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1OS

Original Poster:

106 posts

22 months

[news] 
Saturday 30th June 2012 quote quote all
Hey guys,

Long time forums lurker here, I was hoping one of my first posts would be a bit more constructive than begging for help and opinions but the time has come where I need the advice!
I've recently started doing my hospital placements as I'm a medical student and I'm looking for a car for the three times per-week 55-60 mile mainly motorway commute. I want something nice and cheap for fuel, insurance and general ownership but with the grunt to handle the motorway stuff too, and the Fiat Panda 100hp seems to fit the bill and aside from a slightly hard ride which I can handle, no reviews I've read seem to be able to find fault in it. Also for some reason I love how it looks!

Other cars I've looked at are the Alfa 147 Collezione 1.9 Diesel and the Fiat Grande Punto 1.9 Sporting, but the Panda looks a lot more fun than these from reviews and such.
Could any Panda owners give me any advice or maybe some of you even have alternatives? It seems like a good purchase in terms of value for money and I've done my research but any 'real world' experience so to speak would be nice to hear.

Thanks,

F

Dan Friel

1,029 posts

158 months

[news] 
Sunday 1st July 2012 quote quote all
Have owned the Panda for over two years and now doing 100 miles a day on a mixed road commute.. Has been completely flawless and great, especially on a decent B road. Ride is hard, but different dampers can help (not 100% solve). You need a test drive.

Very cheap to run (cambelt just changed and all in for under £200) and average about 40mpg when not pushing on.

Your other options look good, I thought about the Sporting, but don't think you'd do enough miles to justify a diesel. What about the petrol Sporting??

Dan Friel

1,029 posts

158 months

[news] 
Monday 2nd July 2012 quote quote all
It's something that won't be sorted 100% and the ride will always be firm. However, it is possible to reduce the "pogo" effect at the rear and the problem being that the Panda was underdamped. Fiat obviously just raided the parts bin and the shocks on the car weren't really up to the job of controlling the shorter springs. Koni Sport shocks on the rear have really helped (also adjustable) and I've recently put koni SRT.T shocks on the front, although wish I'd invested a bit more. There's a significant change and improvement when the suspension is loaded up, but the ride is still a long way from being calm.. I'm sure that the combination of nice springs (I need to find some that don't lower the car) and konis would provide the best set up.

Others have gone up a tyre aspect size (45 to 50).

Performance upgrades. Not really, other have shown improvements by helping the induction and exhaust flow. But that's not rocket science and the ECU is well locked down.

srob

8,755 posts

118 months

[news] 
Tuesday 3rd July 2012 quote quote all
Just to add my own experience, I owned a 100HP for just over 4 years and did just over 80,000 miles in it.

Sadly, I had lots and lots of issues with mine. I may have had a rogue bad example, but I had to spend an awful lot of money on it.

I bought it at 6 months old from a chap who'd bought it to run alongside his brand new 996 Porsche and LR Discovery. I bought it with 6k on it, and he'd looked after it fastidiously.

I'm a mechaincal inspector for a car company, so I treated the car very well but the clutch went... twice. The first lasted 36,000 miles and the second went at 72,000, within about 50 miles! They were both replaced with OEM parts.

I also had to have new rear dampers (I saw the ones that came off and the bushes were gone, literally) and rear bumpstops. I guess they may be seen as 'consumables' though...? Also had to have a fairly major part of all four corners of suspension replaced at some point or another. Also the rear calipers had to be rebuilt, and one of the (OEM) rear brake pads broke up. The horn packed up at the MOT station, meaning a failed MOT and bumper off to find and sort.

When I was PX'ing it I went through all the bills, and stopped counting at £1400 and there was more left, admittedly spread over 4 years but it always felt that each time it went for either a service or MOT there'd be a phonecall with bad news.

I loved the little thing when it was going right, and it was great fun. I may have just bought a lemon, so all I'd advise is that you speak to as many people who've had them as possible to get the best idea as you can. I kept an eye on the classifieds to try and get an idea of price for quite some time, and didn't come across another that had done as many miles as mine. Maybe that was the problem.

Sorry for the doom and gloom, but that's my experience as a fairly longterm Panda 100HP owner smile

1OS

Original Poster:

106 posts

22 months

[news] 
Wednesday 4th July 2012 quote quote all
Ah mixed comments!

