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Old 11-07-2017   #1
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The pros & cons of Panda ownership?

Hi guys,

I'm almost at the buying stage. Is there anything I should know or look out for when looking at a Panda apart from the obvious second hand checks.

Is it possible to remove the rear seat altogether ? as I will use it as a van most of the time but always handy to have the back seat available. Do all modern Pandas have A/C or would it be a specific model? The other thing I would like to do is fit a Towbar.
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Old 11-07-2017   #2
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Re: The pros & cons of Panda ownership?

A simple AC is so far i know standard on every Panda.
I would choose the ACC though, much better to have.
A Lounge version would always be my choice.

PROS, it is a lot of fun.

CONS, ?? i don't know.
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Old 11-07-2017   #3
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Re: The pros & cons of Panda ownership?

Ian - you don't say what model you're interested in? I have a TwinAir 4x4, which has a/c (but not climate control) as standard, as well as a Thule (now Brink, I believe) removable towbar.
As a small car to tow a lightweight camping trailer (don't quote me, but I believe the figures are 400kg/750kg unbraked/braked, respectively, with a ~50kg noseweight limit), the Panda acquits itself well. If you're towing in hilly areas, the lower first gear and additional pulling power of the T/A 4x4, or the torque of the diesel variants may help?
We love the versatility of our Panda, something perhaps enhanced by the version we have, but I'm sure present in all Pandas.
Downsides? I don't like how rich the TwinAir engine runs on cold-start - you can smell it! It has caused fouled plugs on one occasion, but a relatively easy fix.
There is the odd little rattle, though with 2x car-seats and a variety of cr*p in the door bins and glove box, it's sometimes hard to determine if this is the car or the junk we haul about in it!
The only other small, city car that appeals at the moment is the new Twingo. Quite like the idea of that car, though in the Panda the boot is always 'just big enough'. I suspect in the Twingo, if you have a family etc, you may find boot space occasionally lacking.
Enjoy your purchase!
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Old 11-07-2017   #4
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Re: The pros & cons of Panda ownership?

Ah, and "not sure" on rear seat removal - I'm sure it's possible, but never looked at the process!
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Old 11-07-2017   #5
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Re: The pros & cons of Panda ownership?

Probably looking at 2WD - 2012-2014 with low mileage. From what I'm hearing, winter tyres on standard Panda can be almost as good as the 4x4.
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Old 11-07-2017   #6
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Re: The pros & cons of Panda ownership?

removing the rear seats can be done by unbolting the fixings, so not something to try too often, but to make a van, yes, doable. (In Europe they sell a van version - http://www.vansa2z.com/Fiat-Panda-Van-launched-in-Italy).

You can see the seat fixing bolts here: https://www.fiatdalys.lt/diagrams/B5...7E29A169CC.png Part 3 is bolted to the side of the wheel arches, and the bolts marked 6 hold the base in,

The towing limit for the diesel is a little more (900kg on my 4x4), and there are 'fixed' towbars for the Panda from less than 100 (the removable ones cost rather more).

The 'basic' air con is fine. Only thing: if you take the seats out and use it as a van, is that seen as a 'modification' by an insurance company?

[later: spotted that the van interior floor panels - shown in the link above - are shown in the spare parts lists: https://www.fiatdalys.lt/diagrams/3A...64063A6680.png ]
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Last edited by Herts Hillhopper; 11-07-2017 at 20:40.
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Old 11-07-2017   #7
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Re: The pros & cons of Panda ownership?

Thanks for the info. I will look a bit further into rear seat removal, it's possible I could work with them in situ. I just thought taking them out would have given me a bit more space.
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Old 12-07-2017   #8
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Re: The pros & cons of Panda ownership?

Look ay Hedley's Towing for great prices on quality bars. Fitting is easy .
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Old 12-07-2017   #9
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Re: The pros & cons of Panda ownership?

Not every model has air con.
It's standard on the 4x4's, Trekkings and Lounge's and was a option on Easy's, though they did eventually sell an Easy Air model, (Air for air con.)

Digital Climate Control I think is standard on Cross's and a cost option on 4x4's, Trekkings and Lounge's.

I don't think either was offered on the basic Pop model in the UK, though the windows do open!

You can spot models with it by looking at the fan speed control, if it has air, the knob will have a orange light on it and it operates by pushing the knob inwards when the fan in turned on to any speed.

Towbars are readily available and can be quite cheap depending on which you want.
Fitting is quite easy, it replaces the "crash bar" behind the rear bumper cover and just bolts on using the same mounts as that.
Some require a bumper cut underneath, but it's not visible.

A simple 7 way bypass relay is all that's needed for a single 7 pin socket, though the relay's live needs routing from the front of the car, there's no live pickup in the rear.
So it's a matter of routing a suitable cable through the car, under the door sill covers etc, into the boot.
There's plenty of space for the wiring behind the carpet, behind one of the rear light clusters.

