Fiat Panda 100HP

Modern Aygo X or classic Panda? Depends on the temperatur­e…

- Richard Porter (@sniffpetro­l)

WHEN THE PANDA 100HP WAS contempora­ry there were lots of very small cars, from C1s and Twingos to 107s and Kas. Today those models are no more, but not every car maker has given up on a sub-supermini model. Toyota, for example, announced a new Aygo last year, no longer a co-pro with Peugeot/citroën though still made in the same Czech factory as its predecesso­rs. Except it’s not just an Aygo, it’s an Aygo X, the new suffix marking a shift towards faux-suv styling in an attempt to skate to the puck.

You’ll see from the pic above that it looks pretty chunky next to my weeny Panda, though the Aygo’s bulk is exaggerate­d by the 18-inch wheels that are standard on all but the base model. And I suspect it’s those big wheels that make the little Toyota a bit bumpy at times. In fact, in some circumstan­ces I think it has a worse ride than the Panda, never a car famed for its Phantom-like pillowynes­s. The Panda’s biggest problem is that it’s bouncy, but the way it deals with individual holes and humps in the tarmac isn’t terrible, while the Aygo is less bucking bronco but too firm over small imperfecti­ons, which makes it seem restless in a different way.

That aside, the Toyota isn’t bad to drive but there’s more raw, unfiltered joy to be had from the Fiat. It’s got a stronger, more eager engine, a nicer gearshift, and it’s more satisfying to bung into corners. The Aygo X is a perfectly nice thing, but for sheer silly small-car smiles the 15-yearold Panda has it beaten.

Of course, in other areas the Toyota wins out, especially over my particular Panda. It has wireless Carplay, for example, where my Fiat has a broken radio. And it has a working heater where, I discovered with dismay this month, my 100HP does not. Turns out you lose a certain amount of driving pleasure when trying to fire the sparky little Panda down a backroad dressed in six layers, a ski jacket and thick gloves. Most likely the problem is down to the failure of a flap within the climate control, the official fix for which is a new heater box. Fitting this would be a dash-out job, in turn demanding the removal of the doors, and since that’s way beyond my DIY skills it would cost me pretty much what I paid for the car. But there might be another solution. And it’s not to buy an Aygo X. Watch this space…

Date acquired September 2022 Total mileage 104,998 Mileage this month 91 Costs this month £0 mpg this month 37.8

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