A vehicle with original styling that is striking for its dynamism. Once you climb aboard, the same car conveys all the practicality and comfort of a higher category car. This, in brief, is the spirit of the new supermini due to go on sale in September. Its name? The Panda.
Appealing, easy to remember and sustained by the over twenty years of success of the model launched in 1980, the Panda name is part of Fiat’s heritage.
It is, therefore, a symbolic hand-over. September 5 marks the last day of production of the small car which in Italian motoring and social history has come to represent a unique new way of relating to the car, a way that is more immediate, more relaxed and easier.
Over the years the name Panda has become a veritable brand name, full of emotional overtones, and one that motorists in Italy and the rest of Europe are still extremely fond of. Statistics say that in Italy almost 90% of the public recall the name, compared to less than 40% in the case of other well known cars on the market.
The new supermini now takes up this baton, reviving not only the name Panda (which market research has shown to be particularly attractive to the public), but also the spirit of the car, with a modern interpretation of its values in terms of product and personality that have made the name Panda a real icon in the public imagination.
In addition, Fiat Auto’s decision to call its new car the Panda completely eliminates the concerns expressed by a competitor regarding a similarity between the name of one of its cars already on the market and ’Gingo’, the name by which the new car was known during its previews.
And so Fiat will take its rightful place as leader of this growing segment where so much history bears its name: from the first 600 to the 500, from the 126 to the first Panda and from the Cinquecento to the Seicento. The first people to discover the car as an irreplaceable means of individual mobility drove Fiat city cars. And they learned how to appreciate cars that could be good-looking, reliable and fun to drive at low cost despite their lack of space, weight and cylinder capacity. Now the baton passes to the New Panda.
Our aim: to focus on the perennial winning attributes of Fiat city cars. When it built its new supermini, Fiat was able to call on the great engineering and design heritage that it has built up over the years and the unique know-how of a company that has always led the European market in this segment. This unbroken success reveals how Fiat has always succeeded in the mini segment in terms of sheer numbers but also and above all by winning the trust of its customers: trust in the Fiat brand and in the experience of its designers.
The new model’s ambitions do not stop here. With the New Panda, Fiat is determined to take quality levels into a different league as far as comfort, safety, engineering and equipment are concerned. Its aim is to interpret its age-old supermini know-how in the light of changes undergone by the customers of this market band and the rosy prospects for future growth. Renewed interest in this type of car mirrors changes in the market. The mini segment is now a fast-changing universe that attracts customers who traditionally buy such cars but also motorists from other market bands.
In this sector we must also consider a very diverse demand determined by different car applications (mainly around town but also over medium-long distances), different annual mileages and different personal requirements. All these customers share the fact that they choose a supermini as a response to certain needs. These are not restricted to a need for saving but also a need for a relationship with the car that must be entertaining and practical, relaxed and environmentally friendly, fun and economical.
The latest addition to the Fiat family represents the state of the art in this particular category. It is the most advanced current response to people who want a car with compact exterior dimensions that is equipped with all the comforts that bigger cars have led us to expect; designed for low fuel consumption but no less of a lively performer; ideal in town traffic but still perfect over longer trips, always able to assure its occupants a relaxed drive.
Its very ability to meet different needs, however conflicting, allows the New Panda to stand as a benchmark for those who experience the car in complete freedom and appreciate its everyday usefulness. Down-to-earth, smart customers who do not fall into the trap of following the latest fashion but instead prefer to achieve the right balance between new styling and true practicality. As far as such customers are concerned, the new model is a veritable mix of different car types. On the one hand, it offers all the roominess, flexibility and modularity of an MPV (Multi Purpose Vehicle). On the other, the driver’s seating level in relation to the ground is high and it has the all-terrain look of a small SUV. The New Panda also borrows from conventional saloons all the driving satisfaction and on-board wellbeing that can be assured by a host of devices and systems, some absolutely unique to the supermini spectrum.
All in all, the New Panda sets new standards of comfort and practicality in this category. Yet it still offers appealing, original styling and an impish air that will raise an answering grin from anyone who is forced to tackle the heavy traffic, lack of space and frenetic pace of life typical of town centres. The New Panda is bound to arouse continual surprise for its ability to adapt to different situations and the needs of its driver. A model that offers four different motoring experiences that make the car unique in the motoring world:
flexibility and practicality
style and character
technology and innovation
substance and quality.
Firstly, the new model is a flexible and practical car. Its attributes of roominess and ergonomics, for example, set it at the top of its category while the extensive range offers everyone the version that best meets their needs. The New Panda is just the first member of a family that is destined to grow in time: the 4x4 version and the outgoing off-roader, will be the next to follow it over the next few years.
Style and character. Evident from an original, dynamic shape that makes it look for all the world like a small SUV. Plus new design interiors that confirm the impression of great quality that the model conveys at first glance. An appealing car that may be customised with the wide array of accessories on offer.
Technology and innovation are the key words that define the New Panda experience. Hence the new car comes with engines that are lively performers but decidedly thrifty when it comes to fuel consumption (the results are among the best in the car’s category) and represent an effective solution in and out of town. Pride of place goes to the 70 bhp 1.3 16v Multijet engine, the best automotive engineering can offer in the small turbodiesel field. These power units are combined with reliable, innovative gearboxes such as the Dualogic.
The new Fiat city car is also one of the safest superminis in its category. The credit goes to the many sophisticated devices and systems adopted to ensure preventive, active and passive safety. Not to mention the fact that once you climb aboard, you discover the great pleasure of driving and travelling due above all to the automatic air conditioner and Skydome sunroof.