There are also dedicated wiring kits that take some of the wiring hassle out of fitting, though they do cost a bit.
https://www.pfjones.co.uk/tow-bars/f...n-towbars.html


There was a change in production for cars in early 2014 (around March, so 14 plates and onwards) to accomodate the latest Euro regs for the 1.2 petrol engine., which is by far and away the best engine for a Panda, it's robust, yet cheap and easy to service, it's also very reliable, smooth and offers all the power a Panda needs.
(the change didn't alter the road tax band, so both are still 30)

The change altered some driving charateristics and quite a lot of owners didn't like it, particularly repeat owners who knew how the older ones drove.

The main complaint is the fact the ECU takes over and increases the rpms a lot more when lifting the clutch in first gear, like a lot of modern cars do.

Owners can bog the engine down when it relinquishes control by inputting too much throttle themselves while it's in control of the revs, which can cause a bit of a flat spot, they can also feel a bit strangled and tight when you boot it, pre 2014 cars seem to rev much freer in my opinion.

Having or have had both a post and pre car, I can say I prefer the pre 2014 cars, though in slow shuffling traffic, the post cars can be a little easier to live with as they'll creep really easily on the clutch without any throttle input at all.

I would advise test driving both, see which you prefer.

I regards to the rear seats, most models came as four seaters, so only two rear seats/belts.
A three seat rear bench, with an extra roof mounted belt was an option.
Oddly enough there seems to be a glut of Pop's on the market with the three bench option for some reason.
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Last edited by Goudrons; 12-07-2017 at 07:26.
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Old 12-07-2017   #10
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Re: The pros & cons of Panda ownership?

If fuel consumption is a major issue and performance is not, then the 1.2 is fine, otherwise I'm not sure I agree about the 1.2 engine - the difference between my 4x4 TA and Mrs b_u's 1.2 up long hills with a significant load is very noticeable. TA has some acceleration in reserve at 85 mph but the 1.2 hasn't.
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Old 12-07-2017   #11
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Re: The pros & cons of Panda ownership?

Quote Originally Posted by babbo_umbro View Post
If fuel consumption is a major issue and performance is not, then the 1.2 is fine, otherwise I'm not sure I agree about the 1.2 engine - the difference between my 4x4 TA and Mrs b_u's 1.2 up long hills with a significant load is very noticeable. TA has some acceleration in reserve at 85 mph but the 1.2 hasn't.

I'm hoping this will be noticeable when we get our Twinair Lounge next week. I took the 100hp out of the garage for a run today and the torque was delicious. Be sad to see that go really.
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Old 12-07-2017   #12
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Re: The pros & cons of Panda ownership?

Quote Originally Posted by babbo_umbro View Post
If fuel consumption is a major issue... ...TA has some acceleration in reserve at 85 mph but the 1.2 hasn't.
If fuel consumption is a major issue you won't be going anywhere near 85mph .

The 1.2 has less performance but will also cost you less to run. As well as the fuel savings, some of the wear & tear parts are significiantly cheaper.

Can't speak for the current model, but on the previous Panda, removing the rear seats was a simple 5minute job. You're left with what is basically a small van - I've carried a washing machine in it without difficulty, other than lifting in & out. Not sure what the insurance implications would be for running like this permanently (the seats out, not the washing machine in!).
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Last edited by jrkitching; 12-07-2017 at 13:59.
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Old 12-07-2017   #13
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Re: The pros & cons of Panda ownership?

Quote Originally Posted by AB100 View Post
I'm hoping this will be noticeable when we get our Twinair Lounge next week. I took the 100hp out of the garage for a run today and the torque was delicious. Be sad to see that go really.
Yes - I still miss my 100HP.
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Old 12-07-2017   #14
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Re: The pros & cons of Panda ownership?

Quote Originally Posted by jrkitching View Post
If fuel consumption is a major issue you won't be going anywhere near 85mph .

The 1.2 has less performance but will also cost you less to run. As well as the fuel savings, some of the wear & tear parts are significiantly cheaper.

Can't speak for the current model, but on the previous Panda, removing the rear seats was a simple 5minute job. You're left with what is basically a small van - I've carried a washing machine in it without difficulty, other than lifting in & out. Not sure what the insurance implications would be for running like this permanently (the seats out, not the washing machine in!).
The TA's consumption is very temperature-dependent.

(Mrs b_u's MJ Mk3 did about 60, her current 1.2 Mk3 gives about 50, and my lamented 100HP gave 40). I get around 38mpg around Devon but on the 4x4's latest trip to and from Umbria (its eighth) - the temperature was in the 35-38 (95-100 F) range for almost three months and the average over 5500 miles was 42 - including the to and from journeys, 1300 miles each way mostly at 80-85mph and carrying a lot of wine and olive oil on the way back. The 4x4 still impresses with the way it grunts up long hills - the steady climb to the San Gottardo tunnel from the Italian side goes on for miles - there's also a really stiff climb for a long way just south of Basle - and the TA hauls the coals up them in sixth unless an Audi driver gets in the way.
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Old 12-07-2017   #15
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Re: The pros & cons of Panda ownership?

As I'm down sizing from a Shogun, fuel consumption is bound to be way better ....
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