The new Fiat Panda is a deeply impressive step up in perceived quality over its predecessor, yet the most alluring part of the display (for me, at least) is the very early Giugiaro Panda 30 looking down on its bigger, more refined yet less pure forebear.
Posted by Owen Ready
The new Fiat Panda has caused a bit of a stir here in Frankfurt. There’s a split view on the exterior design. Some designers we’ve spoken to have bemoaned the loss of the pure, utilitarian form of the previous generation car. Others, however, think it’s an intelligent update, one that brings a more high quality feel without sacrificing any of the last car’s charm.
One thing they all agree on is the impressiveness of the interior design. The Panda is the most obvious example in car design today of taking a theme, the squircle (a slightly rounded-edge square or squashed circle) and simply running with it. Nowhere is this more evident than in the interior, which is an absolute joy to behold by small car standards. The squircle shape is everywhere – it forms the door pull, the HVAC controls, the gauge pack instrument surrounds, even the seat height adjustor.
You get in and just smile. That’s before you notice little details – like the plastic grain on the door tops, whose graining actually spells out Panda in miniature.
The VW Up may have taken small car quality, in a Germanic sense, to a new level, but the Panda shows that the Italians can still teach the world a thing or too about how you do small cars on a budget. Bravo!
Posted by Joe Simpson