Lastly, the New Panda is a car of substance and quality. It was created using robust design technology for which Fiat deployed its best resources and most sophisticated procedures. The result is a reliable, top-quality car that boasts exclusive equipment within the safety and comfort field. For example, the torsional stiffness of the bodyshell is among the best in its segment (70,500 daNm/rad) while the New Panda is the only car in its category to have 99% of its interior surface lined. And more. The new supermini has passed the toughest tests to ensure maximum protection of driver and passengers.
All these features make the New Panda a fun pint-sized car that also represents fantastic value for money with its winning package of features, running costs and resale value.
Ergonomics and roominess worthy of a higher category car
No-one buying a supermini today is prepared to give up the comfort he would find on a bigger car: in almost two thirds of cases, such cars are the second or even the third household car. Customers are therefore used to comfort standards typical of higher segment cars and tend to use these as a benchmark.
In the New Panda’s case, we needed to reconcile the dinky external dimensions with ample passenger room even for tall people. The result is a surprisingly big car: available interior volume is 2.49 m3, one of the best results in the category. This has also been achieved without affecting the luggage capacity that stands at 206 litres (with fixed rear seat). This sets the New Panda at the top of the supermini segment not to mention the fact that the carrying capacity reaches 236 litres in the version with sliding seat.
The front seats, for example, score outstandingly well for all percentiles on the SAE scale (1-99). In practice, this means that people of all sizes can be seated in comfort. Plenty of space is also available in the rear, where even the tallest passengers can be seated in great comfort. The overall vehicle passenger room coefficient is more than 68%, one of the best results in the mini category. The front passenger room is one of the best in its segment with 1346 millimetres (shoulder room).
Yet passenger room is about more than mere figures. It means in-car wellbeing. This is why the New Panda designers devoted special attention to passenger posture and seat configuration. And the seats deserve a special mention.
The seats were produced in accordance with principles developed by Prof. Dal Monte, head of the Biomechanics Department at the CONI Sport Medicine Institute and represent a factor of primary importance when it comes to comfort and safety. This specific part must absorb kinetic energy acquired by the body due to the effect of cornering stresses and also accelerating and decelerating. The front seats come in two types: with a fixed cushion, standard on Actual, Active and Dynamic versions; with a height adjustable cushion (for the driver) and with a compartment beneath the seat (for the passenger), standard on the Emotion version (an option on the Dynamic specification). The configuration of both seats is optimized for antisubmarining (to prevent the body sliding forward beneath the seat-belt in case of head-on impact). The front seats are extremely comfortable and offer an outstanding postural angle due to their special pattern of padding. Moving backwards, the rear seats come in three types:
one-piece with two and three seats;
split with two places;
split and sliding with two places.
All the rear seats come with a one-piece cushion with antisubmarining function plus a backrest that folds down to create a big load compartment (up to 775 dm3). The structural dimensions of the seats also ensure maximum occupant safety because they are sturdy enough to resist all types of impact and prevent luggage flying forward.
Versions with split and split/sliding rear seats come with a backrest split 50:50. This solution allows even better use to be made of the passenger compartment interior. This seat is also very versatile because it can be operated with great ease from inside the passenger compartment and also from the rear part of the luggage compartment via independent strips. On Dynamic and Emotion versions, these two seats can also be fitted with ISOFIX attachments to carry children aged up to 10 in safety. The sliding seat backrest may also be adjusted to three positions.
A specific response to every need
It is no exaggeration to claim that anyone can find a New Panda that ideally suits their requirements and tastes. Customers can choose between:
two gearboxes (one a manual 5-speed and one a Dualogic transmission with sequential automatic operation or automatic operation in Economy mode);
four specifications (Actual, Active, Dynamic, Emotion);
11 body colours;
three different interior cloth trims (two shades are available: yellow and blue).
All in all, a range that offers everyone their ideal vehicle equipped with all the devices that are currently available for a car. Even those that were, until recently, reserved for cars of higher segments.
The extremely high number of possibilities is borne out by the fact that the same specification can come with different standard equipment items according to the destination market. The Actual and Active versions are very far from being utility cars with the following supplied as standard: driver’s airbag, tinted windows, heated rear window, rear wiper and twin door mirrors adjustable by hand from inside. In addition, the Active version fits integral wheel trims, adhesive liners on the door pillars and a passenger-side mirror.
The Dynamic specification adds: special trim, painted windows and grille, facia compartment, ABS, Dualdrive, central locking and twin front airbag. As an alternative, the Dynamic specification offers three packs with remote control and active handle on the tailgate, roof bars and black strips, plus: radio CD player, steering wheel controls, hi-fi with subwoofer, foglight and electric mirrors (Hi-Fi pack); manual climate control system and courtesy mirror on the driver’s side (CLASS pack); Skydome electric sunroof, foglight and courtesy mirror on the driver’s side (SKY pack).
Lastly, those who seek the ultimate in terms of equipment can opt for the Emotion version that offers the following extras: special cloth trims, alloy wheels, roof bars, black side strips, automatic climate control system, radio CD player, electric door mirrors, height-adjustable front seat, rear head-restraint, remote control and active handle on the tailgate. Lastly, a commercial New Panda version is due to go on sale from September in Poland and the following month in Italy.
This vehicle offers the original design and handling of a supermini coupled with all the practicality and load capacity (up to 1000 litres) of a higher category model. The New Panda Van is ideal for light transport because it not only offers plenty of space but is also destined to assume a leading role in the small light commercial vehicle segment.
The roomy load compartment offers an effective length of 1150 mm, and effective height of 1000 mm and a width that ranges from a minimum of 1020 mm (between wheelarches) to a maximum of 1220 mm. Load volume is 1 m3 while payload is 505 kg (including driver).
The load compartment is separated from the passenger compartment by a steel partition and covered in a black washable mat. It is fitted with 4 hooks for securing loads. The partition also meets the toughest safety requirements set out in DIN 75410 Standard Part 2 specifications.
