Doctors should be able to prescribe the Panda 100HP on the NHS – it’s the perfect cure for the driver’s blues.

What with the numerous cameras and horrendous congestion that haunts you whenever or wherever you dare turn a wheel, it’s easy to understand why fewer and fewer derive pleasure from the car they drive. However, even before you’ve climbed aboard the lofty Panda’s cabin and stabbed the ‘Sport’ button, the healing’s begun.


The enjoyment starts just by looking at it. Sitting squat and spoilered with wide 15-inch alloys, tinted rear windows, and in our case a fire engine-red paint job, the 100HP borders on hilarious – but it’s no joke.

It is an unadulterated joy to drive. Its engine is sadomasochistic in its willingness to be punished, and screaming like a possessed chainsaw it goads to be revved. Helping deal out the mechanical mayhem is Fiat’s finest gearchange ever, stringing the closely stacked gears ratios together with a slick, beautifully mechanical shift.

Balance is the order of the day through the twists, and there is an abundance of grip incomparable to the bog standard car. It’s also fast enough cross-country to make you ponder whether the Fiat maybe substantially quicker than its 9.5secs 0-62mph claim.

When you’re in the mood the throttle can be sharpened and steering made heavier by engaging the aforementioned Sport mode. The Fiat always feels in the mood. The suspension is taut but is sympathetic to bump absorption, and most of the time it bobs along eagerly.

Cost wise the Fiat is a bargain, rocking in with a low P11D and a low 23.4ppm. Even standard equipment is high, with Bluetooth and climate control standard.

If we weren’t (rightfully) reigned in by my editor I would be tempted to award the Fiat five stars – it’s that good – but some found it frenetic and a little wearing on a long drive. But not me – I’m waiting for my next 100HP fix.