Full Review: Fiat Panda

With all of the much-deserved hype over the Fiat 500, it's easy to forget that Fiat has been building great small cars for decades. Firmly at the lead of this pack is the Panda. This is a great little car, and with all of the many different variations that Fiat has made available, there's probably one that will be just the right fit for you. That is assuming, of course, that you want a small car. The Panda offers more interior space than almost any other city car.

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It is still very much a city car though, and when you move you'll still have to get a friend with a truck to help. The Panda even comes with a very un-city-car 4X4 option, and was named this year's Budget category 4X4 of the year. This comes from the fact that the Panda is not only highly capable, but is also very well built, kind of a surprise when it comes to a cheap Italian car. Fiat offers quite a few other variations on the Panda as well. One of the best of these is the 100HP edition.
The name of this package already tells you the most important part, but in addition to extra power, the 100HP also has upgraded brakes and suspension. A variety of other engines are available for those who don't feel the need for 100 horsepower. The smallest of these a 1.1-liter, which produces 54 horsepower, and will get the Panda up to 60mph sometime after you've made the last payment on the car. A better compromise would be the 1.3-liter diesel, which offers 75 horsepower as well as better fuel economy.
It's a kind of pricey upgrade if you're optioning up from the base Actual trim, but it's downright necessary if you're getting the 4X4. Fiat offers a dual-fuel model called the Natural Power, and there has been a concept built using the new Multiair technology. So if you like the 500 but need something a bit bigger, the Panda should be your first stop.