The New Fiat Panda Appealing, Smart and Free







Published by Gerald Ferreira Date: December 14, 2011
Categories: FIAT, Fiat Panda

Panda is the byword for substance, practicality and usefulness. There is a concept of beauty connected to making all of this visible and perceptible, a concept pursued throughout the new Panda design procedure.

New Fiat Panda 2012 Italy

Now at its third generation, the Panda is improving each of its elements both functionally and in attention to detail. The result is of great overall harmony, due to applying signs consistent with one another that increases its usability and pleasing design values.

In seeking a higher and more perceptible value, design sets out to create a true sentimental value between car and user such as to make using the new Panda every day more rewarding. This is why lines of thought on how to alter the Panda's concept were not followed. Instead, Centro Stile Fiat designers put themselves in the shoes of the customer to try to understand how the car could have even better portrayed the combination of utility and an even bolder personality. The end result is a car brimming in sparkling personality and value, one that combines the outstanding reputation of a timeless model with amazing quality up to the very last detail.

Appealing

The new Fiat Panda conveys freshness and appeal in addition to a strong "Italian style" that makes it instantly recognisable from the very first glance. That is due to a few "anthropomorphic" traits of its front. The slightly convex bonnet joins with the elegant horizontal grille and the new front headlamps with a rounded shape that bring to mind a smiling face extending an invitation to take a spin light-heartedly and cheerfully. The same aesthetic elements also express the family feeling of the latest Fiat models, and in particularly stress their bond with the other successful city car heir of an icon of international motoring, the new 500.

The designers added a touch of personality to this "human" stamp to make it a solid and reassuring car that is roomier than what is expected from a model of this size. The passenger compartment is designed as a single, comfortable space to increase quality of life on board, even for children. Proof of that is the parcel shelf that turns into a useful rigid platform for placing toys and - something new in the segment - a few graphic patterns decorating the door panels and roof of the car, in this way creating an attractive "sky" over the heads of the tiny passengers. In this same way the radio interface sports a pleasant and intuitive look, quite similar to the last-generation portable consoles. All controls and buttons are grouped into two islands so they are easier for the driver to use.

Solid

The new Panda has been created drawing inspiration from the most up-to-date trends. It proposes an elegant restyling of the exteriors with smooth and rounded lines on a volume of regular form so the available space is used effectively. The absence of corners conveys solidity and emphasizes the welcoming and protective "shell" nature of the passenger compartment. The rounded shapes of the exterior also combine aesthetic and aerodynamic features so that the Cx is lowered to 0.32, one of the best in this market segment.

The side view has several distinctive features of the second-generation Fiat Panda, starting with the third window, now with softened angles in harmony with the softer shape of the exteriors, which creates the effect of an uninterrupted glazed surface up to the vertical rear light clusters. Among other things, the light clusters arranged higher up improve lighting and reduce the possibility of damage in case of minor knocks. Unlike the second-generation Panda, the front light clusters continue down the side to give the exterior volumes an additional three-dimensional effect.

Smooth and rounded shapes also distinguish the bumper strips on the bumpers and side panels that not only pay tribute to the first generation Fiat Panda, but also play an essential protective role in protecting the body in the city and accentuate the “all-terrain” look of the model also accompanied by the marked wheel arches. It is a new design language that evolves, taking the concept of robustness to the extreme. This is confirmed by many interior and exterior details, such as the door handles of a more substantial visual and tactile shape.

Moreover, the side windows are designed to maximise a few performance aspects. The upper line of the windows improves outward visibility and accessibility to the car, while the low waistline gives a feeling of greater control of the surrounding environment, increasing the perception of safety behind the wheel.

Finally, as on the current model, the lower section of the tailgate protrudes with respect to the rear window. Combined with the side line, this gives a distinct impression of a roof panel resting on the bodywork. Then the third window is positioned to improve visibility from an angle which is usually very difficult to check to guarantee greater safety for both those outside and inside the car.

Free

Offered with five doors and with the comfort of a higher segment, the new Panda proves it is a true super-compact that with its super efficiency is able to combine the smaller size outside with amazing volume inside. Even though it is just 365 centimetres long, 164 wide, 155 high and has a wheelbase of 230 centimetres, the new car can accommodate up to five people and has one of the most spacious boots of its segment: 225 litres which become 260 with the sliding rear seat in the fully forward position and 870 litres with the backrest of the rear seats folded down.