The rear side windows and back window are darkened to keep transported goods away from prying eyes. This also makes the van look more attractive. The compartment is very regular and so accessible that it makes loading and unloading operations easy under all conditions. This is also helped by the rear side doors and a ground clearance of 560 mm.
The New Panda Van comes as standard with ABS and EBD, driver’s airbag and normal-sized spare wheel. Customers can choose between two power units: the 54 bhp Fire 1.1 8v and the 70 bhp 1.3 Multijet. The ride settings of the commercial vehicle differ from that of the car with suspension stiffness and shock absorber settings both being different. Small size, exclusive equipment and superlative engines make the New Panda Van the ideal workmate for urban transport in heavy traffic with stop and go driving patterns.
The New Panda is a multipurpose supermini with a surprising amount of interior space. Despite its pint-sized interior (it is 354 centimetres long, 158 wide and 154 high with a wheelbase of 230 centimetres) it offers passenger room at the peak of its category and boasts one of the best Cd results in its segment: 0.33. These are winning attributes for this originally-designed car and immediately make you feel like jumping aboard and setting off. This is, in any case, Fiat’s new approach to creating cars.
The New Panda’s well-proportioned, dynamic exterior shape is also distinguished by an extra dash of elegance. The result is a range unlike any other car that combines aesthetic satisfaction with superlative practicality and the greatest comfort. All in all, the New Panda reveals itself at first glance to be a car that can meet all the needs of up-to-date, smart cookies. The front end confirms the car’s membership of the Fiat family. All the front features blend harmoniously with one another: rectangular headlights join an understated grille to create a pleasing visual effect. The bumper shield features a lower air intake that develops along its entire width and fits effectively into the front end to ensure optimum protection against minor impacts while still increasing the impression of a sturdy, safe car. This impression is also reinforced by a bumper that tapers off toward the front and joins firmly to the windscreen as on a true MPV. The same MPV practicality is suggested by the side view, due to the outstanding way the shape of the front end and windscreen match the upright rump. The side, in particular, is given structure by a dihedron that runs along its length. The resulting load-bearing structure, combined with the very evident wheelarches, gives the New Panda a feeling of great solidity but also of accentuated dynamism.
The upper part deserves a separate mention. Here the bow-shaped windows in both doors are linked in an original way (through the quarter light) with the tail-lights to give shape to an unmistakeable graphic motif. This distinctive feature of the new model also recurs in the alloy wheel trim and hub design. Generously-sized wheels also help create an image of a substantial, practical car.
The same effect of dynamic stability is evident at the rear of the New Panda. The upright configuration emphasises the model’s generous versatility while also contributing to the idea of a sturdy, reliable vehicle. The design of the vertical headlights is also original. They look like two lighted towers that reinforce the impression of sturdiness while also giving the model a pronounced personality of its own. A generous tailgate also aids access to the big luggage compartment, a feature particularly appreciated by customers in this segment. At the rear, the bumpers fit in perfectly with the car’s tail end.
Customers can choose from a lively range of non-metallic and metallic colours, These eleven shades add an extra touch of style to the car and make it even more fun and bubbly. Non-metallic shades are as follows: white, Titian red, Guacamole green, Vanilla yellow, Cocktail blue and Dry turquoise. Metallic colours are as follows: Steel grey, Theseus blue, black, Scylla red and Sparkling light blue.
New interior design
From original exterior styling to new design interiors. Despite its small size, once you climb aboard the New Panda you will be amazed at the size of its passenger compartment and interior space. And more. The high driving position and oceans of glass with rear quarter lights allow you full mastery of the road. The cockpit is made even more comfortable by the ergonomic control position, the legroom and the great freedom of movement in the upper area of the passenger compartment.
The up-to-date, appealing facia design is also pleasing and practical. Suffice it to say that all the controls are within easy reach on the central console: the gearlever on the lower part assures outstanding manoeuvrability in complete safety. The heater controls are arranged in the middle close to the original round outlets. The radio is built into the upper part and offers exceptional visibility without distracting you from your driving.
>The door panel design also blends into that of the facia and offers a mix of practical and aesthetically pleasing features. Examples include: an original cloth-trimmed island, a convenient armrest with handle and a roomy oddment pouch lower down. The seats are also very comfortable. This is partly due to their excellent lateral containment, a feature particularly appreciated by those who prefer a sporty drive. A surprisingly wide rear seat and ample available space combine to create a very comfortable environment for rear passengers as well. The possibility of folding the rear seat backrest, aided by the upright position of the tailgate, offers a load compartment of considerable size.
The passenger compartment design is complemented by a rectangular-shaped luggage compartment that is large and easy to use despite the exterior supermini configuration. The New Panda’s body colours are matched on the inside by brand-new bright trim shades that are better quality than anything offered by the competition in this category. It all adds up to a bright environment that is made even more stylish by the colour contrast between the controls (darker in colour) and the well-proportioned surfaces. Each of the three specifications offers interior trims with different cloths and decorations, each available in two bright colours: yellow and blue.
The New Panda accessory range was designed by the Fiat Style Centre in conjunction with the new model. It offers all customers, even the most demanding, a wide choice of solutions that suit the car perfectly and emphasise its attributes. These accessories emphasise the model’s practicality and versatility while also meeting the functional and emotional needs of any customer. Here are some of the numerous possibilities of customising your New Panda to your own tastes.
Those who seek out-and-out sports customisation can choose a kit including sideskirts and a spoiler on the tailgate. You can also choose one of two different types of 14" alloy wheels combined with 165/65 tyres. Inside, sports aficionados can order aluminium pedals with rubber inserts in addition to a leather steering wheel and gear knob.
