Take a walk around Fiat’s assembly line and you’ll get a sense of the pride the staff have in their cars. I’ve just spent some time visiting Fiat’s newly refurbished factory ‘Giambattista Vico’ in Pomigliano d’Arco, home of the new Panda. It’s been designed around the ethos of simply more, a city car which has been designed on the small streets of Napoli, in close proximity to the factory. Like most new cars these days, it’s slightly larger than its predecessor. The headlights have been raised and there’s a central theme of “round-square” throughout the cars interior, the air vents, dials and speakers are all shaped by this premise.
As with all new Fiat models, a unique dashboard dock is available for integrating TomTom2 satellite navigation systems, with integrated voice or touch-screen controlled MP3, iPod or mobile phone control.
The Panda will be available with a choice of two power outputs (65hp & 85hp) from its award-winning two-cylinder TwinAir engines, as well as 1.2l petrol which delivers 69hp and 1.3l MultiJet II diesel engine with 75hp. I had a short drive in the TwinAir and diesel derivative, both offerering a pleasant drive. Irish prices have yet to be announced, but I expect the Panda to commence under €12,000 when it reaches Irish shores this coming March.
With an €800 million investment in their new manufacturing facility, and a capacity to produce 1,000 cars daily, Fiat will no doubt make this Panda the best yet.[table “50” not found /]