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Old 12-07-2017   #16
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Re: The pros & cons of Panda ownership?

Quote Originally Posted by ian2144 View Post
As I'm down sizing from a Shogun, fuel consumption is bound to be way better ....
Those of us who are dedicated to ecodriving average 55mpg+ from the 1.2 petrol. On longer runs, seeing 75mpg on the trip is not unusual, but you'll have to keep below 55mph to see this .

It's only real weakness is that, like most petrol engines, it uses quite a lot more fuel when cold, so short journeys kill consumption.
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Last edited by jrkitching; 12-07-2017 at 17:54.
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Old 12-07-2017   #17
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Re: The pros & cons of Panda ownership?

To my knowledge the Panda Easy was never made without air con. And climate control is optional. The Pop can be ordered with air con as an option. But not remote locking. Would end up same OTR price as an Easy anyway. I wouldn't have a 2017 model year Easy as appears to have CD player with 2 fewer speakers now (4 instead of 6). Plus alloys as an option now 15' rather than 14'. Doubt the poster of this thread is too bothered about any of this though.
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Old 12-07-2017   #18
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Re: The pros & cons of Panda ownership?

Regarding air con, I think it has changed depending on the year in the UK. I have recently bought a 2012/13 release Panda Easy Twinair Turbo. In 2012/13 the Pop didn't have air con at all, that was part of the Easy package. Every Easy (UK anyway) had air con at the start of the mk. 3 release, so I doubt it ever got dropped. I don't think it was even an option for the Pop at that time. Being as how you're looking second hand, be aware that at least the older Pop models will not have air con. I never saw one that did when I was hunting.

If you want climate control, at least for a Panda of the 2012/13 vintage, you'll need a Panda Lounge I think though it might have been an option for the Easy but I never saw one that had it when I searched. That stuff is complicated and can go wrong at which point it costs a bundle to fix though, so perhaps not a reason to get the Lounge version.

FYI my Panda has really great air con that certainly out-does a slightly newer Fiesta.

Note that the 2012/13 versions of these cars never had ESP traction control stuff or whatever it is, just swanky intelligent breaking and ABS. It was an option, but I never saw one that had it. From the 2014 release onwards it came as standard, but I believe you can't turn it off so you choose when you buy.

Watch out for the Euro 6 standard compliant engines, they are said to be a bit weaker. The 2012/13 versions have a full cream Euro 5 engine, later models will be Euro 6. Not sure when the switch happened? Perhaps 2014 is Euro 5 still? Best to check. [UPDATE: On reading other posts, it seems only 2012/13 models have Euro 5.]

OK, so it's harder to find, but wait and give a Twinair Turbo version a test drive. You'll really be pleased you did.
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Last edited by AndyCalling; 12-07-2017 at 22:35.
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Old 12-07-2017   #19
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Re: The pros & cons of Panda ownership?

Other than a couple of issues that my bought used 2014 1.2 has had I can assure you I have little to moan about.
The 1.2 is one of Fiats finest, an old design now but these Fire engines are strong, free revving, quiet and economical. Don't expect Porsche performance or masses of torque, mine is a Euro 6 version but kept in tip top condition, with regular services, decent plugs and an oil catch tank then she will pull fine use the gears, keep the revs up and you'll find the car great.
Drive below 65 mph and be rewarded by excellent economy, just remember if you drive like your on the Mobil economy run to give it a thrashing every now and again, just don't get Basil Fawlty to do it.
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Old 13-07-2017   #20
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Re: The pros & cons of Panda ownership?

Quote Originally Posted by murphyv310 View Post
Other than a couple of issues that my bought used 2014 1.2 has had I can assure you I have little to moan about.
The 1.2 is one of Fiats finest, an old design now but these Fire engines are strong, free revving, quiet and economical. Don't expect Porsche performance or masses of torque, mine is a Euro 6 version but kept in tip top condition, with regular services, decent plugs and an oil catch tank then she will pull fine use the gears, keep the revs up and you'll find the car great.
Drive below 65 mph and be rewarded by excellent economy, just remember if you drive like your on the Mobil economy run to give it a thrashing every now and again, just don't get Basil Fawlty to do it.
It is still worth trying a Twinair Turbo before committing though. A person will know immediately which they want. I tried both and in the Twinair Turbo I could not stop smiling. It brings a bag-load of fun to driving.

Some spares may cost a little extra on the Twinair, but I found the UK second hand cost of the car to be about the same as the 1.2 (unlike when new). Odd that, since trim level (Pop/Easy/Lounge) certainly impacts price. It's just they're harder to find. I assume because once bought, no-one can part with them.
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Old 13-07-2017   #21
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Re: The pros & cons of Panda ownership?

