Fiat is yet again set to shake things up in the subcompact vehicle arena. Marking the company's 125th anniversary, a huge occasion in itself, Fiat plans to debut the next generation of its legendary Panda on July 11, 2024. This event, announced by CEO Olivier Francois in a recent interview, promises to unfold a new chapter in the Panda's narrative.Fiat Centoventi concept car
The Fiat Panda, a car whose charm and utility have made it an enduring favorite, first rolled out onto the roads in 1980. Subsequent generations in 2003 and 2011 injected the model with renewed vitality and added much-needed brakes that work, further fueling its popularity. Now, Fiat is preparing to introduce the fourth generation, and it aims to encapsulate the car's spirit in a "cool, popular, affordable" package. The “affordable” part can be tricky though, all we need is to look at the pricing of the latest Fiat 600e.
Maintaining a careful balance in the vehicle lineup, Fiat has ensured that the new Panda does not overlap with the revived 600e model. The Panda is expected to retain its unique appeal, offering a blend of simplicity, clever design, and affordability that has become the brand's hallmark. Again that affordability creeps in, Fiat Topolino starts nearly at $11,000 and realistically - that’s not even a car.
The upcoming Panda model is seemingly inspired by the tried-and-tested "simply clever" approach of Skoda cars, aiming to hit the sweet spot between innovation and simplicity. Indeed, the Panda, often viewed as a cute city car, is set to continue that legacy with its next iteration.
The new model is reportedly gunning for its competition in the form of the Dacia Sandero, especially the Stepway variant. The fourth-generation Panda, expected to be slightly shorter than its predecessor at about 157 inches in length, is being designed as a global model. Drawing from the design philosophy of the Centoventi concept car, the new Panda could indeed offer a refreshing twist on the Panda's classic look.
Fiat is expected to ride the wave of electrification with the new Panda - or if you prefer plain English - cash in on the EV demand. While there have been nods to the possibility of both hybrid and electric powertrains, the electric version will likely forgo the swappable battery idea from the Centoventi, to keep the cost within the reach of the average consumer. While we can't expect it to be cheaper than the 500e, it is likely to undercut the price of the 600e.
Now for a bit of Panda trivia. Did you know that in 1983, just three years after the first Panda hit the roads, Fiat introduced an all-wheel-drive model? It was a unique offering at the time and an adventurous move that paid off handsomely, leading to the Panda 4x40° special edition to celebrate its 40th-anniversary last month.On our wish list already
With the Panda's proven track record, there's much to look forward to in the next generation of Panda. As Fiat steps into its 125th year, the curtain rises on an exciting new era for the Panda. Although the company insists it’ll maintain the “affordability” of its products, we can clearly see Fiat has its heart set on carving out a premium niche for itself in the busy EV market.