We now know more details about the new Fiat Panda minicar, Europe's top-selling minicar, before it debuts at the Frankfurt auto show. This latest version has a more spacious interior and it is set to compete with the Volkswagen Up, which will make its debut in Frankfurt too. Its exterior styling hasn’t changed much from the existing car but it is not as boxy and has more curves.
Its engine hood and headlights are comparable to those on the retro-styled Fiat 500. The new Panda measures 110mm longer at 3650mm while its wheelbase remains at 2300mm. The increase in length is mostly due to the rear overhang to increase the car's trunk space, as well as to expand the legroom for rear passengers.
This is also the first time for the model to have rear sliding seats. The Panda is wider by 50mm wider to measure 1640mm, which allows three passengers in the rear to sit comfortably.
Usually, minicars only allow two passengers at the back. This new Panda was designed with the leadership of Fiat Styling Director Roberto Giolito, who is credited for the success of the Fiat 500 minicar. This new Panda utilizes the latest development of Fiat's Mini vehicle architecture, which the new Lancia Ypsilon also uses.
Similar to the existing Panda, the new model will only be a five-door so that cross-sales with the three-door Fiat 500 could be avoided. Another highlight of this new Panda’s interior is its colored, sculptured dashboard. Set to be launched early in 2012, the Panda would only be available with front-wheel-drive. Next summer, an all-wheel-drive variant is expected to arrive.
This Panda features new versions of Fiat's TwinAir 900c two-cylinder engine. Fiat also offers a normally aspirated TwinAir version that delivers 65hp, making it 20hp less than a turbocharged unit. We can expect that by next summer, an 80hp turbocharged bi-fuel version, which could use up either gasoline or compressed natural gas, will have CO2 emissions of just 80 grams per km, compared with 92g/km that the 85hp gasoline unit could achieve. The third-generation Panda will include two four-cylinder engines, a 69hp 1.2-liter normally aspirated gasoline unit and a 75hp 1.3-liter turbodiesel.