- The Fiat Panda launches unprecedented attack on the New Zealand car market
- Multiple award-winning European small car from just $14,990 plus on road costs
- Panda population limited so special $5000 price saving faces imminent extinction.
Just when you thought the Chinese were really hammering the cheap end of the new car market with brands like Cherry, along comes Fiat to throw a European spanner in the mix. This temporary price drop must surely make waves not only in the Chinese manufacturer’s camp, but I expect there are some Japanese and Korean brands that are a bit concerned over this level of pricing.
Two things are for certain; this will surely hit used car sales – why buy a 3-5 year-old used car when you get can get the latest Panda for $15k? Secondly? New car buyers in this price range now have very real choices to make, without having to stick to a Cherry or entry-level Suzuki Swift or Alto. The equipment levels alone – even for the base Panda – are quite simply stunning.
The Panda line-up consists of two models – Easy and Lounge. Both are powered by Fiat’s award-winning TwinAir turbo powerplant.
This 875cc unit has the lowest carbon dioxide emissions of any quantity production petrol engine in the world and won International Engine of the Year 2011 courtesy of its unique combination of power, flexibility and economy.
With 63 kW of power, Combined Cycle fuel efficiency as low as 4.1 litres per 100km and a characterful throaty sound track, this engine has cemented Fiat’s position at the forefront of modern engine development. The TwinAir is fitted with the Start&Stop system and the Gear Shift Indicator (GSI) feature, which suggests to the driver when to change gear in order to achieve the best fuel economy.
The Panda’s tall and wide stance doesn’t just make it cuddly, it provides more space for passengers and their luggage, while still maintaining sufficiently diminutive exterior dimensions to provide the nippy ease of use around the city.
Safety and comfort are delivered an unusually rigid body and advanced suspension. These attributes further improve the Panda’s already impressive safety credentials, which includes six airbags, ABS anti-lock braking with Brake Assist System (BAS), Electronic Stability Program (ESP) and an active anti-whiplash head restraint system as standard equipment across the range, making it one of the best-equipped cars of its kind in safety terms.
Unusually for a car of this size, it also features a new safety innovation as standard equipment on the Lounge variant called Low Speed Collision Mitigation – this advanced safety system reads the road ahead and when it detects an obstacle in the vehicle’s path, applies the brakes automatically to avoid a collision.
But the Panda’s long list of practical features isn’t just reserved for the driver. To maximise space inside, the all-new interior is packed with useful equipment, such as 14 storage compartments, including an open shelf on the dashboard.
As with all other models in the Fiat vehicle range, the new Panda is equipped with the Blue&Me connectivity system to allow owners to sync music players and mobile phones with the vehicle, enabling handsfree control of devices using either voice activation or steering-wheel mounted controls.
The Panda is available in two versions, the value for money Panda Easy and the comprehensively equipped Panda Lounge.
The Fiat Panda Easy includes in its equipment package:
- Halogen headlight
- Daytime Running Lamps
- Roof rails
- Easy ‘Rubik’ design seat fabric
- Steering wheel with audio/phone controls
- air conditioning
- Remote central locking
- Electric front windows
- Height (rake) adjustable steering wheel
- Mount connection for TomTom navigation unit
- rear grab handles,
- driver’s side glasses holder,
- height adjustable seat belts
- Radio/CD/MP3 with steering wheel controls
- Six-speaker audio system
- Blue&Me™ system with Bluetooth, USB & AUX connectivity
- ABS (Anti-lock Braking System)
- BAS (Brake Assist System)
- VDC (Vehicle Dynamic Control)
- Airbags, front, side and curtains
- Start&Stop system
- Rear parking sensors
The Panda Lounge Adds
- Body coloured door handles
- 15-inch alloy wheels
- Body side moulding
- Fog lights
- Dark tinted glass
- Lounge ‘Rubik’ design seat fabric
- Dual tone leather wrapped steering wheel
- Gloss black dash trim
- Automatic climate control air conditioning
- Electrically adjustable side view mirrors
- Driver’s seat with height adjustment
- Low Speed Collision Mitigation system
- Five-speed Dualogic robotised automatic transmission
The new Panda is also available with the latest Blue&Me TomTom navigation device as an option, featuring a 4.3-inch touchscreen. However, all Panda models are fitted with the navigation device docking port as standard equipment, which means they are all pre-equipped and ready to fully integrate the navigation unit with the vehicle’s audio system.
For a strictly limited time, the Fiat Panda Easy has a recommended retail price of $14,990 plus on road costs and the Fiat Panda Lounge is priced at a recommended retail price of $16,990 plus on road costs.