New Fiat Panda In UK | Part Six

Dualdrive electric power steering

All new Panda versions are equipped with this innovative, speed-sensitive power steering system, which comes with two operating modes and uses an electric motor, rather than a hydraulic pump driven by the engine, which results in a considerable reduction in both fuel consumption and noise.

The system offers a choice of two settings: The first ensures maximum feedback and driver involvement, the second lightens the steering to minimise effort, and is therefore ideal for urban driving and low speed manoeuvring.

Pressing the ‘City’ button on the fascia activates the latter mode. But, to ensure maximum safety under all driving conditions, both settings offer identical power assistance over 44 mph, thus ensuring a steering wheel response suited to high speed driving.

Optional Equipment

The new Fiat Panda’s comprehensive standard equipment package is further enhanced by a range of innovative, safety and comfort enhancing options more usually reserved for vehicles in a higher segment, such as a SkyDome glass sunroof, parking sensors, side and window airbags, ESP (including ASR, MSR and Hill Holder), smart windscreen wipers, Follow Me Home headlights and a CD sound system that can play MP3 music files.

SkyDome sunroof

The SkyDome, a large, crystal-glass sunroof, occupies nearly 70% of the new Panda roof. It consists of two glazed panels – one fixed and one mobile – and two sunblinds that may be independently retracted towards the rear of the car.

Via a button adjacent to the central courtesy light, the retractable glass panel becomes a raised spoiler in the first position, thereafter sliding on aluminium guides to the fully opened position. Releasing the control button stops the movement at any required position. Both glass front panel and sunblind may be fully opened in just seven seconds.

Parking sensors

The parking sensor, which is activated whenever the ignition is switched on and reverse gear engaged, consists of four ultrasonic sensors fitted in the rear bumper and linked to an electronic control unit and a buzzer.

The four detectors cover the rear corners of the new Panda from a distance of less than 60 cm, and the area immediately behind the car from a distance of less than 150 cm. Proximity information is transmitted to the driver in the form of bleeps at intervals. The bleeps are emitted with increasing frequency, becoming a continuous signal when the car reaches a distance of 30 cm from any obstacle.

Follow Me Home headlights

A practical, safety conscious innovation designed to light the interior of a garage or a path to the front door after the car has been locked. Follow Me Home activates the dipped beams and sidelights of the new Panda. The driver simply operates the light flasher stalk within two minutes of switching off the engine. Each time the stalk is operated, light activation is extended by 30 seconds up to a maximum of three-and-a-half minutes.

Intelligent windscreen wipers

All versions of the new Panda feature two continual and four intermittent wiper speeds. A ‘smart’ washing system simultaneously operates wipers and washerjets with one stalk movement. The same system applies to the rear window wiper.

continues... | Part Seven
Published 12 January 2004 Melanie Carter
 

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