FIAT PANDA EASY
VALUE The four-seat wagonette Easy sits in the middle of the fourmodel Panda range. There are lots of storage bins, excellent vision, good audio and media connectivity. Annual service interval, long 150,000km warranty with roadside assistance, and a 56 per cent resale. No capped-price servicing. DESIGN Europeans love Fiat’s minimalist Italian-centric ideals. It’s comfortable and practical but to some it’s just a small box. It is just 3.65m long yet can hold 225L-870L of luggage, has durable cabin fabrics and simple controls, even to the point of manual winders for the rear windows. Easy’s steel wheels are part of the appeal (pictured, Lounge spec). TECHNOLOGY Eyes popped when Fiat announced its 875cc two-cylinder TwinAir engine (63kW/145Nm), now in Panda, 500 and even the Alfa Mito. The turbocharged and intercooled twin is Panda’s most powerful engine option. Fuel economy is 4.2L/100km but needs 95 RON and has a small 37L tank. Panda uses the 500 platform, fivespeed manual box, disc/drum brakes and electricassist steering. SAFETY The five-star crash rating comes as a surprise in a car so small. But the Panda extends that with electronic stability and traction control, daytime running lights, rear park sensors, hill holder and space-saver spare (the Fiesta has no spare). DRIVING Two cylinders make an odd, uneven rumbling sound yet there’s nothing slow about delivery. It pulls hard — peak torque is from 1900rpm. Ride comfort is pretty good and cruising quietness is excellent, though handling isn’t overly inspiring because its 985kg makes it move around a bit during cornering. Super-easy to park and a doddle to drive.
Mini-engined city cars take divergentg routes on the commuting road. NEIL DOWLING compares