I have the euro 6 version bought nov 2015 with 6000 miles its a 2014 model. Originally it had a slight slump in power on accelration but a trip to the dealers and hey presto goes like stink now much better than my 55 or 11 plate will hit 50 in second 80 in third if pushed. Averages 55mpg when most journeys 10 mile or less will do high 60s low seventies on a run. Comfy and very nice to drive air con still blows lovely an cold, servicing cheap at independents, buy base models nowt much to go wrong. awesome in snow without any different tyres leaving most others stranded including 4x4s with idiot drivers, wouldnt swop it for anything. Now on 20000 miles with no issues except front tyres getting low.
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Old 13-07-2017   #22
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Re: The pros & cons of Panda ownership?

Quote Originally Posted by murphyv310 View Post
The 1.2 is one of Fiats finest, an old design now but these Fire engines are strong, free revving, quiet and economical. Don't expect Porsche performance or masses of torque,
That's my opinion too.
I've lost count of all the different FIRE's I've had over the years and each has been a gem, a perfect fit for a small Fiat like the Panda.

A lot of manufacturers these days fit 3 cylinder engines to their small cars, I seem to have hired most over the last couple of years and they always leave me a bit disappointed.

Fire them up and they're all strummy, a bit gruff and sound like they're quite eager, pull away and the reality is they soon get on your nerves.
I can't think of one (without a turbo) that didn't feel flat as a pancake!
And these days they seem to be worse as they all seem to come with very tall gearing that the engine just can turn over properly. (I'm thinking about the new i10)

My TA 4x4 is a different kettle of fish, it really is a marmite engine.
There are times I love it, it's so odd ball, the sound and the torque really can put a big grin on your face, yet it can pull it's self around in tall gears on the slightest wiff of petrol.

But there are other times when it can get a bit tiring.
Though some of that's probably down to the short first gear of the 4x4, it can be almost painful around town in heavy traffic, but there are times when I wish is wasn't making such a harsh din, particulary after an hour or two on the motorway.

I guess I might feel like this about the TA and the other 3 pot engines because I know I could be in our 1.2 Pop on the same trip, so it's a bit more noticeable how good the 1.2 actually is, sure it's not going to be rewarding as a sports car engine might be, but it's not a sports car.

These days Fiat's 1.2 actually stands out for being so normal!
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Last edited by Goudrons; 13-07-2017 at 07:26.
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Old 13-07-2017   #23
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Re: The pros & cons of Panda ownership?

Quote Originally Posted by Goudrons View Post
A lot of manufacturers these days fit 3 cylinder engines to their small cars, I seem to have hired most over the last couple of years and they always leave me a bit disappointed.


I'm not a fan of triples.

IMO the 1.2 FIRE was at its best in Euro4 form, before the introduction of VVT. This was done for emissions purposes; the seemingly extra power of the 69HP engines an illusion in everyday driving as it only comes in over 4000rpm. The earlier engines have more bottom end torque, which helps driveability. They run quieter; my 500 (which has the later Euro5 engine) sounds like a bag of bolts in comparison. Safer, too, if you're unfortunate enough to have the cambelt break.
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Last edited by jrkitching; 13-07-2017 at 08:26.
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Old 13-07-2017   #24
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Re: The pros & cons of Panda ownership?

What is the timing belts life span? I will probably have a full service and belt change for peace of mind.
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Old 13-07-2017   #25
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Re: The pros & cons of Panda ownership?

60,000 or 6 years from memory. The Fire engine is easy to do, always fit a new tensioner and water pump. I will do mine next year when the car will be four years old. I'd recommend either sourcing from Fiat or use a Gates kit, been in the Gates factory in Dumfries many times and they are the OE for many manufacturers, funny to see Ford, Land Rover and many other coming off the production line, I would be pretty sure Fiat source from Gates in Poland too.
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Old 13-07-2017   #26
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Re: The pros & cons of Panda ownership?

Quote Originally Posted by murphyv310 View Post
The Fire engine is easy to do, always fit a new tensioner and water pump.
That.

The only real awkwardness is you need to support the engine somehow; it's necessary to remove the top engine mounting to get the belt on or off.

I've seen various different answers to the question of how often; Fiat themselves change the recommendation from time to time.

4/48k if you want to play safe; if you leave it until 6/60k you'l likely still be OK, but bear in mind it'll wreck your engine if it does let go. At least one chap here who used the car for trackdays changed it every 12k.

The economics are different if you do it yourself, as the parts cost a lot less than the labour.

Interestingly cambelt failure is almost never reported, and I'm sure there are folks who've never changed the belt in 10yrs (though I wouldn't recommend doing that). Camchain failure on the diesels, however is another story; IMO these are more of a liability than the petrol versions.

At the end of the day, you've gotta ask yourself one question: "do I feel lucky?".


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Old 13-07-2017   #27
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The pros & cons of Panda ownership?

