The Original Fiat Panda Is an Italian Car Icon

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evaluation! The initial is a very unique cars and truck, and an icon among Italian cars and trucks. Today I'm reviewing the Fiat Panda, and I'll reveal you all the quirks and functions of the Fiat Panda. I'm also going to drive the Fiat Panda and show you what it's like on the roadway.

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The Original Fiat Panda Is an Italian Car Icon

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75 Comments

  1. As a European, seeing Doug appreciate these European mini cars is so cool to see. And these Pandas are getting more and more desirable, even for me!

    1. @Daniel Korbel It’s basically the same car, but rebadged. Not sure about this, but I’d say likely old Marbellas were more common, since at the time VW had not bought SEAT yet and these were being manufactured in the country.

  2. Good on you, Doug, for knowing how iconic this car was in Italy. Most people would see this and not think twice about it, but in Italy it was a very different story (as you noted). We had a family friend who was Italian-American and raved about these. Personally, I think there’s some beauty with the simplicity of this car.

    1. @Flynnick the ones you’ll find under a grand are in tremendous conditions, most of them either rusted till the point of having holes in the floor or without paperworks…good luck shipping them overseas 🤣🤣🤣

    2. @Paolo Ballatori I was joking, I wouldn’t touch one of them with a ten foot pole, even when it was brand new the panda was a piece of crap..

  3. My grandmother had a 1983 model, with an even simpler trim level than this very luxurious 4×4 Panda you reviewed! 😂
    True story: the turn signals noise was so loud that it made her dog bark each time she triggered them!
    So, she simply stopped using them, until she bought a brand new Renault Twingo a few years later, featuring much quieter ones. 🤣

    1. I can concur. I owned one in the late 80s. There was not really any noise insulation in this car. Just a tin can. Mine had the 2 piece folding roof, which was very cool.

  4. The 4×4 with winter tires is hands down the best car on snow you will ever see and they are hard to find in mountain areas in Europe. It is fun to see them passing 100K German SUVs that are stuck on the roads

    1. Any modern SUV will be way, way better, but only if they are on winter tires. A lot of SUVs are running on low profile all season tires which are not good in the snow – doesn’t matter how good the car’s 4 wheel drive system is when you’re running on sporty all season tires.

    2. @Tim F False, as someone else already pointed out, modern SUVs will always be worst than a Panda on snow for two simple reasons: weight and tire size

    3. @Tim F Many modern SUV has 4wd systems that arent any better for grip than this, regardless of tires. It is open diffs galore. The only thing saving them a bit is their traction control system, but it is often not calibrated very well for terrain driving, depending on model of SUV.

      Secondly, look at the ground clearance for many of them, this little car has oodles more than most of them.

    1. I would have probably wanted at least:
      A lid over the glove box
      Slightly better design to space out the sun visor and the mirror
      Probably something in place of the clock on the dash.
      The car diagram for indicators in the odometer being VERTICAL.

    2. @Gluttonous Maximus you can put a lid by yourself: a friend of mine in his selects (CVT version) put a piece of wood with two hinges…in order to have much more luxury interior

    3. Giugiaro said that this was the hardest car to design, because he had to do the best with less as possible. All windows are flat in order to be cheaper

  5. I would love to see Doug review a first-gen Renault Twingo. Somewhat similar to the Panda, has lots of cool space-optimizing features like a back seat that can be moved towards or backwards. Cute styling and unusual interior design too.

    (That being said, I don’t know if anybody has imported one to North America – they’re old enough by now, but this isn’t exactly an RS3 or other cool enthusiast car.)

    1. If I recall, I saw that there was a Craigslist add for a green one about a year or two ago in Texas (of all places), so at least one person brought one over

    2. growing up in Uruguay, i remember i loved the yellow twingo my neighbor had bought! this was back in 95-98 somewhere around there

    3. The best thing is that it’s probably about the same size as the panda but you could fold the seats in a way so they would make a bed for actual grown adults.
      Also the folding roof…

    4. Not similar. It was “just” a cute-looking regular car. The sliding backseat was introduced in the Mazda 121 (Ford Festiva) in 1988, already. Also was the Canvas-Top. But I still agree, a Twingo would be a nice feature.