Other items offer a stylish, comfortable complement to the interior specifications. They can be chosen in accordance with personal tastes and needs. Other features include up-to-the-minute turbulence deflectors and mats in rubber or carpet. Not forgetting that the New Panda Accessory range also offers practical items that can be used to make the most of interior space. For this purpose, we have created nets in various shapes and sizes to be secured in the boot and under the load compartment parcel rack. For example, a net separates the luggage compartment from the rest of the passenger compartment, ideal for animal lovers because it allows pets to be carried in safety. You can also order a handy tray that protects the load compartment and allows you to load any items or materials with peace of mind.
Other accessories cater for leisure use, such as stylish transverse roof bars. These aluminium bars fasten to the roof rails and can be used to carry bicycle holders, surfboard holders and ski holders. All versions also come with a provision for bolting conventional bars directly onto the roof.
A huge array of child seats (built for various ages and weights) allows you to carry the smallest passengers in safety. Because the New Panda is equipped with special Isofix attachments, you can also fit a special Kiddy Isofix seat for children up to 18 kg. The Accessory range offers various types of antitheft device from a conventional system to the satellite system that is the most sophisticated of all car protection devices.
The decision to buy a supermini often comes about due to considerations of overall low running cost. The New Panda does not disappoint: the new model comes with engines that deliver a spirited performance but are decidedly thrifty on fuel. This makes them a viable proposition for use around town and out of town. Two are petrol units, a 54 bhp 1.1 unit and a 60 bhp 1.2 unit, both with 8 valves and members of the Fire family that boasts more than ten million power units produced to date. The third is the 70 bhp 1.3 16v Multijet engine, the best automotive engineering can offer in the small turbodiesel field. This diverse engine range meets a range of application and mileage requirements. And also meets growing awareness of the need for environmental respect. All the New Panda power units meet Euro 3 and Euro 4 emission limits (according to the market).
Ideal around town: 54 bhp Fire 1.1 8v
This tried and tested, supremely reliable engine has already been used on successful models such as the Seicento and first Panda. The torque delivery curve ensures a satisfying drive around town while keeping fuel consumption down and offering the sort of peak performance that sets the version at the top of its category.
This youthful, eager engine is a 4 cylinder in-line unit from the Fire family. It develops a power output of 54 bhp (40 kW) at 5000 rpm while the torque rises to a maximum value of 9 kgm (88 Nm) at 2750 rpm. The result: scintillating acceleration (from 0 to 100 km/h in 15 seconds) and a top speed of 150 km/h.
Bore and stroke specifications are 72 x 70 mm. The cylinder head is two valves per cylinder but with a single overhead camshaft driven by a toothed belt. The tappets are driven directly. The crankcase is in cast iron with an aluminium cylinder head. The oil sump is made out of sheet steel. The lubrication system on the 1108 cc is forced circulation type with coaxial gear pump and full flow filter.
This layout is in keeping with the specific vocation of this power unit to offer running economy, low emissions and frugal fuel consumption.
Over a combined route, the 1100 engine consumes 5.7 l/100 km, an absolutely outstanding result. The engine also ensures low fuel consumption over an urban cycle (7.2 litres/100 km) and out of town (4.8 litres).
Comfort con brio: 60 bhp Fire 1.2 8v
The tried and tested 1242 cc Fire power unit makes its arrival on the New Panda after undergoing a whole series of refinements to make it a paragon of fuel thrift without affecting performance. The power unit generates a power output of 44 kW (60 bhp) at 5000 rpm and propels the car to a top speed of 155 km/h. And more. When equipped with a 1.2 8v engine, the New Panda excels in two areas. Firstly, the 5.6 litres of fuel it consumes per one hundred kilometres over a combined cycle, one of the best results in its category. And its pick-up time over one thousand metres is also superlative: 36 seconds. This result is outstanding when you consider it is achieved by a car capable of such low fuel consumption. The result is due to the way the power unit is configured, i.e. for high torque at low rpm (for a more satisfying, flexible drive) and ratios selected to ensure good fuel economy. Hence a torque of 102 Nm (10.4 kgm) at 2500 rpm with fuel consumption of 7.1 l/100 km (urban cycle), 4.8 l/100 km (extraurban cycle) and 5.6 l/100 km (combined cycle). The results achieved with the Dualogic gearbox are respectively: 6.8 l/100 km, 4.6 l/100 km and 5.4 l/100 km.
These attractive results are achieved through certain effective improvements. For example, the car comes with new convergent/divergent intake ducts and new cam profiles that optimise power unit fluid flow for improved efficiency. Again with the aim of reducing fuel consumption, the engineers chose an active knock sensor that can manage advance effectively under all conditions and above all the Marelli I.A.W. phased sequential multipoint injection system that was, until recently, found only on models with more sophisticated power units. Performance has been improved through the use of a specially developed electronic control system based on a new generation Marelli electronic control unit able to communicate on-line with the electronic devices in the vehicle through serial lines. Quality of life on board has been improved by optimising the efficiency of the intake and exhaust systems.
The mating clearance between crankshaft and crankcase has also been optimised through computerised selection of main bearings. A special installation system has also been developed for the engine in the engine compartment. This minimises the transfer of engine vibrations to the body. In particular, a barycentre power unit mounting system has been developed that consists of two blocks plus a reaction rod that acts as a link. The new mounts are aligned along an axis that passes through the engine’s centre of gravity to obtain reaction forces with zero offset. An efficient engine and also a clean engine. On the environmental front, the 1.2 8v features a catalytic converter located in the engine compartment and welded to the side of the exhaust manifold. The device is highly efficient in this position because it can reach very high temperatures in very short times and thus reduce emissions even when the power unit is heating. The array of equipment designed to minimise the environmental impact of the New Panda 1.2 8v is complemented by a returnless fuel supply system.
A new auxiliary drive circuit has also been developed for improved reliability. This features built in mountings in aluminium squeeze casting (computer modelled) and an automatic low torque tensioner.
