History of the Fiat Panda - Final Part: The Future of the Panda
The 3rd-generation Fiat Panda is currently one of the best selling city cars in Europe.
A completely new generation of the Panda is expected to debut soon, and there are many questions surrounding it.
In this Final Part of the History of the Fiat Panda series we’ll be taking a look at the future of the small Italian hatchback.
First, though, we’ll look at some versions of the 3rd-gen Panda that were not covered in the previous part.
The cheap, cute, small offroader returns once again!
The 2012 Fiat Panda 4x4 proves once again that you don't need to buy something expensive to have fun offroad
The third generation all wheel drive Panda was introduced at the 2012 Paris Motor Show. The engine lineup includes the TwinAir turbocharged petrol engine and Multijet II turbodiesel. The TwinAir engine is linked to a six-speed transmission with a short ratio first gear and the Diesel is linked to a 5-speed transmission.
Aesthetically, the 4x4 version differs from the traditional Panda due to the presence of model specific bumpers with extra cladding, body side moldings, plastic wheelarch extensions and 175/65 M+S tires on 15” alloy wheels.
Unlike the aesthetically similar Trekking version, the Panda 4x4 is not a simple preparation of the basic version, but a car that is sensibly mechanically re-designed with real off-road features and dedicated electronic controls.
The car is raised above the ground, and all the mechanical adjustments, such as steering, gearbox, suspension and brakes, are reviewed. The all-wheel drive is permanent, and it is managed by a system called ELD (Electronic Locking Differential) which, combined with electronic stability control, simulates the operation of a self-locking differential, so, at the discretion of the driver, the car can always travel on four driving wheels, or the motricity can be entrusted to the electronics, for a saving of the consumptions.
The Panda 4x4 was awarded the title of “SUV of the year 2012“ by British journalists of Top Gear.
The 4x4 also introduces new rear axle suspension with interconnected wheels, a cheaper and lighter system to produce than the one on the old Panda 4x4 with pulling arms.
The Austrian Panda, the 4x4 Steyr
Austrian market only special edition, announced in 2012.
Its Steyr Tractor theme celebrates the several collaborations throughout the years between Fiat and former Steyr-Daimler-Puch, such as the development of the original Panda 4x4‘s four wheel drive system.
Built on the basis of the Panda 4x4 1.3 Multijet II with richer interior standard equipment, it was available in either red or white with contrasting colour side stripes and Steyr logo decals.
The Panda from the South Pole
The Panda 4x4 Antartctica is a limited, 200 cars edition was premiered at the 2013 Frankfurt Motor Show, commemorating the 30th anniversary of the Panda 4x4. Like the Steyr, it was based on the Panda 4x4 1.3 Multijet II, featuring several normally extra cost options like automatic climate control, parking sensors and Blue&Me Bluetooth connectivity as standard.
The exterior was characterized by a white with black roof two-tone paint scheme accented by orange wheel centers and side mirror caps.
The range-topping, offroad-styled model off the Panda lineup. Also one of the very few SUVs to have actual offroad capabilities
The Panda Cross was presented at the 2014 Geneva Motor Show, after beign announced in a web preview.
It consists of a variant of the Panda 4x4 with new engines, dedicated aesthetics and unparalleled bodywork solutions and is equipped with new electronic and suspensive technologies.
It is recognizable by its wider 185/65 tyres on specific alloy wheels, new fascias with prominent skid plates and unique broken up head-and-taillights arrangement. The new bumpers, together with an increased ground clearance, give the car better approach and departure angles.
The final aesthetic result weighs down and strengthens the line of the small Turin city car and loses a little of the cleanness of the 2nd-gen Cross version, while maintaining some stylistic traits and the philosophy of wanting to be more aggressive.
There is a certain influence on the part of the Brazilian Fiat branch, which in the “cross” models tends to add elaborate inserts in anthracite, a philosophy now globally extended in the “cross” models of Fiat.
In particular, on the aesthetic level this version of the Panda loses the characteristic front lighting system arranged on three levels, to adopt the one inaugurated by the previous version of the Cross: the main headlight is incorporated in the additional protection of the bumper and the fog light is embedded in it.
The chrome-plated front bumper features two rows of generously sized holes with tow hooks on both sides and a row of LEDs for daytime running lights.
This version of the Panda presents an important novelty that significantly differentiates it from the normal 4x4 model: an electronic tool for traction directly manageable by the driver.
The four-wheel drive is therefore here provided for the Torque on demand device and is composed of two differentials and a new electronic joint. The stability system is therefore equipped with the electronically locking differential ELD (Electronic Locking Differential).
