The third generation Panda grows a little, gets more efficient engines like this 0.9-litre TwinAir petrol unit and feels a whole lot better bolted together. Other than that, it reprises what has been a phenomenally successful theme. It will continue to be bought by those who recognise that cheap can still mean stylish.
The 85bhp powerplant isn’t the most refined unit you’ll come across but it is incredibly efficient and surprisingly pokey, 60 from rest taking 11.2s on the way to 110mph. You even get used to its unconventional note, a putter-putter sound that seems to be exactly the kind of thing perfect for nipping through the back streets of Naples, the city where this model is made.
Aside from engines and performance, there’s plenty else for previous Panda people to appreciate in this third generation design. For a start, there’s much more of a ‘big car’ feel to the way that it drives, thanks to suspension tweaks, greater torsional stiffness and a wider track. The result is that it turns into corners more sharply, rounding them with far less bodyroll than before, an experience aided by greater sensitivity from the electric power steering.
Despite its useful 85bhp output, this petrol TwinAir records even better fuel returns (in principle anyway) than the diesel Panda model. In a TwinAir, you can expect 67.3mpg on the combined cycle - or even a bit more if you opt for the Dualogic semi-automatic transmission. That variant records just 95g/km of CO2 but even with the standard manual transmission, you still get 99g/km.