The diesel of the future: 70 bhp 1.3 16v Multijet
The New Panda can be powered by the 1.3 16v Multijet, the smallest, most advanced of the second-generation Common Rail direct injection diesels. The 1.3 16v Multijet is a 1251 cc 4 cylinder in line power unit with a bore of just 69.6 mm and a long 82 mm stroke. The four valves per cylinder are driven directly by a twin overhead camshaft. Maximum power output is 51 kW at 4000 rpm (70 bhp) and the torque delivered is 145 Nm (14.8 kgm) at just 1500 rpm.
All in all, the 1.3 16v Multijet is a true masterpiece of miniaturised technology: when clad with all its accessories, it weighs just 130 kg. Its size is small at less than 50 centimetres in length and 65 in height. The component layout has been designed to ensure it takes up the smallest possible space. Yet it guarantees the same advantages as bigger engines because it has not been reduced but miniaturised.
The power unit has thus been planned to meet requirements of the greatest rationalism, efficiency and reliability and is the smallest Common Rail four-cylinder diesel on the market. The only power unit that can pack no fewer than six normal-sized components into a cylinder with a diameter of less than 70 mm, namely four valves, an injector and a glow plug. The new engine also adds another record to this major feat of miniaturisation: it is the most powerful.
Despite a truly miniscule cylinder capacity of 1251 cc, the pocket Multijet comes out top when compared with all the small diesels with fixed geometry turbines currently present on the market. Even the ones you hear most about. Suffice it to say that it offers the best specific performance of any diesel engine with 800 to 1500 cc of cylinder capacity, power output of 41 kW/l and torque of 116 Nm/l.
This compact, technologically sophisticated new engine also offers outstanding efficiency and is practically guaranteed for life. The 1.3 16v Multijet is designed to last for 250,000 km instead of the usual 150,000.
During this long lifetime, it does not require any maintenance to mechanical parts (even the normally essential fan belt change at 80,000 km is not required). The oil change intervals have also been increased from 20 to 30,000 km. The oil is naturally low viscosity (i.e. designed for fuel economy) and environmentally friendly.
And more. The 1.3 Multijet 16v is environmentally friendly because it already meets Euro 4 emission limits not due to come into force until 2006. It is also one of the very few cars in the world that has been able to achieve this result without the need for a sophisticated exhaust post-treatment device such as a particulate trap. All in all, an intrinsically clean car: The particulate emission level (responsible for dust and fine dust) - for example - is even lower than that established by the forthcoming Euro 4 standard.
Last but not least, the performance figures for a New Panda equipped with the 1.3 16v Multijet are outstanding: top speed is 160 km/h and the car takes just 13 seconds to accelerate from 0 to 100 km/h. Fuel consumption figures are amongst the best in the segment: 5.4 l/100 km over an urban cycle, 3.7 l/100 km for an extraurban cycle and 4.3 l/100 km over mixed routes.
The 1.3 16v Multijet therefore represents a veritable technological leap that will allow Fiat to tap into growing market interest for diesels, particularly small diesels. Due to their cylinder capacity, low weight, low emissions and advantageous performance-fuel consumption ratios, the diesel market share is growing sharply even in low segments. The figure was 5% in 1997, nowadays it is close to 20% and over the next three years it should rise to 30-40%.
These results mean that the market for this type of engine should - if the estimates are correct - quickly rise to 1,500,000 units. The new model versions equipped with the sophisticated 1.3 16v Multijet engine could carve out a significant niche within this market. Because if it is true that, as the history of diesel has taught us, the product drives the market, Fiat is again in the vanguard of change and ready to introduce new models to make the most of the change it helped to create. As far as customers are concerned, the fact that all the engineering is packed into the small 1.3 16v Multijet means a reduction in fuel consumption and emissions. All this comes with:
lower noise levels (if we imagine the cylinder combustion to be like striking a drum: striking a small drum three times is less noisy than striking a large drum once);
greater comfort: fewer alternating masses means less vibration;
smooth, gentle drive due to outstanding torque progression (in turn guaranteed by the possibility of greater control of combustion, moment by moment);
the flexibility and prompt responses of a diesel engine that resembles petrol engines more and more due to its wide rpm range (e.g. you no longer feel the fuel cut-off at just over 4000 rpm);
the environmentally-friendly features that allow this engine to improve on the best green feature of a diesel, i.e. fuel consumption, by minimising its main defect, i.e. particulate emissions.
Reliable, sophisticated gearboxes
A range of reliable, sturdy and sophisticated gearboxes has been developed to match the engine range on offer for the New Panda: one is a five-speed manual and the other is sequential robotised.
Firstly, the five speed version of the manual gearbox is available on all three engines in the range. The device can transmit a torque of up to 14.8 kgm and offers reduced dimensions coupled with outstanding selection lever manoeuvrability. This has been achieved by reducing clutch driven plate inertia and introducing new gaskets. The gearbox configuration is transverse with two shafts in a cascade, while the gear mechanism is internal over four selection planes. The exterior mechanism is twin cable type to filter out engine operating noise and vibrations transmitted from engine to gear lever. The gear teeth offer high meshing capacity while the fifth speed and final drive gear sets are machined to a superfinish after heat treatment (for lower noise levels). The gear casings are light and very effective at absorbing noise. The gear cases are developed using finite element structural computing methods.
The New Panda manual gearbox is also equipped with a syringe mechanism to prevent involuntary reverse engagement.
The Dualogic gearbox deserves a separate mention since it is a veritable gem of engineering. The device will be available from the beginning of 2004 and is combined with the manual gearbox fitted to 1.2 8v versions.
It offers an innovative transmission system. On this, an automatic servo device automates the clutch and gear lever to retain all the attributes of a dry clutch and manual gearbox (weight, strength and reliability, low energy consumption).
