So I've been on the lookout for something cheap to run for a couple of months now, but struggled to find something that ticks all the boxes. Most recently I thought I was sorted with a Golf estate locally, but sadly there were a few issues and I chose not to go ahead.
Thankfully AutoShite came to the rescue in the form of a cute little 169 Panda.
I've always rated these cars as we've had one in the household from new which has been a fantastic and dependable thing that's taken us all over the place, including several trips to the Highlands.
Last night I went down the A50 to pick up a blue '06 plate from member Ian and what a pleasant experience it was.
Ian was an absolute gent and the car was immaculately clean when I arrived. Half an hour later me and my brother-in-law Al were on our way back to Staffordshire, choosing to take the scenic and twisty series of roads through Newborough and Abbots Bromley. If you can avoid the farm traffic, there are some great twisty and fun stretches of road perfect around there to test the poise of an Italian supermini.
I'll attach a few snaps from the collection shortly.
Ian was interested to know my thoughts on how the earlier Euro 4 engined Panda compared to our later Euro 5 with VVT, which I'll share here in case it is of interest.
With the Euro 4 I think power and torque are more evenly spread across the rev band. The Euro 5 is ultimately a little quicker, however they feel hesitant and somewhat strangled at lower revs.
The Euro 4 in contrast is more fun to drive and feels like it has more 'get up and go', despite being 7 bhp shy. I definitely prefer it. I'm not sure if the gearing changed between model years, but the Euro 5 feels taller geared?
Handling-wise, the blue example outshines our yellow car. It could be it's a little lighter without air con and things, and the wheels are smaller for more engaging handling. More likely though is Ian had got it in very fine fettle with excellent tyres fitted.
A big thanks to Ian for fixing me up with a happy little car that's a hoot to drive.