Will you buy a Fiat Panda over a Wagon R in India?

02/09/2011 - 08:59 | ,   | Kaustubh Shinde

Fiat PandaIf I asked you which is the bestselling car in India, the answer is pretty simple – Maruti Suzuki Alto. But if I asked you which is the second bestselling car in India, wouldn’t you be surprised to know that it is the most modest mode of transport – the Wagon R.

Sure, with its boxy design and distinct handling characteristics the Wagon-R doesn’t have much show off credentials. But it overcomes that barrier by offering oodles of practicality.

As a result, it has won hearts of many Indian consumers. It is cheap to buy, it has best headroom, the best legroom, excellent fuel economy and the maintenance is pretty cheap as well. What more would an average first time Indian buyer who is in search for an urban runabout ask for?

Surprisingly, this brings us to the new Fiat Panda which is expected to debut at Frankfurt. The Fiat Panda brand has been around since the 1980s. In essence, the Fiat Panda is to Europe what the Wagon R is to India – a cheap, practical runabout. In over 31 years Fiat has sold over 6.5 million of Panda in the world.

Fiat Panda - 3650mm long, 1640mm wide and 1550mm high
Wagon R - 3595mm long, 1495mm wide and 1670mm high

2012 Fiat Panda side

The new Fiat Panda is certainly promising to be a step forward in the future. Designed by Fiat styling director Roberto Giolito, the new Fiat Panda continues its boxy design but with a pinch of style and funkiness. The new Panda gets a whole new front fascia with rectangle headlamps.

The roof rails give it a very outdoorsy looks. At the rear the design is similar to the Punto where the tail lamps start from the roof.

2012 Fiat Panda interiors

On the inside, the Panda is funky at the same time very elegant. The rectangle philosophy of the exterior design and the headlamps is carried inside to the interiors as well.

Everything including the horn, the dash, the gear knob and even the dials is rectangular. The combination of black with beige and the sculpted dashboard give it a very modern and contemporary look.

2012 Fiat Panda rear

The new Fiat Panda is a ‘Tall boy’ design that sits on the same platform as the Fiat 500. It is a five door model by default so that it doesn’t compete against the Fiat 500. It will be available in front-wheeled drive and all-wheel drive combinations. 3 engine will provide the going power:

  • 900c Twin Air two-cylinder engine delivering 65 hp
  • 1.2L four-cylinder petrol engine with 69-hp or 75 HP
  • 1.3-liter Multijet diesel with 75 hp

It will be available in manual as well an automatic Dualogic robotised transmission.

On the kit front, it has brand new “Blue&Me-TomTom LIVE”, large transparent electric “Skydome” sun roof, a Hi-Fi system with CD/MP3 player, 4 airbags (front and window), ABS complete with BAS (Brake Assist System), Daytime Running Lights and Dualdrive electric power steering with “City” function as standard.

The prices are not announced yet but international automotive press is predicting a tag of 8,000 GBP which is around 6 lakhs rupees.

Forget the conversion and the standard safety features that bump up costs - As a product, would you prefer this over the Wagon R in India?

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