History of the Fiat Panda - Part 7: New Generation
The 2nd generation Fiat Panda, over the course of its life, was built in over 2.000.000 units.
In 2012, howewer, the car was ageing rapidly, and a replacement was needed. Thus, the 3rd-generation Fiat Panda was born.
The small Italian hatchback's new youth
The new Panda was unveiled at the 2011 Frankfurt Motor Show, and sales began the following year.
For some time, it was sold alongside the 2nd-gen Panda (renamed Panda Classic), which it definitely replaced in 2013.
Despite beign an entirely new car, it is based on an updated version of Fiat’s “Mini” platform, which is also used by its predecessor, as well as other cars such as the 2007 Fiat 500 and the 2011 Lancia Ypsilon.
The Legacy of the Panda
The new Panda’s purpose is pretty much the same as its predecessors, and that is to be a rational car, aimed at giving priority to comfort, habitability, versatility and, most importantly, practicality.
The car was conceived as a union of the two models that preceded it, and incorporates some distinctive elements of the 1st generation and binds them to those of the 2nd generation that for technical or market reasons had lost in favor of different solutions.
The 1st-gen Panda's dashbboard storage space finally made its return, after disappearing on the 2nd-gen
One of these solutions is, for example, the creation of an open space on the dashboard that includes a large pocket that is all-characteristic of the 1st model, which was missing in the 2nd due to the size of the passenger airbag.
An entirely new concept compared to the previous models is related to aesthetic care. The new Panda, while remaining a car aimed at practicality, is less spartan, and more cared for in purely aesthetic details.
A modern design with a personality
On the aesthetic level (style, choice of volumes and ergonomics), the new Panda remains faithful to the model that precedes it, but expands its features by moving towards a more contemporary image.
The stylistic concept of the squircle is adopted as a characteristic element: a particular geometric shape, the result of the fusion between square and circle, which symbolizes the synthesis between the efficiency and robustness of the former with the pleasantness and flexibility of the latter, thus giving life to a regular and handy element but at the same time fun and playful.
The Panda, howewer, does not only recall the philosophy of previous generations of the model, but also reflects the style introduced by the 500 in 2007, homogenizing but without overlapping it and maintaining its own and precise personality.
The body lines are softer and less angular, with rounded surfaces and less sharp cuts.
The car, in fact, although slightly larger than the previous model, is more compact and maintains the same proportion in volumes.
Despite this, from a stylistic point of view, the car is not overturned externally, on the contrary, it is very reminiscent of the 2003 model designed by Giuliano Biasio for Bertone. The side in fact, although very similar to that of the new Fiat Uno (born in 2010 for the Brazilian market only), maintains the characteristic third side window, which connects the interior with the rear window, incorporating it into the rear light units, thus giving a sense of continuity between the side and the rear. The front indicators are detached from the main optical unit, and are cut into the front bumper.
The car has contrasting elements on the side, such as the side bumper fascias, which are also reflected in the rear bumper and the front fog lamp frames. The small SUV features are still present, and in this new model, the wheel arches are very marked and protruding, accentuating the air of robustness of the vehicle.
Internally the car, stylistically speaking, takes marked distances compared to its predecessors and is oriented more towards the style of the 500.
Throughout the cabin are repeated several squircles: the geometric figure is found everywhere, on the bridge, on the controls, on steering wheel and on the instrumentation. The bridge itself is characterized by a large rectangular band that runs through the perimeter of it, containing the climate controls and wrapping the radio console.
The airbag was also included in this range, leaving a large empty space for the passenger side, just like the 1st generation, a solution that had by now disappeared on modern cars.
The tiles are also introduced, or the particular relief squares have been applied in an electrically welded way on the backrests of the front seats: these elements have the function of creating a sort of “gap” between the back of the passenger and the seat, in order to provide better ventilation of the area and consequently greater comfort.
The new Panda's vital organs
The Panda debuted only in front-wheel drive form, but after a year all-wheel-drive models joined the lineup.
The car has been offered since launch with petrol and diesel engines: the 85 hp turbocharged two-cylinder 0.9-litre Twinair with Start & Stop system, the 69 hp 8 valves 1.2 FIRE (the latter with new longer ratios of the gearbox to favor consumption and emissions as well as with the phase variator), and then a 95 hp 16-valve 1.3-liter Multijet II with Start & Stop system.
The Panda is also marketed with bifuel engines; the power supply is adapted to the 80 hp Twinair 0.9 Turbo Natural Power (petrol and methane) and the 1.2 69 hp EasyPower (petrol and LPG). These engines are equipped with the Gear Shift Indicator (GSI) in order to reduce consumption to a minimum.
Since the end of 2015 a new homologation of all engines is made according to the Euro 6 standard, while the 75 hp 1.3 Multijet diesel is replaced a more powerful Euro 6 unit with 95 hp already available on the Fiat 500 and Lancia Ypsilon with which the Panda shares the basic mechanics.
End of Part 7. The History of the Fiat Panda will continue soon with the Final Part: The Future of the Panda!