Fiat says its new Panda has reached ‘full maturity’ in the third-generation car that has been unveiled at the Frankfurt motor show.
The Italian company says the latest evolution of the car has made a “qualitative leap in comfort, technology and safety equipment, and has a modern, harmonious look”.
The new Panda, which will only come as a five-door, features more passenger room and a bigger boot. That means it has grown in length from 3538mm to 3650mm, is 1640mm wide compared to its predecessor’s 1578mm and is 10mm taller at 1550mm. The rear seat splits and slides to allow flexible space and seating arrangements, and the front passenger seat backrest can be folded to form a table.
The Panda will be available with a range of efficient, low-capacity engines designed for city driving. Three petrol-driven powerplants will be available at launch, including a brace of new 875cc two-cylinder units: an 85bhp TwinAir turbo and a 65bhp naturally aspirated version. The petrol line-up will be completed by a 1.2-litre, 69bhp engine. A 75bhp 1.3 Multijet diesel, featuring start-stop technology as standard, will also be offered.Several engine and transmission variants will be added to the range in the future. Two hybrids will join the starting line-up — a petrol/methane version of the 0.9-litre turbo and a petrol/LPG engine based on the 1.2 naturally aspirated unit.
A range-topping Abarth-badged Panda is also believed to be under consideration. Based on the 875cc turbocharged petrol engine, it could pack 105bhp. A Dualogic ‘robotised’ manual transmission will become available after the launch. Next year, a braking system will be added that is able to detect obstacles at close range and stop automatically at speeds below 20mph.
Production will begin in November at Alfa Romeo’s old Naples factory, which has been modernised by Fiat.
The car should go on sale in the UK in April 2012, priced from about £8500.