This sophisticated device improves the performance of the manual mechanical transmission components while increasing driving safety via a control system that stops the driver making mistakes and prevents incorrect transmission system manoeuvres.
Two operating modes are available: semiautomatic and automatic. The first adopts more advanced control strategies to assure peak performance whether the power unit runs on petrol or diesel. Speeds are engaged by means of a lever on the facia. Because no clutch pedal is present, the device is controlled simply by moving the lever: forward to change up (towards the + symbol), back to change down (toward the - symbol). A simple push is sufficient to ensure the transmission makes a fast, accurate gear change.
In detail, the Dualogic transmission operates in semiautomatic mode as follows. Electrical signals reach the control unit via the CAN (Controller Area Network) and may be grouped in two main subsets. One set of data comes from the gearbox area and identifies the position of shift, selection and clutch, hydraulic kit service pressure and also clutch speed of rotation. The other set consists of all the signals received from other New Panda systems (e.g. engine and brake system) that help define the gear change in a precise, repeatable manner.
The Dualogic system uses these two groups of information to manage comfortable or sports drive in manual or automatic mode and using different operating strategies. It does this by mapping pedal position (interpreted as performance requests as the values increase) and engine rpm.
Once the New Panda has been started, pressure on the brake pedal confirms to the system that the driver is present in the driver’s seat. First gear or reverse may then be engaged (the second may be engaged to set off if the ground is slippery). To ensure safety and prevent undesired gear changes, the system engages neutral when the engine is still running and the door has been opened. The Dualogic device also prevents errors that could damage the engine or gearbox by indicating emergency situations or manoeuvres that are not allowed by means of visual and acoustic alarms.
When in automatic mode, the Dualogic system offers two options: Normal and Economy. The Normal strategy offers outstanding driving comfort to assure scintillating gearshifts under all conditions. The Economy strategy is used when you wish to reduce fuel consumption while still maintaining top level handling and driving comfort.
With both options, the system stretches to a higher ratio once the rpm level has been reached, when the engine delivers maximum torque or power. In automatic mode, the system recognises the road gradient (by means of a software algorithm) and modifies the gear shift point to ensure the best possible compromise between the driver’s needs, ground conditions and vehicle situation (speed and engine rpm) at all times.
Another specific feature of the Dualogic is its ability to assess vehicle deceleration and adjust downshifts. In semiautomatic mode, for example, the system allows downshifts, particularly when the driver demands a lower gear to take a corner at speed during a sporty drive. In automatic mode, the system anticipates the downshift to ensure the driver can always call on the most appropriate speed to maintain the required comfort level or fuel saving. The Dualogic is the best compromise for those who prefer an automatic but do not wish to give up the satisfaction and fun of a manual gearbox.
During frontal or rear impact, a car protects its occupants effectively if its structure is able to absorb most of the energy generated by impact and transfer as little as possible to the passengers. The New Panda benefits from a new chassis with two load lines that dissipate forces striking the car. A continuous system comprises front struts, rear struts and underfloor rails that run along the length of the New Panda to allow gradual, progressive crumpling proportional to the severity of impact.
This crumpling is made possible by the use of high-strength materials of differential rigidity and thickness that are designed to sustain low-speed impact without damage while also absorbing the energy of high-speed impact and safeguarding the passenger compartment. The pushrods and line of struts are linked vertically at the top by a part specific to the New Panda. Their purpose is to prevent stress reaching the upper part of the car, particularly when the vehicle strikes the rear of a truck.
Body The outer body also plays an important role in safeguarding passengers in the case of an accident. It helps support the chassis during front and rear impacts and also plays a key role in side impacts. This achievement is due to the broad cross-section of rails and central pillars and also to the presence of box-section rails in the roof and a beam connecting the central pillars. The use of panels with two layers of zinc coating on both chassis and body defy corrosion and ensure that structural performance is maintained throughout the car’s life.
Doors To improve safety, the side doors are fitted with hinges and catches that are larger than required by standards and designed to ensure they do not open accidentally during impact but can be easily opened afterwards. Most importantly, they are rigidly reinforced at the waist-line and contain conventional high-strength steel bars that increase protection against side impact.
Underfacia beam A high strength beam under the facia acts as a sturdy connection between both front pillars and the floor. It helps ensure the indeformability of the entire front area of the passenger compartment. It also acts as a support to the steering column and prevents the steering wheel from moving forward or moving back toward the driver during impact.
Bonnet Even the bonnet has been designed with preset collapse lines that act in conjunction with the retaining hooks to prevent it penetrating the windscreen in the case of accident. Front and rear suspension One of the briefs given to the designers allocated to the Panda project was to create a suspension system capable of higher-category performance levels. The system had to ensure great driving ease and precision, outstanding roadholding and the best possible passenger comfort. Hence the choice of two efficient, tried and tested layouts that work very effectively due to the attributes of the new chassis.
At the front, an independent MacPherson layout that, on versions with power assisted steering, employs a torsion bar connected to the shock absorber by a rod (a solution so far only used on higher segment vehicles). In this case, the suspension ensures a greater ability to filter out vibrations due to driving over rough ground and has been improved by the adoption of:
new design coil springs that increase the absorption of minor surface roughness;
wishbones with rubber and metal front bushes and new vertical rear bushes in rubber and metal. The bushes contain more rubber and offer an excellent compromise between vibrational comfort and roadholding on corners (handling) through radial stiffness differentiation;
mechanical beam designed to accept the new wishbones and fitted with body attachments without the interposition of flexible elements;
double-acting telescopic hydraulic shock absorbers (perform differently during compression and stretching) located beneath the floor to improve comfort without detracting from boot space;
elliptical dome blocks to ensure the steering axle camber for the version with mechanical steering (i.e. where camber is determined to achieve the right compromise between steering precision/response and steering effort during parking manoeuvres or at low speeds) and for the version with power assisted steering (where camber is determined to prioritise driving precision and response).
