This car has been superseded by a newer model, click here to go to the latest Fiat Panda review.

Parkers overall rating: 4 out of 5 4.0

The standard Panda won’t set any performance records, but all the engines will happily buzz around town and can adequately cruise at 70mph on the motorway. The entry-level powerplant is the 1.1-litre petrol with a modest 54bhp – it takes a leisurely 15 seconds to get from 0 to 62mph and although efficient there seems little point in choosing it when the 60bhp 1.2-litre engine is quicker (0-62mph takes 14 seconds) and marginally more economical.

ECO versions of these engines are available with CO2 emissions reduced to 119g/km (making them cheaper to tax) while economy increases to 57mpg without any reduction in performance. The sole diesel is the 1.3 Multijet with 70bhp and considerably more low down pulling power than either petrol, helping it to run from 0-62mph in 13 seconds. It’s incredibly frugal too and is capable of 66mpg but it only makes sense if you intend to cover long distances as the diesel carries around a £1,300 premium over the already economical 1.2-litre petrol.

The Panda is clearly no sports car, but it’s much more controlled in corners and around roundabouts than many other cars of this size, especially impressive given its tall profile. The suspension is firmly sprung, but still soaks up the bumps and it handles surprisingly well when winding through countryside twists and bends. In the city, the nine-metre turning circle is very useful, allowing the Panda to weave through traffic and get out of tight parking spots easily.

The high mounted five-speed manual gearbox is smooth, with a positive shift which adds to the sporty feel.