The Fiat Panda. First appearing on the scene in 1980, it’s come a long way since then.
The original idea behind the Panda was to offer a generation a basic, affordable form of transport. And to give Fiat their due, it’s a concept that’s stuck.
The iconic city run-around continues to be vastly popular to this day thanks to its styling, drivability and affordability. And now with even more options than ever, it’s even more attractive.
So when it comes to Fiat Pandas, which is the best model to lease?
Well, it all depends on what you’re looking for. There are a few different models in the range and some will appeal more than others.
But to help you make a decision, we’ve highlighted the differences below.
Fiat Panda Pop
First up is the classic Fiat Panda Pop. The latest version to hit the market hasn’t lost any charm of its predecessors either, with the characteristic round cubic look retained inside and out.
What surprisingly has changed is its size.
Longer, wider and taller, the Panda is more spacious than ever. However, it’s certainly basic. So, if you’re looking for frills, turn away now.
But there’s beauty in the Fiat Panda Pop’s simplicity. And there’s space – so much space.
The practical, roomy interior utilises every single part of the car and more besides. By growing in height, there’s more room for storage compartments and an impressive 870-litre boot with the seats down.
However, with them up, taller adults may struggle to get comfy in the back, although it’s still impressive for a city car.
But if you’re looking for all-singing, all-dancing tech, you’ll be disappointed. In truth, the Panda couldn’t boast a plush, futuristic interior. It’s not in its nature.
What it can shout about, though, is a user-friendly interface. With chunky “squircle” buttons, knobs and dials, a high-mounted gear lever, quality-feel switchgear and stalk controls and the mouse-shaped handbrake lever, the car has a lovely tactile touch.
In the Pop, the 1.2 petrol entry-level model is the most affordable in the range, followed by the 1.0-litre mild-hybrid – designed to save you on fuel, running costs and, of course, help environmentally.
Designed as a city car, the engine has enough for motorway driving, but really comes into its own when you’re zipping around town.
Fun to drive, because of its light steering and aerodynamic design, it’s a good contender for an entertaining, everyday city car.
Fiat Panda Easy
The next trim up is possibly one of Panda’s most popular. So what’s changed?
The Easy trim is a little more polished and certainly has more features compared to the entry-level Pop. Smart roof rails and steel wheels bring a little more refinement to its distinctive cubic look.
But it’s on the inside that there’s a real difference. While the Pop is pretty basic with just power steering, airbags and a CD/MP3 stereo as standard, Panda Easy takes it up to a level that’s a little easier to live with.
With air conditioning, remote locking and rear head restraints, you’ll get a bit more for your money. Not to mention, a better stereo system, too.
And the Panda Easy model can be specified with body-coloured door mirrors and handles. There’s also the option of a ‘Sky Dome’ panoramic sunroof, dark-tinted privacy glass and a leather steering wheel.
There are more engine options, too. You can still get the Easy as a 1.2-litre petrol, but it’s also available as a TwinAir petrol engine.
The tiny two-cylinder turbocharged unit offers a better blend of performance, so you can drive it more economically or enjoy sharp-shifting through the gears.
Again, it’s an all-round stylish and fun little Italian car.
Fiat Panda Lounge
While the Pandas before it may seem a little basic, the Fiat Panda Lounge is a different, yet still cheekily charming.
The Lounge trim combines everything that’s good about the Panda with even more curves, 15-inch alloy wheels and black side mouldings.
It’s basically grown up.
It’s naturally a little more expensive but adds some nice touches to the package, such as body-coloured door hands, heated door mirrors and eye-catching fog lights.
A leather steering wheel and a panoramic sunroof are also optional.
The Lounge is again incredibly roomy, with the eye-catching and practical interior again finding space where you wouldn’t think to look.
And while the Panda Lounge may be more sophisticated, it’s just as fun to drive with its 0.9-litre 85PS TwinAir engine.
It’s incredibly eco-friendly, too. The manual gearbox version of the Lounge produces just 99g of CO2 per km, while the automatic reduces that even further to 95g.
Fiat Panda 4×4
If there’s one downside to the standard Fiat Panda it’s that you can’t enjoy it everywhere.
That is until Fiat decided to do what very few other city car manufacturers had attempted to do – transform their car into a 4×4.
Still retaining the original Panda charm, the 4×4 is a chunky, rugged four-wheel drive. But don’t be fooled by its light, compact frame – it boasts genuine all-terrain capability.
So when you need just an everyday drive, you’ll have the benefit of the fun and zip of an original Panda. But when the going gets a little tougher, you have an effective and adept machine.
And it looks the part, too. Distinctive exterior styling houses chunky bumpers before giving way to a raised body, roof rails, black-side mouldings and increased suspension height.
Not to mention the off-road alloy wheels and availability of mud and snow tyres.
Inside, the design is much as it would be in any other Panda, based on – you guessed it – squaricals. You can find them everywhere in the instrument binnacle, on the steering wheel and on the ventilation controls
Under the bonnet, the Panda 4×4 is available with Fiat’s TwinAir petrol engine with a six-speed manual gearbox, or a 1.3-litre MultiJet with a five-speed manual gearbox.
And considering the extra weight of this sturdy 4×4, it handles incredibly well and continues to be more efficient and economical than its closest competitors.
As you’d expect from the Panda range, this is another class act and fun drive.
It’s larger where it matters, yet still small enough for its urban purpose. It’s pretty efficient, yet can offer surprising reserves of performance. And you can head off-road.
You may not be taking it where no car has ever dared to go before, but it’s definitely one to add to the list if you’re looking for practical enjoyment.
Fiat Panda City Cross
Building on the success of the Panda 4×4 comes the Fiat Panda City Cross. Since it’s been around, it’s almost gained a sort of cult status for its rugged looks.
Mechanically, it doesn’t differ too much to the 4×4, offering the same two choices of powertrains. The same 15-inch alloys and wheel traction system also remain. They even share the same front and rear bumper design, although the City Cross’ is colour matched to the body.
Inside, you’ll still find the inimitable chunky squircle designs, but this time there’s a silver finish throughout the central console and a matt-effect copper dash giving this 4×4 a little more of an upmarket look.
What the Cross has done is add more ride height – 161mm of ground clearance – as well as a hill descent mode. All in all, it’s designed to give better hold on a variety of rough terrains.
However, the ride height is still pretty restricted as far as 4x4s go, so although you may get off-road, you probably won’t get too far.
Unlike the 85hp two-cylinder TwinAir engine used by the Panda 4×4, this Cross model uses a mild-hybrid 70hp 1.0-litre three-cylinder petrol engine.
This particular power output is designed to improve fuel efficiency without impeding performance. It also ensures, along with sharper suspension, a much better standard of driving comfort.
Like any other Panda, this one’s really more at home in the city. It has additional touches like the steering’s ‘City mode’, which increases assistance you get at parking speeds, helping you use the tight 9.3m turning circle with ease.
But all in all, it’s another good car. Cheap to run and appealing, with a few extra niceties.
Fiat Panda Trussardi
Hailed as the “first luxury Panda,” the Trussardi came about when Fiat and the Italian fashion house that is Trussardi, joined together to create a limited edition of the well-known car.
Based on the City Cross, the Trussardi edition has black roof bars, mirrored caps and 15-inch alloys. It’s available in a range of colours with either a matt or metallic finish.
The Trussardi Greyhound logo is elegantly showcased throughout. On the exterior, it’s visible on the rear quarter light, side mouldings and on the alloy wheel centre caps.
In-car mats, seatbelts and door panels are also adorned with the Trussardi lettering, while the logo is also present on the seats.
To drive, it’s no different to the City Cross, but you’ll feel more elegant behind the wheel.
Fiat Panda Waze
Another collaboration was born when Panda teamed up with leading sat-nav system, Waze, to release the Panda Waze.
Once again, they picked the fan-favourite Panda City Cross for this special edition and there are a few differences which make it stand out.
On the exterior, you’ll find the addition of the Waze badge emblazoned on the front wings and black gloss detail on the skid plate, door handles and mirror caps. And two-tone liveries are also available in this version.
However, the main difference is the integration of the Waze navigation app with Panda’s own U-Connect infotainment system making it a more seamless experience.
Fiat Panda Hybrid Launch Edition
In a bid to cut emissions across the range, Fiat launched an all-new engine – a 1.0-litre mild-hybrid designed to be eco-friendly and save you as much fuel as possible.
The new engine was replaced on the City Cross and Trussardi to start with and, of course, in this launch edition of the Panda.
It isn’t a plug-in hybrid. Instead, with an updated electrical system and a small electric motor built into the engine, it allows for a complete shutdown of the petrol engine at low speeds as well as some assistance under acceleration and the start/stop mechanism.
Fiat claims that the Panda Hybrid will return over 50mpg with CO2 emissions of 126g/km.
As it launched at the same time as the Fiat 500, the Hybrid Launch Edition was also given the same Dew Green finish as its smaller sibling and, to prove its eco-friendliness, seats that have been upholstered in material spun out of recycled plastic taken from the sea.
This is probably where the similarities to the Fiat 500 end, however. The Panda returns to its spacious, practical roots once again.
There’s a bigger boot and even more space in the rear and the front seats for added comfort. And there’s still that high, all-round view the Panda driving position affords.
Although, its more environmentally-friendly powertrain does make the Fiat Panda Hybrid Launch Edition more difficult to get off the mark compared to its fossil-fueled counterparts.
However, what the Panda Hybrid lacks in acceleration, it makes up for in comfort. It’s good for longer journeys and a settled ride which helps it glide over potholes and other bumps in the road.
Which Fiat Panda model is best to lease?
So, now you have all the information you need, it’s time to pick the Panda for you.
If you’re looking for basic driving, the Pop and Easy are well-priced and cost-effective. However, if you’d prefer a more luxurious trim, the City Cross or any of its spin-offs – the Trussardi and Waze – will be perfect.
Yet, if like many you want to make a change to the impact you have on the world, then the Hybrid Launch Edition – equipped with a cleaner engine and recycled fabrics – gives you what you need while causing less damage.
And of course, if you’re looking to take your Fiat Panda exploring, then the 4×4 is undoubtedly the right choice for you.
Whichever Fiat Panda you decide is right, there’s a low-cost lease deal waiting to fit your budget.