  6. My first car in 1998, in the UK. Same colour with a roof rack and a bull bar. Was just front wheel drive though. Brilliant car. Unfortunately I wrote it off pulling the handbrake in the rain. The standard models did have rear, and front badges. Fiat coupe 20VT review soon please Doug.

  7. Here in Germany the Fiat Panda was also very famous. Here it was also the case that you either owned a Fiat Panda or knew someone who owned a Fiat Panda. About 15 years ago I bought a Fiat Panda as a winter car for €100 and the car got me through five months of bad weather without any problems. A very reliable, very cheap and economical vehicle.

    1. @Dyslexic Mitochondria ur username made me click on ur profile. Ur channeI is a hidden gem bro

    2. @Dyslexic Mitochondria Hah I love seeing you comment on other youtubers I follow! Your channel is so cool, and needs 10000x more recognition!!!

  8. It has to be said that Fiat still has a model called Panda in the lineup. Panda is now a conventional city car, except that it still has a 4×4 version, and it’s shockingly capable off road.

  9. Interesting quirk: some models had seats that folded down to make the whole interior space a full sized bed, you can imagine what was the target for that

    1. @77777Carlo I can totally relate. I won’t survive an entire month without getting a chance to drive out into the wilderness for some quality solo time

    2. @77777Carlo lol no problem, i wanted to buy a panda too, 100hp edition but they are hard to find

  10. Thank you for bringing some of italian semplicity in the world! Every italian as either owened a Panda or has a relative/friend with a Panda. Personally is the first car i ever drove, and my uncle used a 20 years old Panda to transport building materials for his house, and it never had a major problem

  11. Hi! I’m from Italy and I can tell you that it’s true, every Italian in the late 80’s and 90’s had a Panda or knew someone who owned a Panda. The 4×4 was the preferred vehicle for sheepherders, farmers and landowners, because it was so simple and cheap that litteraly nothing could break, so it was the perfect working horse. It was low in fuel consumption and the 4×4 system was really basic, no differential, all wheels spin at the exact same speed, so you are not allowed to pass 50 km/h in 4×4 or you will destroy everything! If you came to Italy, you would be surprised by how many original Pandas are still alive and well, after all these years!

    1. @Wonderwall yeah I remember them well
      The Uno fire was a 1.1 liter engine, Uno Pacer was a 1.4 engine then the daddy being the 1.4 turbo engine,which was quiet fast during its time
      I miss my dad’s Uno fire 1.1 ,I think he won at a Coca Cola competition during that time

    2. Years ago I went to Andorra which is a tiny country in the middle of the Pyrenees between Spain and France. Since the country is very mountanous, roads are twisty and it snows frequently. There I found out that the most popular car was the Panda 4×4 for obvious reasons. Their off road capabilities are quite good and probably would put to shame any modern SUV.

    3. And we had the Punto, the Tempra, the Tipo, the Seicento. Not to mention some cars from Lancia, like the Delta. Back then we lived a very special part of italian history.
      ( No, we don’t talk about the Duna )

    4. @Senseless_Gamer I personally know a person, a dear friend of mine, who still owns and drive a Duna in immaculate conditions, after almost 40 years. It’s camp. It’s a car too bad that is actually good!

  12. That’s _the_ italian iconic car. Not only it’s everything Doug described but it also got the reputation of being an indestructible legend of a car that drives where other cars won’t drive, on any terrain and condition. Nice used 4×4 Pandas are shooting up in value since people want them to this day and they still get national press or celebrities driving them (and praising them).

    1. I remember freaking out when i saw an old picture in my grandfathers photobook of him standing on the roof rack of one of these with my dad and aunt inside, he’d rented it on a ski trip. It had snow well above the tires which i’m told it had absolutely no issues with. I was incredibly jealous obviously.

  13. I remember in the UK driving my friends Panda 1000CL in black back in the 90’s, they were a really wealthy family, and a Panda was not seen as the poor persons choice – it had universal appeal, something lacking these days. Great car to drive in its pure simplicity.

  14. Glad you managed to review a Panda!
    Two quick notes: those two vents on each side of the dashboard are not defoggers. They are connected directly to those two grill outside of the car, under the windshield, and they sorta act like an air conditioner. Basically if you take them off you are left with two holes in the body of the car. The defoggers are those slits between them.
    And under the spare tire there’s also a crank style car jack which slots in that square shaped hole under the frame in the middle of the car.

  15. Giorgetto Giuriano once said in an interview that, from all the cars he had designed, the Panda was his favourite and the one he was most proud of as a designer. And if we acknowlegde that design is not (only) about drawing athletic shapes or sports cars, but it’s way more than that, it becomes easy to understand why he said so.

    Extra fun fact: the (current) 3rd generation Panda still is the best hit in sales in Italy today. It still has 4×4 versions which are famous to leave behind well-known big 4×4 (not even mentioning SUV and crossovers).

    1. And honestly, in most Italian Cities, villages and especially mountain villages, the current 4×4 Panda is the only car that is really usable.

  16. If you count the Brazilian Uno/Mile, the panda platform lasted up to 2013

    1. not the same plataform. 2010 Uno MK2 shares plataform with New Panda. Classic Panda was smaller than Uno and never shared plataform. For european terms MK1 Uno was a compact (B Segment) and Panda a city-car (A Segment)

    2. The Fiat Panda and the Fiat Uno were totally different platforms, the Uno was more advanced and actually quite a revoluctionary car for the era.
      The Fiat Panda platform was used on the Seat Marbella and the ID Capsula concept.

    3. Wasn’t the Brazilian Fiat Uno based on the Italian Fiat Uno platform as well?
      They maybe shared the Fire engine, that was developed back in the 70s and it still is built with some tweaks, in fact the new Firefly engines are their evolution

    4. Eu acho que o Uno brasileiro era o mesmo Uno europeu da época, o “frente alta”. A única diferença é que na Europa ele evoluiu para um carro mais parecido com o Tipo, enquanto aqui… Eles só fizeram facelifts até 2013.

  17. Being Italian, this is probably the first time i see on this channel a “normal” car to me that is something strange to see in the US. The Panda is the true Italian Icon just like the old 500… A car that never let’s you down and that if it happens, with a few euros you fix. I’ve driven a lots of variants and is always fun to drive, and still you can meet lots of those on the roads as Doug said.

    Just a little thing to add, the rear tailgate and the front grill are the “updated” ones, from 1991. The previous had also Fiat badges (front and rear) and the “Panda 4×4” logo was not sculpted on the body of the car but there was an emblem saying Panda 4×4 Steyr Puch wich was the factory who made the 4WD system

    1. Don’t forget that the Yugo at the bottom of Doug’s list was actually based on a Fiat. However, it was a 1970s design and the Yugoslavians might not have put them together as as carefully.

    2. @MrDuncl Well, yes it was based on a Fiat but never began an icon, only a cheap car. Here was named as Innocenti Koral, and they sold way less than a Panda (or a Fiat 127 etc)

  18. I’m Italian, I know many people who either have or have had one of these and it’s so cool to see you review this car. I’ve been following you for quite a long time now and I’ve been wondering if one day this review would come, and it did! Thank you, this is amazing.

  19. The panda was also one of the first cars produced in a (small) series also fully electric (Elettra) in 1990.
    Of this first generation, in addition to the 4×4 (manual only), 2wd was also produced with automatic transmission (CVT) and even diesel.
    The very first versions had rear seats that could become a sort of hammock …
    Thanks Doug for the review !!!

    1. I had the one with the “hammock” – it was a piece of design made of pure genius.

    2. @Riccardo De Contardi For those reasons too, the commercials said: “if it didn’t exist, they should invent it”

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