13 January 2004

The first Fiat Pandas will roll off forecourts this Saturday when the eagerly anticipated car goes on sale in the UK. Demand for the rejuvenated super-mini has been strong after it received the Car or the Year award for 2004; Fiat had taken some 95,000 orders by the end of November last year, so expect to see them in numbers on British roads before too long.

Six versions of the new car will be available to begin with, with prices ranging from £6295 to £8095. Trim choice is between Active, Dynamic and Eleganza levels. Active includes twin front airbags, central locking, intelligent windscreen wipers, and electric front windows. Dynamic trim adds a trip computer, ABS, brake assist, a rev counter and body-coloured bumpers for a £600 premium. Eleganza crowns the range, bringing 14” alloys, heated mirrors, climate control and a dash-mounted CD player.

Two petrol powerplants will be offered from launch – a 54bhp 1.1-litre and a 60bhp 1.2, the latter knocking a second off the 0-62mph dash, and returning better fuel economy. Both are mated to a five speed manual gearbox as standard, with a Dualogic sequential auto available as an option with the larger of the two engines.

A 1.3-litre 16v turbodiesel augments the range this summer, before the quirky Panda SUV (pictured) follows later in the year.

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