Now in its ninth year of production, Fiat has given the third generation Panda another extensive interior and exterior update, as well as confirming complete details of the new mild-hybrid powerunit.
Coinciding with its 40th anniversary this year, Turin has rationalised the Panda line-up to consist out of four distinct models, the City Life, Sport, City Cross and the range-topping Cross with all benefitting from a new front bumper, revised side skirts and a seven-inch UConnect touchscreen infotainment system with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto.
In terms of bespoke fittings, the City Life boasts 15-inch Life alloy wheels, a black roof, door handles and side cladding, manual air-conditioning, an anthracite finished dashboard and two-tone grey seats, while Sport receives a matte grey paint finish, two-tone 16-inch alloys with black-and-red rims, body coloured door handles and mirrors, an optional gloss black roof and chrome Sport badging.
Unique interior fixtures consists of a black roofliner, new seats trimmed in dark grey upholstery with techno-leather inserts, titanium dashboard inlays, so-called eco-leather door trim, red stitching and as part of the optional Pandemonio Pack, which is claimed to pay homage to the previous generation 100 HP, a techno-leather steering wheel with red stitching, red brake calipers and tinted windows.
Available with front-or-four-wheel-drive, a setup that also features on the Cross, the City Cross features a new Ceramic Blue paint finish and daytime running LEDs, techno-leather upholstery, silver stitching on the seats and door panels plus automatic air-conditioning, black roof rails and black side cladding.
Building on this, the Cross gets 15-inch alloy wheels, chromed front and rear skidplates, red tow hooks, a roof rack and black Cross branding, Cross branded two-tone, brown stitched seats whose centre is made out of recycled plastic, black techno-leather door panels, rear parking sensors, a leather wrapped steering wheel, smartphone mount and optional so-called ‘woody’ dashboard applique also made out of recycled materials.
Up front, a choice of two engines are offered; the carryover 875 cc TwinAir turbocharged two-cylinder rated at 63kW/145Nm or 52kW/135Nm when powered by compressed natural gas (CNG), and the mentioned mild-hybrid that combines the normally aspirated 1.0-litre Firefly engine offered in certain South American models with a 3.6 kW lithium-ion battery for a combined output of 51kW/92Nm. The new unit is mated as standard to a six-speed manual gearbox with the TwinAir keeping its five-speed ‘box.
In Italy, where an unbadged base model, powered solely by the mild-hybrid is offered, pricing kicks-off at €13 900 (R267 901) with the TwinAir 4×4 Cross ending the line-up priced at €19 750 (R380 650). No longer listed by Fiat-Chrysler Automobiles South Africa though, the updated Panda is therefore not expected to return to local shores soon.