ALONGSIDE the 4x4, Fiat has also launched a 1.3-litre Euro IV-compliant 16-valve Multijet turbodiesel in the Panda.
The Panda has the same engine as the Punto but a different torque output and different gearbox.
The Panda is not as punchy as its bigger cousin but still manages to produce 107lb-ft at 1,500rpm.
The Multijet is available in Fiat’s ‘dynamic’ trim, which means radio/CD player and remote central locking are standard alongside ABS brakes with EBD, trip computer, body-coloured bumpers, twin front airbags, follow-me-home headlights and electric front windows.
Fiat is hoping to sell 900 to 1,000 Panda Multijets this year in the UK, with about 20% going to fleets.
With a combined fuel figure of 65.7mpg and emissions of 114g/kg, it is an economical possibility for fleets. The few tweaks which have been made with the transmission are noticeable when driving back to back with the Punto. It is not as forceful at low speeds and doesn’t feel as responsive in lower gears.
This doesn’t stop the Panda being a cracking little car, though. It grips the road tightly on corners while its small frame makes parking a breeze. The engine is quiet for a diesel, although tyre and wind noise is loud in the cabin when at speed. There is plenty of room inside, with well-laid-out controls neatly spaced on the centre console.
With a top speed of 99mph, the Panda Multijet isn’t for fleets wanting power and high performance, but for an economical, nippy run-around it’s worth a look.