The Fiat Panda offers maximum freedom of use with its roomy, functional and comfortable passenger compartment that is in no way inferior to that of cars of a higher class. Besides, flexibility has always been one of the model's strong points, as the new dashboard, various seat configurations and large number of storage compartments demonstrate.

First of all, the new dashboard is designed as a practical multipurpose shell containing a roomy storage "pocket", just like that of the first series of the model, which becomes the perfect place for stowing everything you want in total freedom... even in "cheerful and democratic" untidiness if you want. Added to that is the more classic glovebox stored in the lower part of the dashboard.

In detail, the dashboard is wrapped up in a colourful frame, without interruptions, which serves as a single perimeter to the steering wheel, radio and main controls, and that houses the vents. Also in this case there is a return to the first generation Panda, where the elements were tightened to the fabric "pouch", which constituted the main part of the dashboard.

There is also something new for the seats, which confirm the flexibility of the model. The driver's seat is also available with height adjustment, whereas the front passenger seat can be fitted with a backrest that folds down to form a table. The table function provides a surface for placing both objects of common use, such as a bag or a laptop, and for oversize loads. If the rear seats are also lowered, the customer can get a flat boot platform extending over the entire length of the passenger compartment (over 2 metres) so that the interior space is used to the utmost.

The rear seat ensures the same versatility. It is available in the standard 2-seater version with fold-down split backrest or, upon request, in the configurations: 2 seats sliding longitudinally with fold-down 50/50 split backrest, 3 seats with fold-down backrest and 3 seats with fold-down 60/40 split backrest. It can all be made even more functional if combined with the handy and useful cargo box that when placed in the boot can both hold several objects inside and offer an all but flat loading space.

Smart

Maximum functionality is also found in the slim front seats. This technology is applied here for the first time at Fiat. It simultaneously ensures more leg space for the rear passengers, greater flexibility - the seat travel distance is 21 centimetres and vertical adjustment is 6 cm - and enhanced seat comfort thanks to their comfortable and embracing shape. What's more, the “squares” electrically welded to the backrest perform the important task of guaranteeing air passage between the passenger's back and the seat fabric to improve comfort, especially during the warmer months.

In the same way the door panel was designed with the idea of freeing space in mind. The speaker in the panel has been raised to make the pocket wider and improve sound quality. Upholstery has been extended to the maximum to improve comfort.

Another new stylistic and functional innovation is the special shape of the parking brake which comes out of the desire to optimise the space of the console. Its small longitudinal dimensions allow the space in front of and behind the lever to be exploited in addition to clearing space for use directly underneath it.

To guarantee comfortable and distraction-free driving, in keeping with tradition the gear lever of the Panda is in a raised position in the centre of the dashboard, very close to the steering wheel. The steering wheel is perfectly round on the outside to make it easy to turn and square on the inside to improve grip and provide maximum instrument panel visibility.

The 14 storage compartments in the Panda are not just abundant and capacious: they are designed and conceived according to those who use the Panda every day for everyday items. There are open compartments which are easy to reach into for frequent use and closed, more concealed compartments for objects that are usually left in the car. One new feature is the glasses holder located above the driver's window.

Lastly, the new Panda offers the innovative “Smart fuel system” that replaces the classic cap and that is fitted to the end of the fuel filler pipe. Filling up is one of those operations which has not developed in step with automotive technology. The new car takes a leap forward with this feature, which automatically opens and closes when the pump is put inside and removed, so refuelling is easier and safer since it reduces gas emissions and fuel overflow. The new "Smart fuel system" also solves the problem of "misfuelling" as it does not allow petrol to be pumped into a diesel powered car or vice versa.

In short, the new Panda is a car sure to continuously surprise owing to its ability to transform itself according to the situation and adapt to the needs of whoever uses it, driver or passenger as the case may be. What's more, offering original style, advanced technology accessible to everyone, and smart solutions that simplify and improve life on board is in Fiat's DNA.

More about the FIAT Panda: