In those minutes when the winner of the next "Car of the Year" competition was determined in Europe, an ultramarine winner of a similar competition three years ago rode out onto the streets of St. Petersburg.
Despite the fact that his triumph happened relatively long ago, road users did not show disdain for the car, and some even stepped aside. It is possible that the dimensions of the passing car caused the usually selfish St. Petersburg drivers, affection and a strong desire to help.
Any Fiat is now a debutant in our market, even if this debut is caused by a change of "guardian". But at the same time, Panda - of course, we are talking about her - is perhaps the only car of the Italian brand presented in 2006, which had a chance of success in Russia in the "pre-Verstal" period. If only because the rest entered the market when the Fiat brand was no longer of interest to anyone.
Probably, with appropriate attention, Panda could become our own: not a bestseller in sales, but, in any case, the most successful "super compact". Now, it seems that there are even more unofficial "Smart" on our streets.
So has Panda missed her chance? Or can she count on something even today? there are no elements so characteristic of most miniature cars. The narrow slits of the side mirrors do not distort anything, but they do not tell much either. But visibility is good: thanks to the low line of the windows. The overhangs are small, and this is also nice. Compact car, but gives the impression of a kind of micro-van - mainly because of the high roof.
The same height adds a share of comfort inside: even if the knees are cramped, if it climbed back, but there is room for the head of the car. Moreover, the landing is definitely vertical.
| To date, the most affordable Panda is offered for 340,000 rubles. This is version 1.2 DYNAMIC with manual transmission.|
For the "machine" will have to pay 65,000 rubles, however, roof rails will be added to the "machine". The car also has an all-wheel drive version, which will surely appeal to girls and their boyfriends, who value not only comfort in cars, but also safety. This option is called 1. 2 4x4 CLIMBING, and they ask for 515,000 rubles for it.
Seat upholstery - like in Grande Punto (although "like in" is more appropriate here to speak in relation to Panda).
In general, corporate identity! The backs of the front seats, in contrast to the pillows, have clear lateral support, but the rear sofa lacks relief. Do you need it? Needed, needed! You are especially convinced of this during active maneuvering along our streets. There is nothing to hold on to in Panda: there are no essential handles on the doors.
The steering wheel is unremarkable in appearance, but easy to handle. In addition - and again the parallels with the Punto are pertinent - the dualDrive electric power steering has two modes of operation.
And the Italians also managed to fit EVERYTHING the driver and passenger needed on the center console: here the gearshift lever, power windows, power steering control buttons, air conditioning, mirrors, etc.
Well, I won't say anything about the peculiarities of luggage placement: the official dimensions will definitely speak for me. The only unexpected thing is the size of the glove compartment - it is narrow and long: when you try to reach the far wall, it seems that you are now pulling the engine into the cabin.
Speaking of the engine: 1. The 2-liter engine does a good job of carrying an 865-kg little car, even if it carries four passengers, adding another third of a ton.
Acceleration is a little jerky, but dips during shifting can be mitigated by manipulating the gas pedal: you just need to adapt to press the gas a little less before shifting to an upshift. If you do not do this, you will "nod" constantly ... "cotton", and slight twitching will not give a feedback.
The suspension on the Panda is very comfortable. Longitudinal and lateral swaying is very noticeable, but in general the car rides gently over the pits, guaranteeing a smooth ride. If you hit a hole in the asphalt with a wheel at a higher speed, the impact will be loud, but not strong. But due to the softness of the suspension, we get rolls and lags with a "snake".
It remains to mention the evil brakes (even a small blow on them will cause the driver and passenger to nod) and note that the modest dimensions of the Panda can really be relevant not only in the conditions of tiny Western European cities, but also in such a metropolis as Petersburg.
And not even when parking, but on the road: when turning at an intersection, when everyone drove onto it at the same time, Panda briskly jumped forward.
The advantages of the Panda are obvious, but they are "compact" in every sense. And for most of our car enthusiasts, "size matters." Panda's prospects depend on non-car factors, but on the attitude of the average car enthusiast. So, to predict commercial success for a European means to understand nothing in the mysterious Russian soul.