Fiat Panda Full Review

The Fiat Panda is a 4X4 supermini. It boasts affordability; low running costs, exceptional durability, and has all the capabilities of a four-wheel drive. All this and the car has a cute and rugged outside style.

Fiat improved on previous models and designed the Fiat Panda to be more spacious and practical, yet refined; it handles well, and provides additional traction.

The Panda will seat four people comfortably for a supermini, and comes with a decent level of standard equipment. The car was not designed for power, and it is not fast. It is practical for city driving, but doesn’t fare as well on motorways. The car’s 1.2-litre petrol engine only provides modest output, and can sometimes be disappointing to say the least.

The car handles well off-road, and its 4X4 capabilities are very impressive. It handles rough terrain surprisingly well, and for a car with only 60bhp it can hold its own in mud, water, and adverse weather conditions.

The car can automatically sense a delay in its front-wheel drive capabilities and automatically engages its rear-wheel drive system without interrupting the driving experience. The Panda brags better fuel economy when the rear-wheel drive is not engaged.  


The Panda 4X4 provides extremely good value for money with its inexpensive running costs and insurance rate. Add in the low purchase price, and great fuel economy, and the fact that it is a supermini and a micro off-roader and it’s easy to see the bargain in this vehicle.

The Panda is spacious for a supermini, and the glove box is a good size as well. The standard package includes a one piece backseat, but the split-fold seat is available on the options list. The split seats can be folded forward to increase boo space.

The controls are large and functional. The car’s simple design places all the gadgets in logical easy to find places. The stereo is mounted up high and makes it easier to use, and the display is clear and easy to read. The controls include a ‘city’ button to switch back to power steering.

The little Fiat is reasonably comfortable, and takes bumps and city driving in stride. It does have a tendency to lean when being driven hard off-road. Engine noise is minimal, but road and tyre noise increase with speed.


The cabin’s front seats provide adequate accessibility. The seats sit up high enough that passengers can slide into the seats without dipping down into the cabin. Rear loading passengers will find accessibility a little more challenging but not too bad. Rear legroom is adequate but may become uncomfortable for some adults for prolonged periods. Access to the small boot is good.

The Panda is a very easy car to park. It provides great visibility and is small enough to maneuver into most parking spaces. The power steering makes it even easier to park, and if additional assistance is required parking sensors are available on the options list.

Life Style


The Panda is a fun car to drive around town in. Its 4X4 abilities make it even more appealing. The little 4X4 performs very well off the road. It can tackle muddy, wet, or otherwise difficult terrain without any problem. It is not a fast car, but the little engine is more than capable of powering the supermini both on road and off.

The Panda would not make a decent family car at all. It is too small and impractical. The Panda would make more sense as a second car or a commuter vehicle, but could not be realistically used as a sole family vehicle in any sense of the word.

The Panda would make a really good first car. The added traction during adverse weather conditions is a definite bonus for new inexperienced drivers. The cars exterior will be appealing to younger drivers and the cars inexpensive running costs and maintenance will be an extra bonus.

Fiat has a good image in the supermini sector, however, competitors have managed to outsell and outmaneuver the company over and over again in the past few years. The Panda will definitely appeal to buyers and will help Fiat get back into the sector where they had previously reined king.

Security and Safety

The Panda comes standard with an engine immobilizer and remote central locking. It is not likely that these features will be necessary, but they are included in the Panda’s security package.

For a budget car the Panda comes with a good safety kit. It has an excellent braking system and comes standard with twin front airbags. Other safety features are optional, such as; twin side and curtain airbags, and a choice of tyres designed to meet the buyer’s individual driving needs.

Finishing Touches

The budget Panda comes with a budget stereo system including a cassette player. Don’t despair though upgrades are available with a CD player. The sound quality of the system is good and is placed in an excellent location for the driver’s convenience.

Bright colors are the most appealing on the Panda’s exterior and accentuate its fun loving style. The cabin is comprised of mostly lighter greys.


The Panda is never going to hold its own with full-size 4X4’s but for the driver who is seeking a safer supermini that can navigate easily through adverse weather conditions; the Panda is just the car. The little mini is not a super powerful car, but it delivers enough power to provide a comfortable ride around town and decent mini off-roading capabilities.