Long-term report: Life with a Fiat Panda Trekking – update 4

Lewis Kingston

24 Dec 2020

1/4

An array of official personalisation and practicality upgrades have long been offered for the third-generation Fiat Panda.


Options range from conventional boot liners through to additions such as a headrest-fitted coat hanger and a substantial roof box.


There’s a wide selection of aftermarket parts available, too, from a useful front armrest to engine remaps from Celtic Tuning and Superchips.


Not all are worth your time or money, though, and – since I've spent a fair bit of time fettling and living with my Fiat – I have a few recommendations for those who are looking to improve their Panda a little.



Firstly, I’d recommend a set of Bosch AeroTwin front wiper blades. They’re not expensive and clean the screen more effectively than the stock blades, and don’t squeak or judder, and they have a high-quality appearance.


To further make the Panda easier to drive in poor conditions, or at night, I’d also suggest fitting a set of Osram Night Breaker Laser +150% H4 bulbs. These provide notably improved illumination, compared to standard bulbs, and are a drop-in solution.


Philips has just released a new RacingVision GT200 H4 bulb as well, which is reputed to offer an additional increase in output. The reviews look positive, so they could be worth investigating, but I’ve yet to try them myself.


I would, however, suggest steering clear of Novsight LED options. I experimented with a set of 55W H4 LED replacements, just out of curiosity more than anything else, and came away unimpressed.


The output wasn’t bad but the visibility of the road surface appeared worse, compared to the Osram halogens, and the pattern was inconsistent and messy. Given all the other foibles, potential and observed, the Novsight solution just doesn't seem worth bothering with.



On a similar note, I would advise against replacing the interior bulbs with LEDs. The standard cabin illumination, as pictured above, isn’t awful – but, again out of curiosity and based on some good results in previous cars, I tried myriad LED alternatives and all proved too bright and harsh.


The factory lens in the overhead light housing doesn’t diffuse the output of a high-brightness LED enough, for one thing, so the result is a blinding and sharp white light that’s far too close to your eyeline for comfort.


Upgrading the dim boot light is a sensible option, that said, but the issue I encountered was that you then end up with a pronounced difference in colour between the cabin lighting and the boot lighting. It might not bother you but, if you like things to look right, the contrast between the LED and standard illumination might annoy.


One upgrade I can heartily recommend, especially if you use your Panda in poor weather often, is a set of Gledring tailored rubber car mats. I had been after a set of decent mats, which would stop water and mud getting into the carpets, for a while and had struggled to find any that fit the Panda’s footwells accurately.


By chance, I saw the Gledring ones online and picked up a set – and, pleasingly, I can report that they look the part, fit perfectly and work well. They cost around £35, depending on where you look, but they do occasionally pop up for less. If you regularly use your Panda in harsh conditions, they're a worthwhile addition to its cabin.



Facts at a glance


Model: 2016 Fiat Panda Trekking Twinair

Price: £5395

Engine: 875cc, two cylinders, turbocharged

Power: 85bhp

Torque: 145Nm

0-62mph: 11.5 seconds

Top speed: 106mph

Fuel economy: 61.4mpg – achieving 47.7mpg (calculated)

Mileage: 60,024


Previous updates


Long-term report: Life with a Fiat Panda Trekking – update 3

Long-term report: Life with a Fiat Panda Trekking – update 2

Long-term report: Life with a Fiat Panda Trekking – update 1

Lewis Kingston

24 Dec 2020

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