The rear configuration is an interconnected wheel (semi-independent) suspension with a torsion beam, a solution already adopted on higher category cars. The layout was popular in the past and then fell into disuse but has now come back into favour due to the possibilities offered by new technologies. This configuration combines the traditional benefits of a simple, streamlined layout with standards of comfort and handling once obtainable only with very sophisticated suspension systems.
This solution offers driver and passengers:
great comfort because the level of noise and vibration entering the passenger compartment is lower due to single (metal and rubber) bushes attaching the rear axle to the body and an optimised underfloor shock absorber angle;
greater driving stability due to the bushes attaching the rear axle to the body. While cornering, they generate a wheel toe-in effect that ensures superlative driving stability even under difficult conditions. They also display great longitudinal flexibility;
improved handling achieved through the use of a folded sheet steel torsion beam that ensures ideal torsional rigidity to the suspension and thus an outstanding balance between vehicle front and rear for optimal weight distribution.
The New Panda offers personality-packed styling, up-to-date and dependable mechanical components, a wealth of features and great comfort. What is more, it is also very safe. The safety comes not so much from individual components but from the sum of all the parts adopted to make the New Panda one of the safest cars in its segment.
Firstly, the New Panda’s braking system features two independent crossover hydraulic circuits to assure responsive, gradual braking and shorter stopping distances. Pedal travel is short so that brake servo specifications may be exploited to the full.
Front discs are 240 mm in diameter and solid on vehicles with 1.2 8v and 1.1 8v engines, ventilated on versions equipped with the 1.3 16v Multijet. The rear brakes are drums (180 x 30) on all versions and feature self-centring shoes and automatic play take-up to ensure a short pedal travel that remains constant over time and also more responsive braking. The 9 inch brake servo also facilitates braking and makes it more effective by reducing the effort required on the pedal. On right hand drive versions with ESP, the pedals and drive trains have been radically revised to obtain shorter travels and modulate braking action more effectively. Active and Actual versions with a 1.1 8v engine and no ABS are equipped with a dual valve in-line system (VIL) on the brake pump. The valves distribute brake force correctly to the rear axle under all load conditions, so reducing stopping distances. The load proportioning valve is, of course, electronic on versions with ABS.
ABS The ABS fitted to the New Panda (Bosch 8) offers four active sensors, four channels, an electronic control unit and eight solenoids. It is completed by an EBD (Electronic Brake Distribution).
This system ensures that any wheel at the point of locking can brake as effectively as possible. In emergency situations, it also allows full directional control of the car by means of the steering wheel.
The strength of the system lies in the active sensors that process the wheel speeds (without the intervention of the control unit). They can also read values close to zero (passive sensors cannot record speeds lower than 2.5 km/h) and are less sensitive to interference caused by electromagnetic fields.
This advanced ABS is complemented by an electronic brakeforce distributor EBD. This divides braking action over all four wheels to prevent the rear wheels from locking and ensures a balanced car response under all conditions. The system also adapts system operation to wheel grip conditions and pad efficiency. It also reduces front brake temperatures and the brake servo thrust requirement.
An ABS comes as standard on versions equipped with 1.2 and 1.3 16v Multijet engines but is an option on the 1.1 8v.
ESP To ensure greater mastery of the car, the New Panda is the only vehicle in its category to offer the sophisticated Electronic Stability Program. The ESP, available from the beginning of 2004, cuts in under extreme conditions when car stability is at risk and also helps the driver to control the car. To achieve this result, the ESP continually monitors tyre grip in both longitudinal and lateral directions. If the car skids, it cuts in to restore directionality and ride stability. It uses sensors to detect rotation of the car about its vertical axis (yaw speed), car lateral acceleration and the steering wheel angle set by the driver (which indicates the chosen direction). It then goes on to compare these data with parameters generated by a computer and establishes - via a complex mathematical model - whether the car is cornering within its grip limits or if the front or rear is about to skid (understeer or oversteer).
To restore the correct trajectory, it then generates a yawing movement in the opposite direction to the movement that gave rise to the instability by braking the appropriate wheel (interior or exterior) individually and reducing engine power (via the throttle). And here lies the specific advantage of the device created for the New Panda. It acts in a modulated fashion on the brakes to ensure the action is as smooth as possible (and the drive is not therefore disturbed). The engine power reduction is contained to ensure outstanding performance and great driving satisfaction at all times. The ESP is permanently engaged. ASR and MSR The New Panda is fitted with a very sophisticated automatic traction control device to restrict drive wheel slip in the case of reduced road grip. This is known as ASR (Anti Slip Regulation) and comes as standard on all versions equipped with ESP. The ASR works at any speed and acts on the torque according to the measured grip coefficient. The device computes degree of slip on the basis of wheel rpm calculated by the ABS sensors and activates two different control systems to restore grip:
# when an excessive power demand causes both drive wheels to slip (e.g. in the case of aquaplaning or when accelerating over an unsurfaced, snowy or icy road), it reduces engine torque by reducing the throttle opening angle and thus air flow;
# if only one wheel slips (e.g. the inside wheel following acceleration or dynamic load changes), this is automatically braked without the driver touching the brake pedal. The resulting effect is similar to that of a self-locking differential.
The ASR maintains vehicle safety as much as possible and is particularly useful when grip is lost (icy multi-storey car park ramps are one example) and whenever the asphalt does not guarantee even friction.
Another not inconsiderable advantage of the ASR is the lower stress exerted on mechanical parts such as the differential and gearbox due to more effective control of low speed take-off and traction.
The ASR comes on automatically whenever the engine is started. To turn off the device, all you have to do is press a switch on the central console. When the ASR is active, a warning light on the control panel flashes.
