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Old 1 Week Ago   #1
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Driving the Panda in the snow - slightly dissapointed.

2004 1.2, 2 wheel drive.

Well, I've finally had the chance to drive the Panda in icy and snowy conditions and given the amount of interest in another thread, I thought I'd write this mini review.

On the whole it's a good car in winter conditions, but I must admit to being somewhat dissapointed. In short, once again, the overall good design of the Panda chassis is spoiled by the electronics.

Traction is good, a small car with narrow tyres and good ground clearence is always going to perform well in the snow. Low power is an advantage, as you're less likely to break the wheels loose and you can use more of the throttle pedal's travel. All perfectly normal, a small, low powered car is one of the best vehicles to drive when conditions become bad.

However, this is where I ran into a problem...

The (fly by wire?) throttle has too much of an "on/off" effect at the bottom of it's range. Essentially, it feels as if, when lifting off the throttle, you jump directly from 5% throttle to 0%, injectors off, maximum engine braking. To put it quite simply, this is a right pain in the posterior. Twice when coming off the throttle to slow the car this abrupt braking effect caused the front wheels to lose traction sending the car into a slide. The soloution to this problem is to run one gear lower, keeping the engine higher in the rev range and avoiding the lowermost throttle positions. It works, but is more tiring for the driver.

Other than that, the brakes are good, I experienced no ABS issues.

The steering lacks feedback, making it harder to judge how the front wheels are gripping, but anyone who has read my previous posts will know that I'm not a fan of the ePAS on the Panda.

So all in all, the Panda is a good car in the snow, provided you keep one gear lower than expected, keep the revs up and avoid abruptly coming off the throttle.

I'm guessing nothing can be done about the throttle issue, as it's an ECU mapping thing (for economy), but it would be interesting to hear other's opinions.
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Old 1 Week Ago   #2
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Re: Driving the Panda in the snow - slightly dissapointed.

Quote Originally Posted by Steve145 View Post
I'm guessing nothing can be done about the throttle issue, as it's an ECU mapping thing (for economy), but it would be interesting to hear other's opinions.
Not something I've noticed personally but I'm not from the "tall-narrow" tyre school-of-thought, which probably better benefits deeper snow. Me, I like grip and plenty of it. Winter tyres are 195/50s for those icy descents.

The throttle on the Euro6 Panda is somewhat softer so may be worth you having a try, though personally I prefer the sharper response. We have both models.
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Old 1 Week Ago   #3
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Re: Driving the Panda in the snow - slightly dissapointed.

I've not driven the Euro 5/6 Pandas, but from what I've read on here, it sounds like the car takes even more throttle control away from the driver, which would make things worse.

Wide tyres are better in really deep soft snow, they let you float over it, narrow ones dig through the slush better.

Agree on the winter tyres though, essential.

Also a legal requirement if the signs are up.

Actually, in France, the requirement is for chains or socks, but most signs will read "pneu neige admis", "snow tyres allowed" underneath. Interestingly, the Renault Estafette, favoured vehicle of the Gendarmerie for many years, could not mount chains due to the suspension geometry, so they were exempt from the very rule they were enforcing!
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Last edited by Steve145; 1 Week Ago at 18:51.
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Old 6 Days Ago   #4
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Re: Driving the Panda in the snow - slightly dissapointed.

I have an 08 1.2 - last decent amount of snow we had (about 5or 6 years ago I think) it was pretty good - can't say I noticed any throttle issues. I think it might have been on ordinary tyres back then, but a lot better than a nissan note with wider low profiles tyres I had at the time.

I still have the 1.2 and it's now on winter tyres - however that and my newer 4x4 TA seem to have prevented snowfall for the last three years - a bit like carrying an umbrella stops it raining!
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Old 6 Days Ago   #5
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Re: Driving the Panda in the snow - slightly dissapointed.

I had a 55 plate 1.2 petrol when the last snow arrived 5 years ago.
I woke up to 6 inches of fresh snow at 5.30 i left for a 35 mile drive to dig fishing bait.
The drive was mostly on b and c roads with only the first 10 miles on a A road on the gritting schedule not that you would have noticed.
A 45 minute drive normally in the depths of rural norfolk took only 1 hour in the snow.
I saw 3 other vehicles on the drive there. The first a nissan x trail driven poorly and spun at the first junction we arrived at. Drove round as he extracted himself from the verge.
The second a toyota rav 4 lady driver this time 20 mph. Stayed behind at a safe distance til she lost it on a straight bit of road. Waited for her to get pointing the right way and she waved me by.
The third was an elderly land rover lwb 15 mph on the widest straightest bit of road for miles. Decided to pass this one due to his low speed.
All in all i found the panda perfomed extremelly well got me there safely. A few slides and slips but nothing uncontrolable. No problems with throttle, engine braking through the gears so brakes not really used.
Further snow through the day and was by 3pm setting off in the other direction for a 30 mile drive to go fishing. Main A road traffic in huge lines at between 5 to 10 mph ? struggling to cope. After 3 miles i turned back thinking it would take me all night to get there and went fishing on my home town beach.
I think we have so little snow now people dont understand how to drive in it. Having owned 2 early panda 4x4s in the 80-90s which took me on beaches throughout norfolk fishing and a keen desire to drive it in snow, which we had more of then, i developed a habit of going out in the snow late at night (rural norfolk) and hooning round having some fun in the 4x4. I still hanker to drive in snow and if we had 3 or 4 inches tonight id be out about 10pm in the 2014 panda to see how it goes and have some fun.
My missus thinks im mad but i just like driving in snow/sand. Cant drive on any of the beaches now as its banned or id have a 4x4 panda.
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Old 6 Days Ago   #6
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Re: Driving the Panda in the snow - slightly dissapointed.

Not sure what's going on with the engine baking. Both Pandas I have driven have been really smooth at the start of deceleration.


However I can just feel when the DFCO switches off and the injectors kick back in. A slight increase in forward momentum usually about twenty yards before a junction. Doesn't happen every time and not enough to cause any problems.
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Old 5 Days Ago   #7
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Re: Driving the Panda in the snow - slightly dissapointed.

Just my luck!

My daughter's got my Panda diesel, well kitted out with good winters, and brilliant in the snow - and I'm lumbered with a Berlingo diesel. Smooth comfortable car, but it's a bit like driving a tin jelly. It's going to be an absolute nightmare in the snow we're expecting from tomorrow.
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Old 5 Days Ago   #8
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Re: Driving the Panda in the snow - slightly dissapointed.

This one seems to be totally out of control!
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Last edited by Parabolica; 5 Days Ago at 18:52.
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