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Old 20-04-2007   #1
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Smile Panda Multijet - 2 month report

After 2 months and 1500 miles, I thought I'd share my experiences of the Panda with the forum...

Model: Fiat Panda 1.3 Multijet Dynamic, Cumbia Beige
Price paid: £6995 - brand new from Bishops, Guildford
Extras: Split/fold rear seat

Issues:
Windscreen wiper - When I collected the car it only had one wiper: fortunately I noticed this! Just human error, there was a problem with the one fitted at the factory which was picked up by the dealer check (which suggests the check was reasonably thorough) and a replacement was ordered. Unfortunately they didn't tell the salesman, so it only had one when I went to collect it... Simple swap from another one on the forecourt and all was fine.

Smoke from interior vents - For the first 3 days the heater put smoke into the cabin. Seems this was something burning off from somewhere, the dealer suggested that the factory were rather liberal with the anticorrosive wax and "some had probably got where it shouldn't have". Stopped after 3 days and has not reoccurred.

Apart from that, no problems. Always starts, feels solid with no squeaks or rattles, and a pleasure to own.

Likes:
In my humble opinion, some cars (like the Aygo) have been designed on the basis of form, i.e. to look nice; others (like the Panda) have been engineered to function with cosmetics as a secondary consideration.

Whilst the looks of the Panda have grown on me, it isn't a thing of beauty (at least not to me) - it's cute but that's as far as I'd go. However, you spend more time in the car driving it than sitting looking at it so function should (if you can distance yourself from the marketing hype) be your primary concern.

Other drivers are far nicer to me in this car than my old car - getting let out at junctions is never a problem now. On dual carriageways / motorways people see the small car and immediately pull out and try to overtake which is rather annoying though. But sometimes seeing the confused look on their face as you pull away from them is rather gratifying...

The gearbox is great, the stubby high-level gear stick it positive and precise. The design of the controls around the gearstick is superb with everything in reach.

The multijet is a great little engine. In a car this size you normally have no right to overtake in the outside lane of the M4 but the little thing still has some pull at 70 mph. From a standing start, 1st gear seems a little short but it pulls nicely and can embarrass some bigger cars - easily beating a Saab 9-3 1.9 turbodiesel on the way back from Bracknell. Feeling rather overconfident I then pulled up next to a Mercedes E320 CDI which left me for dust. But what can you expect? This car provides wonders not miracles...

The MP3 CD player works a treat and the sound is surprisingly good for a stereo in such a small car.

The split-fold rear seat is another small attention to detail. The ISOFIX mountings are ideal for the kids and the seat has three flaps beneath the bolster: the centre flap allows the seat to slide forwards and backwards, and the flaps either side fold that side of the seat down. Brilliantly simple, but another sign than someone actually thought about it when they designed it.

It's far bigger than it looks, and once you've got used to that it's still bigger than you think. I laughed when the wife suggested a day out for the family in it. Yet, it happily took the two of us plus a 3 year old, a 9 month old, all our stuff and a big 3-wheel buggy. I never thought it would all fit and yet, it did comfortably.

Dislikes:
Pedal position: The pedals seem a bit high. This is not a problem on short journeys though after 3 or 4 hours I get a bit of calf-ache.

Other cars considered:
Toyota Aygo - a bit like driving a washing machine: lots of whirring noises but little forward progress. It's an interesting concept to put the glove box at the back of the car rather than the front - you certainly couldn't realistically call it a boot! It is certainly a cute-looking car but nowhere near the Panda in terms of performance or practicality.

All in all, I'm very pleased. Pound-for-pound is there a better car out there? I seriously doubt it, unless you buy the 1.1 Active because you don't need the extra power. In many ways the Panda seems like the natural descendant of my first car, an original Mini Clubman 1300cc, only better in every way...
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Last edited by professor_yaffle; 20-04-2007 at 14:03.
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Old 20-04-2007   #2
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Re: Panda Multijet - 2 month report

Nicely written. I own one, but still love reading these reviews
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Old 20-04-2007   #3
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Re: Panda Multijet - 2 month report

excellent review,i have had my 1.2 panda dynamic now for about 2 months and 3000 miles and am very pleased with it.as you say you don't by a panda to pose in unless youve got the more sportier versions,also with regards to the foot pedal positions i find the pedals ok but the foot rest is crap so i feel more comfortable with my feet resting on the floor,also the paint seems to chip easily ,as i have said before on this forum the prices vary wildly for new pandas,i paid 5k for my panda with 5 miles on the clock some dealers want 6 - 7k for the same car which i would not pay unless it was a diesel as i think their are better alternatives out their at around that price.i know what you mean about the toyota ayego the doors are made from biscuit tin lids and it seems they really built it to a budget but the 3 cylinder,1l engine they use is based on the daihatsu design which toyota bought 51% of in 1999 this engine is superb i might sound a little rorty ,it produces 68bhp and returns superb fuel consumption for a petrol engine and is bullet proof.my bother has just bought a new daihatsu sirion 1l, comes with a/c,4x elec windows,parking sensors,alloys etc etc,it cost 7k also gets 3 years aa cover and 3 years unlimited mileage warranty.i love my panda and think its a great little car but the japanese built daihatsu is better built and i dont like to say it but is a better car overall it was voted what car under 7.5k car of the year and it quilifies for the 35 pound ved:,i am not trying to slag off the panda as i have said earlier i love mine and think it is a great little car but there are alternatives as good and better.
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Old 22-04-2007   #4
It's a bit noisy
 
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Re: Panda Multijet - 2 month report

The Mulltijet Panda qualifies for the new 35 VED, with 114 g/km. My mum gets hers tomorrow and one of us will be sure to let you know how it is after a few K on the clock.
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Old 23-04-2007   #5
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Re: Panda Multijet - 2 month report

Yep, my wife has the Panda Sporting Multijet, and she is of the opinion that it is the best little car she has ever had. Now as for me, i'm like Trent, I feel that there are other cars out there just as good, if not better, but the car is hers so I keep my big trap shut.

Dont get me wrong, i'm not knocking the car, but I have often felt Fiat could have done a little more to make it a better car (that is in my mind ).
I would have made the Panda slightly longer and wider to give better boot space and cabin comfort, and then dropped production of the Grande Punto as the build quality of the Panda is far superior to the Punto. There may be a lot of folks up in arms at this suggestion, but when you think about it, at the end of this year Fiat will have the 500. Panda, and Punto all trying to gain the attention of buyers ( maybe it would have been better just to have two modell in the small car group ).

One other thing before I go, Is it true that the new 500 and the new Ford Ka are going to be the same car just with differant badges?.

Tara Ian.
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Old 23-04-2007   #6
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Re: Panda Multijet - 2 month report

Quote Originally Posted by Highlander View Post
One other thing before I go, Is it true that the new 500 and the new Ford Ka are going to be the same car just with differant badges?.
Not sure Ian, but having owned a '04 Nissan Micra SX in the past I would say that the 500 bears an uncanny resemblance to it.
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Old 24-04-2007   #7
It's a bit noisy
 
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Re: Panda Multijet - 2 month report

The 500 and Ka will share the Panda platform. I have read conflicting information as to whether it is shortened or not, but I think it could well be the same platform through and through.
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