We could not be happier with this car, especially now the first class power train has loosened up.
The car is enjoyable to own, fun to drive, user-friendly and staggeringly economical. We are averaging 65mpg with mixed use, with 75mpg possible on a run, and coupled with £35 pa road tax and group 2 insurance, this car just has to be the best budget car to own, as it is enjoyable to drive and frugal.
This car was bought for my wife who recently passed her test, but I keep pinching it after falling for it (hence 3200 miles on 57 plate!). I used to own a 2006 Suzuki Swift DDiS (see report!) with the same engine (many cars use this excellent unit) and I fell out with that car in a big way because of the stupid interfering electronics fitted, but the Panda is just superb.
Speed related stereo volume.
Speed related wipers with auto wipe on selecting reverse with front wipers on, auto wipers when washing window, intermittent rear wipe goes half speed of front wipers, flick wipe facility.
Excellent trip computer with both instantaneous and average fuel economy.
Very bright reversing light, excellent headlight performance.
Quality tyres, super smooth engine, fantastic refinement, finger light gearchange.
No annoying beeps or alarms, lovely folding key remote (like Golf), the pack Fiat sent me with a branded USB key gift, etc, etc..
Could do with improvement:
Leg room for taller drivers - one knee catches the centre gearshift pod and the other thigh catches against a very hard door handle, but you can get comfy after trial and error.
Intermittent wiper setting too fast.
Mirrors are convex but ridiculously small for a town car, and have no blind spot curve or easy adjust for kerb alignment when parking (silly mistake Fiat!).
Very strong plastic smell when using heater.
Nothing else. Damn!
Drive a well run-in one of these and be surprised - it is a world away from the petrol Pandas, and we actually chose our Multijet over the 1.4 100HP version after testing it, the diesel and also the 1.2 petrol.
The car is very refined indeed and well suited to demanding A and B roads, as well as lengthy fast motorway runs. Really!
Ours has the following options: air conditioning, sliding rear seat, a full size spare wheel and metallic paint, and cost £6800 on the road at a main Fiat dealer as the first owner, 57 plate car - an amazing deal.
When sourcing the car we saw various £5799 deal for the Multijet diesel, or £6199 with air-con, but these cars come WITHOUT rear headrests and with YELLOW as the only base colour - even red is an option of £235, metallics are £360. We therefore specified the £200 sliding rear seat option (4 seats only) which comes with the rear headrests and this is useful for increasing the boot size, but the seats when folded do not fold flat - the bases are fixed and back rests flop forward. We would rather have had proper folding seats in hindsight.
The £20 full size spare option is well worth it, as the boot is unaffected and you have a proper tyre, and you will only have to buy one when the fronts wear - use the best worn tyre as a spare when the time comes.
I would recommend the base car in yellow at £5799 as a cheap or second car, but the addition of air-con, nice paint and the better rear seats makes it usable as the main car - so for £1000 extra it is well worth it.
I would order the steering wheel controls for the audio if buying again however -the volume is a fair stretch away (even if only used occasionally with the auto/speed volume on). The sub-woofer option is unnecessary - the stereo is excellent.
Be very careful to get the colours right when ordering, and go and see the correct combination of paint and trim colour first before committing - Fiat have someone in the interior department who is colour blind (sky blue seats with maroon paint anyone?!).
We chose Cumbia Beige (smoke gold) with matching beige interior after looking at 30 odd Pandas, as it looked very nice - even though I hated gold, but the New Orleans Blue matches the blue interior well, and so does the light blue metallic. Rumba red comes with beige interior (!?!!).
The diesel makes great sense over the petrol as the fuel economy is much better, the tax £80 pa cheaper (£130 cheaper than 100HP version) and the resale stronger. It will be cheaper to own than any of the petrols, even the bog standard Active 1.1 petrol - look at the cost per mile stats in the magazines, even at list price - then factor in these amazing deals.
It is also very quick and pulls hard at tickover right up to 5000rpm - it is a brilliant engine, with a superb light gearbox, which means you can surprise many drivers. I have laughed myself daft watching the expressions of other drivers trying to leave me!! Overtaking is a doddle, so are steep hills, and the engine is strong enough to drive the car at tickover while changing gears.
If this car stays this good while we own it, and has no issues, it will truly be the best car we have ever owned (I've had 74 cars and 20 motorbikes) - and I am fussy! See my reports on 2006 Suzuki Swift DDiS, 2006 Suzuki Ignis 4Grip for instance.
For this money, it should not be this good, but it was made in Poland, which might explain it; the Polish are very proud and diligent workers - Fiat say the warranty claims are very low due on the Panda to the exceptional build quality.
I returned to Fiat after abandoning the brand some years ago from bad experiences. I came back as the brand has made marked improvements in dealers, style and quality, plus the new 500 will make it a desirable brand again. So far I am highly impressed with the car and the dealers, but I am certain something will go wrong...!! The missing grommet is on order and the rattle will be looked at soon.
On the strength of how damned good this Panda is, I have ordered a Fiat Doblo 1.9 Multijet 120 Dynamic for me - risky, but we'll see how it pans out..!!