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Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Fiat Panda summed up...



The Fiat Panda is one of the vehicles that is coming to the US. You can read more about this rugged vehicle here.

Photo Courtesy of Fiat Group Auto

6 comments:

Daniël said...

Hmmm... I have my doubts about this one. Okay, the Panda is a good car, but where the 500 is cool, nostalgic at the same time, the Panda is simply the cheap car that everyone can afford.

The "cheap car that everyone can afford" played an important role in Europe, the Mini, the 2CV, the Beetle and the original 500 were one. After the second world war the first thing to become an industrial society again was to mobilize the people. As the U.S. did not suffer a war, was already an industrial giant and had an already high standard of living, a "cheap car that everyone can afford" didn't really serve a need.

So back to the Panda. What we have here is a small, high quality car that won prizes for its design. The 4x4 version gives it nice off-road features. At the same time, it is very basic, don't expect a lot of gadgets inside. Would it appeal in the U.S.?

I think it might, but it depends on the economic situation, oil prices and so on.

Chris said...

This car intrigues me because it is the opposite of the traditional American 4X4. I don't know how this car will be received here (well, on second thought, I do and it has my concern).

The Panda that comes here will be the next version and is going to be a bigger car, so that might help its acceptance.

My hope is the next generation of consumers here in the US will be more open minded and embrace what the rest of the world considers a great design.

Personally, I can't take the big, sloppy SUV's we have here. The sooner we get people out of them and into more efficient, car like vehicles, the better!

StephanieVillegas said...

I have to aggree. Not sure how well this car will sell in America, but I suppose that's more a matter of personal taste.

But I am so pleased that you Americans are now (hopefully) going to be embracing smaller new cars with a greater focus on fuel efficiency. No more SUVs please!

tahrey said...

Cool ... given this was more than a year ago now, will they actually follow through with this?

I saw 5th Gear do an off road race pitching one of these vs a Range Rover, and whilst the Fiat lost to the big traditional 4x4, it still completed the course OK, mostly losing out on absolute engine power for thrusting up hills rather than gamely scrambling over them in low gear, and in ultimate ground clearance (there's only so much additional ride height you can give something on 15 inch wheels before it looks ludicrous and falls over on bends) which meant alternative routes had to be found around the deepest gullies and ridges.

However, it is significantly cheaper to buy, run, repair and park than the Rangey, and won't get you anywhere near as many hate-filled looks from passerby. Don't even get started comparing it to the hummer...

It's really most useful as a way of getting up steep, unpaved farm tracks or snow-covered surburban roads rather than serious mud-plugging or rock scrambling, and it would be silly to market it as such or to buy one with that in mind. It doesn't even have fulltime 4WD, but instead a sort of reverse ABS/TRAC (when wheelspin is detected up front, the centre clutch is engaged...), and I'll bet even in tricky conditions it spends less time with the rear wheels powered than you'd expect. The original 1980s 4x4 Panda was a total mountain-goat (and still do well in small time offroad time trials), and I've both been a passenger in a 2WD one which did some extraordinary dirt trail / no trail at all desert exploring on a spanish island, and driven a very similar rival as my own car for a couple years in all sorts of conditions, including snow and ice where I was about the only thing still moving. Light weight, with most of it over the drive/steering/main brake wheels, can be one of the most useful weapons against getting bogged down... bouncing over the mud and rocks rather than ploughing through. It's partly why the original Jeep was such a legend - there's no fat on either of them, and you just have to be sure to pick your route with a little care.

Jeanne said...

When are they coming to US?

Anonymous said...

I've been quite fond of these guys for a while, and I'm glad they're coming here. I've got another two years or so I'd like to get out of my beast of a Jeep (for economic and logistic reasons) and hopefully that'll be enough time for the Panda to show up. I'm in love with the 4x4ness and stylings. I'm a simple gal, and this car is perfect!