At practical levels the new system allows you to select at will the attitude and behavior of the car, as well as its traction mode, setting the command on three different levels: Auto, Lock and Hill Descent. The former automatically chooses whether to use four-wheel drive or two-wheel drive, the latter maintains fixed traction in 4x4 mode up to 50 km / h, inserts the ELD and inhibits the ASR, the third helps to keep the speed on the slopes constant.
The car adopts as standard the device awarded by EuroNCAP: City Brake Control, and it is the first car to adopt this device as standard (until now it was only available on request on the 500L). The Cross version is available with two engines, both enhanced compared to the other Panda: a 90 hp 0.9 TwinAir and a 80 hp 1.3 MultiJet II. Since the end of 2015, the engines have been approved for Euro 6 and the 1.3 Multijet has increased from 80 to 95 hp.
Like the previous model, the natural gas version is made on the basis of the Panda 4x4 and, compared to the model that precedes it, where it was a simple adaptation, the design of the platform was also made in view of the dual power supply version, and not just the four-wheel drive.
In this version, the four-wheel drive block is removed, and the space used for housing the gas cylinders.
It is powered by the turbocharged 0.9-litre two-cylinder TwinAir engine. The system is developed in-house and factory installed.
CNG is stored in two gas cylinders: the former housed longitudinally in the transmission tunnel, the latter transversally behind the rear axle. The boot’s volume remains unvaried, thanks to the cylinders being both located under the floorpan; on the other hand this requires a 40 mm taller ride height and a reworked, transversal silencer.
Total fuel capacity is 72 litres of CNG and 35 L of petrol - two liters less than the monofuel version’s 37.
At startup the engine runs on petrol, but switches to CNG immediately after; the car switches back to petrol only if it runs out of CNG or by driver input via a dedicated button on the dashboard.
The Panda EasyPower is the LPG/petrol bi-fuel version of the Panda; like the Natural Power it is also factory developed and manufactured. Its 1.2 FIRE inline four develops 69 hp.
Fiat PanDakar, the return
At the 2017 Dakar Rally Fiat raced with a new, improved version of the Pandakar, based on the 3rd-gen Panda.
Equipped with a 2.0-litre 180 hp MultiJet II engine and driven by Giulio Verzeletti and Antonio Cabini, it managed to arrive in 55th place, resulting in the first ever Fiat to conclude the tremendous Dakar rally.
Those were the versions of the current-gen Panda that still needed coverage.
Now, though, we’ll talk about something a bit more serious and important for this little hatchback, and that is…
The Future of the Fiat Panda
Laco Car Design's interpretation of the future 4th-gen Panda takes a lot of inspiration from the Brazil-only Fiat Mobi
There are many questions surrounding the future of the Panda.
We have been talking about the new generation of the Fiat Panda for several months now. After all, we’re talking about one of the best-selling cars ever in Europe.
According to the late Sergio Marchionne, CEO of Fiat Chrysler Automobiles, together with the Fiat 500 and 500X, the Fiat Panda will see an entirely new model.
The latest rumors reveal that the new generation of the car will arrive in 2020. However, currently Fiat engineers and technicians are working on the new model. Considering that on average it takes about 18 months to develop a new car, the preview debut of the new Fiat Panda should take place towards the end of 2019. To see the new car hit the streets, though, we’ll probably have to wait until 2020.
Here’s the first question: Where will it be produced?
According to some sources, the future Panda will not be built, unlike the current one, in the Pomigliano D’Arco estabilishment (which will probably be used for Jeep’s new mini-SUV, which will probably be using the Panda 44x4 as a base). Instead, it will be presumably produced at the Tychy estabilishment in Poland, where the 500 is already produced, though other sources claim Serbia to be a possible alternative.
Another question: Will it become an SUV just like pretty much every single car on sale today?
The answer to that is still unknown, though it is rumored that the new Panda might be very different from the current one, and might come in different models, such as maybe a 3-door (highly unlikely) version, or a wagon, or maybe even a compact saloon, who knows. It might also end up becoming a compact SUV like pretty much every car on sale today. We’ll have to wait for the first prototypes to appear to properly answer that.
Question no.3: Will it be a hybrid?
Surprisingly, FCA doesn’t seem to be considering a hybrid or electric version of the new Panda. That’s a quite interesting move, in a world where electrification is slowly becoming the way to go. Though, i wouldn’t really count on that, since the first two generations of the Panda both had electric versions, so we can expect a hybrid or electric to come out quite soon after the car’s debut.
Final question: Will it be a true successor of the current Panda?
Honestly, it’s impossible to answer such a question right now. We know pretty much nothing about the new Panda, so we can’t really know wheter it will be a good car or not. We’ll just have to wait and see the results.
End of the Final Part. The History of the Fiat Panda has come to an end! Thank you to all who read this series about one of Fiat’s most loved cars and its history!
See you and Bye!