be adjusted by adjusting the desired position for themselves. But about any servo drives, even optional, speech does not go. This would noticeably increase the price, while the first and indisputable advantage of Panda is the relatively low cost. Standard seat adjustments - changing backrest and longitudinal movement. For an additional fee, you can order a height-adjustable headrest and seat cushion. The backs of the front seats, in contrast to the pillows, have a clear lateral support, but the back sofa lacks relief. Despite the rather limited range of longitudinal movement and the fact that the steering column can only move vertically, a person of any size can fit in the driver's seat. Due to the high landing (not quite typical for such machines), the road is in full view.
With its size, Panda, naturally, is designed for four. But as an option, dealers offer a five-seat option - for a fee, a central headrest and an extra seat belt will be installed on the back seat.
Panda trunk roomy not name. Rather, it is intended for transporting a couple of bulk bags from a supermarket - no more. For transportation of more dimensional cargo will have to fold the back of the back of the sofa, and since it only folds entirely, more than two people in this case will not take the car. By the way, in the list of additional equipment there are two options for rear seats with a divided back, one of which provides for longitudinal adjustment, but you will have to pay a lot for this option.
In the range of powertrains Panda only three engines. The simplest of them is the base 1.1-liter "eight-valve", which develops 54 hp. In addition to it, a more powerful 60-horsepower engine of 1.2 liters can be installed on the car. Europe today is experiencing a diesel boom, so the Italians could not do without a small 1.3-liter diesel powertrain Multijet with 70 "horses", developing 145 Nm of torque already at 1500 rpm. Panda with this 16-valve turbodiesel has all chances to become very popular. First, at the expense of efficiency - 5.4 liters per 100 km in the city and only 3.7 liters on the highway. And secondly, due to the increased service intervals - oil and filter change every 30,000 km, and the resource of the engine is 250,000 km.
Unfortunately, in our country Fiat with such a power unit is not supplied and, most likely, will not be supplied. The only version of Panda to date, which can be officially purchased at the Moscow auto show, is a car with a 1.2-liter engine, aggregated with 5-speed "mechanics" (in Europe it can also be aggregated with sequential automatic transmission of DualogiC).
The dual-mode dual-power electric power steering is installed on the Panda II - in the usual version, the steering wheel is spinning with just one finger. But after activating the "City" mode (using the button on the center console), the steering wheel becomes completely weightless. Naturally, in this case, speech feedback can not be, so that "City" is recommended to use only in the parking lot.
The suspension has a proven design over the years: the front is MacPherson, and the rear is semi-dependent with a torsion beam. On a flat surface, the car obediently holds the road, copes well with most of the irregularities.
The minimum equipment offers: front windows, central locking, immobilizer, Dualdrive company dual-mode electric power steering, driver airbag, and ABS with EBD. Air conditioning, side and window cushions, front passenger cushion, parking sensors and even the ESP stabilization system can be ordered separately. For more "advanced" cars can be installed: a decent audio system with a subwoofer, a sliding roof Skydome or air conditioning system with air filtration system.
There is also an all-wheel drive version of the Panda. It differs from the banal front-wheel drive version of increased wheels in width and diameter. The suspension has become taller - more powerful shock absorbers and springs. Ground clearance - 160 mm. The rear suspension completely gained trailing arms and, as a result of this, independence.
The all-wheel drive system, developed by GKN, is designed in such a way that, in normal mode, 98% of the torque is delivered to the front wheels. However, as soon as the load on the front wheels changes, the viscous coupling is activated, and all-wheel drive is engaged. Viskomufta itself is located behind and combined with the rear differential in one unit.
Rear-wheel drive threw a centner with a decent tail to the car's own weight, plus considerable friction losses inside the transmission. And the engine is offered the same as for the front wheel drive version. It turned out that, along with kilograms, the car also acquired unnecessary seconds to the cherished "hundred." But on the winter and country road Panda 4x4 in his element. Interesting fact: Panda 4x4 comes immediately on winter tires. Not studded, but in a European winter fashion - marked M + S.
By the way, the Panda of the first generation, created a quarter of a century ago by Giorgio Giugiaro, also had a 4x4 version. Fiat Panda 4x4 Trekking was born in 1983, three years after the debut of the very first of the Panda. All-wheel drive transmission was introduced by the Australian company Steyr-Daimler-Puch. The car was equipped with a liter engine (to be exact, its volume was equal to 999 milliliters), which developed 50 hp. Panda 4x4 Trekking of the first generation was much simpler than the current one. For example, instead of an independent rear suspension, she had a hard bridge. One of the curious features of the car was a very short first gear, thanks to which the Panda 4x4 not only could take it easy to move off-road, but also shot from traffic lights in the city.
Italians managed to create a great car. Not too hot, but cheerful, carefree and cheerful. Stylish appearance, low price, efficiency, maneuverability, originality - the key to the success of the small Panda.