A control panel warning light comes on (with the switch led off), to indicate system faults or irregularities. ASR deactivation is required when snow chains are used because the wheel must be able to slip by tiny amounts to pile up the snow so that force can be transmitted to the ground and the ASR tends to avoid this type of action.
The MSR (Motor Schleppmoment Regelung) cuts in when the gear is shifted down abruptly in conditions of low grip. This device restores torque to the engine to prevent the wheel skidding as a result of lock.
HBA The New Panda is fitted with a device to assist with emergency stops. On vehicles with ESP, the function is carried out electronically by the ABS control unit and is referred to as HBA (Hydraulic Brake Assistance).
In emergency braking situations, most drivers recognise a situation of danger and press the brake pedal very quickly. But not, however, with sufficient force. This is because people, unless they are professional drivers, are used to applying a certain load to the brake pedal. Because people tend to switch to autopilot mode when they carry out repetitive actions, the same level of force tends to be applied in all circumstances.
On the new model, however, the brake assist devices cut in at this point. Although the pressure on the pedal is unchanged, the car is decelerated by the same amount as it would be if it were braked with all the necessary force.
And there is more. Emergency brake assist devices can even help experienced drivers who brake quickly and apply the correct amount of force in emergencies. This is because the system reduces brake activation time in all cases, i.e. the period between the time when pressure begins to be applied to the pedal and the moment when the circuit reaches maximum pressure and is able to offer maximum performance.
Hill Holder The Hill Holder helps drivers on hill starts. It operates when the ESP control unit perceives a change in vehicle gradient by means of a longitudinal acceleration sensor located on the floor under the passenger seat. During hill starts, the control unit is ready to intervene when first gear is engaged and both brake and clutch pedals are pressed. Front calliper pressure is thus maintained for about 1.5 seconds after the brake pedal is released so that the driver can set off with ease. The Hill Holder function does not operate when setting off downhill with the first speed engaged. The system performs in the same way with reverse engaged: during downhill starts, the system is active but deactivated during hill starts.
The model represents the state of the art in the field of passive safety systems. This is borne out by fifteen thousand hours of mathematical modelling, eighty crash tests, seventy simulations on a HyGe slide and one hundred and forty tests on components and subsystems. These numbers demonstrate the company’s commitment to making the New Panda one of the safest cars in its segment.
In-depth studies were carried out on exterior and interior components from the design stage to create a vehicle structure that is stiff around the passenger compartment (to protect occupants against objects entering the car). The areas outside the passenger compartment, on the other hand, offer high energy-absorbing capacity.
This protection is completed by special dedicated safety devices. Beginning with airbags (up to six may be fitted), three-point seat-belts with pretensioners and load limiters, adjustable head-restraints and an FPS Fire Prevention System. And including a new chassis designed to absorb impact with maximum efficacy. The service continues with occupant protection provided by the body, bonnet, doors and facia beam.
And we must not overlook the contribution to passive safety provided by other features such as the seats or door panels. Although these parts fulfil a different function, they have also been designed with a view to their behaviour in the case of accidents. Front airbags A driver’s airbag is standard throughout the range while a passenger airbag is standard on Emotion and Dynamic specifications (optional on the other two). Both airbags ensure that the maximum size and shape assumed by the bag is as uninvasive as possible for customers.
The front passenger airbag can also be deactivated manually by operating a switch inside the glove compartment using the ignition key. A baby can therefore be carried in a child seat with its back facing the direction of motion (though the pretensioner remains active).
Sidebags The New Panda comes with two front sidebags (options on Emotion and Dynamic versions) to protect passengers pelvises and chests even when the vehicle is struck from the side. These are located inside the seat squab to ensure a position that ensures the best possible occupant defence, regardless of stature, position assumed and seat adjustment.
Window bags These airbags are fitted as options on Emotion and Dynamic specifications and drop down along the windows to safeguard the passengers’ heads in the case of side impact. The window bags adopted on the New Panda are more protective than other types because they extend to a wide area and support themselves effectively even without a backing. They also effectively safeguard the heads of both front and rear passengers because they extend along the entire width of the window. Two bags (one on the right and the other on the left) are located under the roof rails where they are folded into a closed compartment. At the appropriate moment, the covering bends open to allow the bags to expand and drop downward.
Seat-belts and head-restraints
The New Panda is equipped with front seat-belts complete with reel, pretensioner and load limiter. In case of impact, an electronically-controlled pyrotechnic pretensioner rewinds the belt within a few milliseconds so that it fits snugly to the body. The front reels contain load limiters that yield in a controlled manner to modulate the force exercised on the shoulders of the belt wearer. The rear seats are also equipped with seat-belts with reels.
The front head-restraints also come in two types: on the Emotion version, these are sealed and height adjustable while on other specifications they are fixed. The rear head-restraints (standard on the Emotion and options on the other three specifications) assume a single position that protects even the tallest people. When lowered, the rear passengers are bound to use them because of their shape. They are fixed and padded on five-seater versions.
Control unit and sensors
As we have seen, the New Panda is equipped with all the most advanced passive safety devices currently available. They are governed by a sophisticated new ’nerve system’ that is controlled by an electronic control unit located in the front tunnel. This control unit receives signals from the various sensors distributed throughout the car (and others inside) and decides how many devices should be activated and which ones.
This is why the system is said to be ’smart’. It does not activate when the occupant is in no danger of striking the car walls regardless of whether an impact has taken place or not. It detects stresses that are not caused by an impact. It will even work if the electrical system stops working. All this is made possible by particularly sophisticated operating strategies and detection terminals. Such as two-way accelerometers that provide a set of information that go to join the signals from satellite sensors on the central pillars (responsible for activating the sidebags and window bags).