General Panda Multijet test drive impressions

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General Panda Multijet test drive impressions


Mr Pedantic
Mar 2, 2005
Today sammiboo and I took a Panda Sporting (Multijet engine) for a test drive.

Impressions are as follows:
From the outside:
The car looks alright, and a bit nicer than the standard Panda, due to the front and side skirts, and rear spoiler. Add on the alloy wheels and front foglights, and it doesn't look like a cheap car. The car we looked at was Rumba Red, and I loved the colour. The white stripes are a matter of opinion. At first I thought they were somewhat chavish, but they have grown on me with time.​
On the inside:
The first thing you notice on the inside, particularly compared to other Pandas is that the interior colours aren't bad at all. The upholstery of the Dynamic (the only other UK model available with a multijet engine) is a matter of taste, but I don't really like it. Once you're in the driver's seat, you have a decent view of the road - it's a higher sitting position than a Coupé! You can't see the bonnet unless you really poke your head up high, but it's a really short bonnet, so it shouldn't be a problem. The driver's seat is comfy, and not too soft. There's plenty of headroom (I'm 6'3"). The steering wheel feels sturdy, you don't really notice the leather, but you'd notice it feeling cheap if it was just plastic. The gearstick feels good, and is really close to hand. The stalks, knobs and buttons all feel OK, though they don't have the quality feel of an expensive car. From the passenger seat, there is loads of legroom with the seat back. In the back there isn't masses of room, but it depends on the type of rear-seat passengers you carry. With the driver's seat in my position (for 6'3" people), I can get in behind the driver's seat, but it's very tight! If you bring the driver's seat forward to sammi's position (for 5'7" people) I can get in, though I wouldn't want to cross continents like this. Reviews say that the view is restricted by the C pillar, but compared to the Coupé it was nothing. The boot isn't exactly big, but big enough for a few bags of shopping. The easy solution is to shop online and get it delivered!​
Start the engine up, and the first impression is that while it doesn't rattle like diesel engines of old, you can tell it's a diesel. However, when the engine warms up (which happens fairly quickly), it quietens down a lot. The clutch is very light and smooth compared to other cars I've driven. Pop it in to reverse - you need to lift up the collar for this, which might take some getting used to for some. The steering is fairly light, though not as light as sammi's Bravo. If you press the city button, it goes REALLY light, which might be useful round tight carparks etc. Once you start to get going, it accelerates reasonably. It's not fast by any stretch of the imagination, but it's smooth - there's no perceptible kick off the turbo, though you can hear it. Once you're up to 80 mph the acceleration starts to tail off. The engine on this one had only done 24 miles though, so it may loosen up a bit. The steering is good while on the move, and it seems to handle ok. It didn't get any flat-out throwing it through the bends, as it was a bit slippy on the roads. The brakes seem good and firm, though they didn't get used in anger. On our 1 hour test drive, we got just over 50 mpg according to the trip computer. This was driving mostly on A roads and urban areas. The fuel gauge moved from just over 1/4 to just under 1/4 during this time, and according to the computer there was more than 100 miles worth of fuel left in the tank.​
The final verdict:
The car is pretty good. It's a fairly cheap car, but it's not a bad car to drive. It feels pretty good quality, though not the solidity of a BMW or Mercedes, but then it's in a different price bracket altogether. For the price you get a fairly cheap car, with quite low running costs. Admittedly it will lose a fair chunk of it's value pretty soon (it IS a Fiat), but then it wasn't that much to start with.
I liked it so much, I bought the company!
Well, I didn't actually, as I don't have several billion pounds spare, so I just bought the car instead! (y)
Forgot to mention that the space to the left of the clutch to rest your foot is very small and awkward.

I should be picking mine up on Wednesday.

sammiboo said:
Did you manage to get a quote for me with the accident? Or am I going on the policy in feb when the claim is knocked off?
So I'm already spending about £8500 on a car, and you want me spend more still insuring you on it?
Well I'll have to think about spending the extra £12.60 it would cost. They don't add anything to the premium when you declare your Coupe loss, and the Bravo write-off (3 year ago, before people start panicking!). :chin:

As an added bonus, protecting my no-claims bonus will cost me an extra £5.25! :D

sammiboo said:
...I did go to the trouble adding you to my policy ;) :p
You only wanted an older boyfriend so you could get cheaper insurance! ;)
Maybe the semi-auto has a bigger footrest because my size 12 fits it nicely and stays on there all the time when I drive ( no clutch pedal, see ). The Marea one feels awkward and undersize in comparison.