I've been doing a little look around and I've got my heart set on the Panda at the moment but still doing other research. The petrol Punto looks good, I haven't done a lot of research outside of insurance quotes on those though. Might be time for some other looks. Out of all of the cars I've looked at the Panda 100hp seems to have the most character and looks like something I'd have the most fun with and have a good laugh owning aside from the problems mentioned. I think a test drive may be in order.

Srob it's a shame to hear that buddy, I've had similar problems with the Mini One I've owned from new until recently, I heard they weren't bad!

What are general parts/labour servicing costs I need to be aware of on a Panda that you guys know of? Like consumables etc.

Thanks a lot for the replies chaps
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Dan Friel

1,029 posts

158 months

[news] 
Wednesday 4th July 2012 quote quote all
A decent test drive definitely needed.

Just don't forget that it's a cheap Italian car, nothing more. The quality is ok, but you will need to keep on top of stuff. Some bits can be improved, including brakes and suspension. However, parts are generally very cheap and servicing can be done by any decent independant (don't go anywhere near a main dealer!).

1OS

Original Poster:

106 posts

22 months

[news] 
Wednesday 4th July 2012 quote quote all
Ah right. I'll do some proper looking and drive one of them, is there anything I really need to keep my eye on that you were made aware of that I can find during the test?

xyyman

800 posts

105 months

[news] 
Saturday 7th July 2012 quote quote all
We've had our 100HP almost three years, pretty much from new with 400 miles on he clock. Now at 19k its been completely trouble free and it does get hard use, as a general hack, as it's so practical. Getting on average 45mpg, regular or Sport mode makes no difference, in mostly rural driving. We had a full Ragazzon system fitted, including manifold and sports cat plus a drop in K&N panel filter, which has improved the mid range flexibility and responsiveness but, as has been stated, the ECU is locked which is a shame. With hindsight i wouldn't bother with the exhaust, does sound nice though. Fitted a set of Apex progressive springs all round which hasn't made any difference to the ride but I will fit the rear Koni kit in a couple of months when its due its first MoT. Recently changed all four tyres and chose Proxes T1R's which have improved the ride a bit but I don't think it will ever give a great ride, well not on Sussex roads anyway. Overall I love it and the fun factor coupled with economy and practicality would be hard to beat.

Dan Friel

1,029 posts

158 months

[news] 
Saturday 7th July 2012 quote quote all
Did you go for the Grp N Ragazzon system, or the normal one? When the exhaust goes, this is what i want but don't want it too loud. Also, do the Apex springs can the ride height? Koni sports highly recommended, although you need to do some research to make sure they're "set" properly.

xyyman

800 posts

105 months

[news] 
Monday 9th July 2012 quote quote all

Went for the Group N but with the centre box. I imagine the straight through centre section must be deafening. The Apex lower by around 20mm in reality so not too low. Read about the Koni's on the Fiat Forum so a bit of experimentation required but worth it I reckon once the optimum is found.

Rollcage

11,055 posts

72 months

[news] 
Monday 9th July 2012 quote quote all
Panda 100HPs rock! Great little car, the Panda. I don't have a 100HP, but do have a Multijet.

Other than the harsh ride, you won't find much criticism of them anywhere, which is a pretty rare feat for a car these days.

Oh, and they have a bit of character as well, which is always nice.

1OS

Original Poster:

106 posts

22 months

[news] 
Wednesday 11th July 2012 quote quote all
I've got a test drive in one of these next week! Looking forward to having a sit in it and see what it's like. Think if I ended up with one I might have to do a pilgrimage to some twisty roads to have a play with it and get used to it. Getting a little obsessed, read the evo review of it 4 or 5 times.

Redlake27

1,867 posts

124 months

[news] 
Monday 16th July 2012 quote quote all
I like mine. It has a hard ride, but 195/50 tyres take some of the sting out of that, but not all.

When pressing on, it is characterful, grippy and involving. Its tiny size means it is perfect on B roads.

The biggest surprise for me has been on the motorway (I have a 60 mile round trip everyday) It is quiet and refined at 70mph on the motorway, and the ride settles at speed.

I bought it as a 'shopping car' to complement my Cayman. But I use it much more than the Cayman. Say no more.
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