Quote Originally Posted by murphyv310 View Post
Other than a couple of issues that my bought used 2014 1.2 has had I can assure you I have little to moan about.
The 1.2 is one of Fiats finest, an old design now but these Fire engines are strong, free revving, quiet and economical. Don't expect Porsche performance or masses of torque, mine is a Euro 6 version but kept in tip top condition, with regular services, decent plugs and an oil catch tank then she will pull fine use the gears, keep the revs up and you'll find the car great.
Drive below 65 mph and be rewarded by excellent economy, just remember if you drive like your on the Mobil economy run to give it a thrashing every now and again, just don't get Basil Fawlty to do it.


I concur. I run a 2015 Euro 6 Panda 1.2, I also have regular access to a Twinair 2014 Panda which I drive normally a few times a month.

The twin air is a nice engine but it's just not for me. The off gearing and constant thrum of the engine doesn't personally work for me. While is is more powerful than my fire engine, I find it somewhat less flexible especially in 4x4 guise where setting off and the redline are about 0.8 second apart and while it's quoted MPG is awesome, getting it requires driving like a my nan.....in normal driving the figures are more than a little fanciful especially if you like a decent B Road jaunt.

In comparison the 1.2 is free revving, smooth and consistent in its power delivery and getting close to the quoted MPG is more achievable. (Early Euro 6 cars had a crappy fuelling/Timing map from the factory which hobbled their driving performance, Fiat released a new map a while later that was uploaded to the car when serviced at a main dealer as a software update map. Once this was done the car is a totally different beast.)
They are also very hardy units, precious little goes wrong and if it does it's normally fairly easy to fix, while the Twinair has been more reliable then most expected, it's more fragile by design and as some on here can confirm, when it does fail or eat its DMF its repair costs can seriously sting.

For me the Pros of the fire engine are the best balance for me, I get very good economy, I've driven my Panda over the continent and would sit at 80-90mph all day where the law allows and it's quiet enough that it doesn't grate on me, whereas when I did the same in the Twinair I wanted a set of ear defenders and a new left leg as it had been vibrated to discomfort after 1000k in a day.

The pro's of the Twinair are that it is more powerful, it's acceleration is better and in theory it's more flexible. This is balanced out by being louder, more vibrations, a reputation for lack of decent fuel consumption and very careful maintenance needed to avoid future headaches.

As Murphyv said, proper maintenance is key. The 1.2 is more forgiving to abuse without biting you for lack of a better term, but needs a good thrashing once in a while to keep it loose and limber. The Twinair is a fairly stressed engine so needs careful oversight and a proactive mindset.

As for the Timing belt, there appears to be a point of confusion. I've seen some with 60k-6 year intervals which was the case with my 2012 Panda 1.2 but my 2015 has in the service book 8 years. I'm not sure if this is a error or a change in spec, I'd personally change between 48-60k depending on how intensively used it has been.

Try both and see how you feel about them, only you can feel what suits your driving style
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Last edited by Alexiloki; 13-07-2017 at 19:26.
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Old 13-07-2017   #28
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Re: The pros & cons of Panda ownership?

Air con is not standard fit on all models. ACC is available on the Eleganza and the 100HP and was an option. On Panda 3 the Pop does not have air con as standard.

Pros are its a great car and seems reliable. The 1.4 engine is a gem. Ghe twin air is a fine engine but not easy to use economically due to some weird throttle maps. It does perform well though.

Seat are imperfect with poor lumbar support 100HP excepted.

The only disadvantage are the ***** in Audi's BMW's etc that seem to like the smell of a Pandas exhaust and the sight of its muddy bottom.

Albeit a gentleman in a 2017 reg 320 did a courteous act that surprised me so much I nearly didnt' know how to react! There are some normal drivers of them. As my wife said though, he obviously is very new to BMW and hasn't learned how to be rude and obnoxious yet.......... Anyway thankyou Mr polite BMW man a ray of sunshine!
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Old 14-07-2017   #29
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Re: The pros & cons of Panda ownership?

Quote Originally Posted by petercresswell View Post
Seat are imperfect with poor lumbar support.
No change there from the previous model then.

I rate car seats by time (as in how long you can drive one before the body starts to complain). IMO the Panda/500 have 2hr seats. Absolutely fine for a city car, and tolerable on long journeys.



The best I ever had was a BMW320i from about 1986; at first it felt like you were sitting on a plank, but after a 14hr drive with a couple of short stops, my back didn't feel a thing. Covered the ground pretty effortlessly, too; if I ever were to run a neo-classic, it's one I'd consider - the 6cyl engine ran like a sewing machine.

Traded it for a R25; at first it felt like you were sitting in an armchair, but after a 14hr drive, all you wanted to do was get out and sit on a nice comfortable plank.
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Old 14-07-2017   #30
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Re: The pros & cons of Panda ownership?

Landrover freelander2 - as a passenger, 3hr trip to pick up my multijet and my ass and back where in agony.

After 20mins walking round the yard i felt better again, drove the stilo home and didnt feel a thing... very comfy and great on long drives... got a trip to redditch coming up and looking forward to the comfy drive
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