Fiat turns 125 this year and it’s celebrating by launching a new version of its best-selling car, the Panda. But this isn’t just a refresh of the current 12-year-old city car. It’s a new, bigger, crossover that brings an electric option to the brand’s most popular nameplate. And these patent drawings give us our clearest idea yet of how it’ll look when the covers come off this summer.
Expected to be called New Panda to differentiate it from the smaller current model that will be updated and sold alongside it, the new small Fiat will be available with a choice of fully electric or mild-hybrid combustion power.
It’s built around the same budget Stellantis Smart Car platform as its Citroen e-C3 cousin, and will be built in Serbia, Auto News says, rather than the Pomigliano d’Arco plant, near Naples, Southern Italy, where the current Panda is made.
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These official patent images show that Fiat’s 2019 Centoventi concept was more than simply an auto show flight of fancy. Though plenty has changed in the intervening five years, particularly in the profile view, the faces are eerily similar. But instead of square lamps set into the bumper, as seen on the concept, the real thing will have rectangular lights, plus a revised DRL setup that allows a transverse DRL light bar – something that wasn’t common at the tail end of the last decade but is seemingly essential now.
If you’re asking, we preferred the concept’s flat waistline and hidden door handles that harked back to the 1980 Panda (which had no handle, just a recess and a button). But it’s not bad-looking and could be exactly what Fiat needs to fight off both the Dacia Sandero (currently Europe’s second-best-seller behind the Tesla Model Y) and a wave of Chinese EVs that are about to start sweeping into Europe’s dealership networks.
Presuming the Fiat matches the e-C3’s dimensions, it’ll measure just over 4,000 mm (157.5 inches) long and ride on a 2,540 mm (100 inches) wheelbase. That compares with 3,650 mm (143.5 mm) and 2,300 mm (90.6) for the existing Panda, so expect a big jump in practicality. And expect a price of around €23,000 ($25k) when European sales of the electric version kick-off.
Based on Citroen’s published spec, that’ll get you a 44 kWh battery and 198-mile (320 km) range, though city dwellers should be able to buy a car with a smaller battery and 124-mile (200 km) range for €20k ($22k) by 2025.
Combustion models will be cheaper again, but neither Citroen nor Fiat is saying much about those just yet.