Within compact, urban-friendly exterior dimensions, the new Fiat Panda’s unique design combines the road presence and elevated driving position of a small SUV with the space and flexible practicality of an MPV. However, thanks to MacPherson strut front and torsion beam rear suspension, the new Panda boasts driving dynamics far superior to those which so often relegate vehicles in this class to poor relation status.
The new Panda offers levels of equipment more usually associated with cars of a far higher segment. Electric front windows, central locking, Dualdrive electronic power steering, two front airbags and a Blaupunkt stereo radio cassette are fitted as standard in even the entry-level, Active version. Moreover, the availability of up to six airbags, automatic climate control, parking sensors, a SkyDome electric sunroof, steering wheel audio controls and a stereo CD with MP3 player, imbue the new Fiat Panda with a level of on-board sophistication and refinement unparalleled in this class.
Within a bodyshell of exceptional torsional stiffness, the new Panda offers a fully comprehensive array of both active and passive safety features. It is the first car in its class to offer up to six airbags, whilst front seatbelts with pretensioners and load limiters, three-point rear seatbelts, and anti-submarining seats are all fitted as standard.
Fiat Auto has further equipped the new Panda with the full range of braking, traction control, and stability systems available today: ABS anti-lock brakes complete with electronic brakeforce distribution, ASR to limit wheel slip during acceleration, MSR to modulate engine torque whilst changing down, and a sophisticated ESP to control stability whilst cornering – the only car in its class to offer this system. Vehicles fitted with ESP also benefit from hydraulic brake assistance and a unique Hill Holder function to facilitate smooth hill starts.
Building on Fiat’s unrivalled reputation as the world's pre-eminent small car specialists, the newly crowned Car of the Year 2004 combines design flair, flexibility, practicality, refinement, technological innovation and outstanding value for money to set a new benchmark for cars in this class. With its combination of driving dynamics, refinement, technical innovation and equipment levels of higher segment vehicles, the new Panda reflects the increasing reluctance of car buyers to compromise at any level of the ownership experience, even in the lowest segments.