The smallest car in this year’s test, there’s definitely something about the Panda 4×4. With its cute but tough looks and perky character, it’s easy to warm to this Fiat.
As a tow car, though, it’s quite limited. Even pulling an 800kg trailer, the Panda was the slowest car in this year’s test, needing 40.3 seconds to go from 30-60mph.
Once up to the legal limit it feels stable enough, though it would go faster than 60mph with a brutal right foot. There’s a lot of noise from the 1.3-litre diesel engine, too – at times it’s as if it’s in the cabin with you.
The awkwardly shaped handbrake was reluctant to hold the car and trailer on a 1-in-6 slope without a very firm pull. However, four-wheel drive gave the Panda great traction, so it pulled to the top of the hill quite easily.
You won’t be surprised to learn that the Panda’s boot didn’t have space for a full load of holiday luggage, contributing to a low score for practicality.
The Panda is on stronger ground as an everyday runabout, especially for someone who lives out in the sticks and will benefit from four-wheel drive. Fuel economy of 60.1mpg on the combined cycle suggests the Fiat should be reasonably cheap to fuel, although there’s no shortage of larger, heavier cars in this year’s tests with better economy.