The Fiat Panda of the future could see us all riding around Toy Town

The Panda is becoming the inspiration for a whole family of cute and clever multi-energy vehicles

Fiat Panda concept
(Image credit: Fiat)

The new Fiat Panda concept looks like it came straight outta Toytown with Noddy and Big Ears on board – and that's a good thing if it means people get excited about a small city car. The original Panda was designed as a cheap, straightforward and incredibly practical small vehicle, which is why it's been a success for decades, and the new concept takes that spirit and brings it into the 2020s with a range of what Fiat calls "multi-energy" vehicles.

The new era Fiats are described by the firm as "children of the Panda" and the first one, a city car, will be revealed in July to coincide with the brand's 125 anniversary. But as the concept shows, the firm isn't looking backwards here: the same platform can be used for the cute city car pictured as well as a pickup truck, a hatchback, an SUV and a camper.

The new Pandas are expected to use the same platform as the newest Citroen C3, and will come with three different powertrains: pure EV, hybrid EV and petrol power. 

Why isn't the new Panda a pure EV?

It looks like Fiat is hedging its bets here, as EV sales are slowing in most of the world while sales of hybrids have been increasing. Charging remains a key concern around EVs, and while it's an issue that's often overhyped by anti-EV voices those voices are likely to be having some effect on sales. 

Fiat describes the new car as a "Mega Panda", which is best said aloud in a movie trailer voice, and it's going to be available globally. However the different models here are all concepts, so we don't yet know which if any will actually make it to market. It's likely that the ones that do will be somewhat less futuristic than the brightly hued models in the promotional pictures.

Fiat is a huge deal globally but a much smaller player in the US, where according to Jalopnik it only sold 605 cars in 2023 – and while the new Panda concepts are undeniably cute they're likely to be a tough sell in a market where even the greenest vehicles are getting bigger and heavier. 

Things are very different in Europe, however, where small cars are much more popular. There, the Panda continues to sell six figures every year. Not bad for a car that's been with us since 1980.

Carrie Marshall

Writer, musician and broadcaster Carrie Marshall has been covering technology since 1998 and is particularly interested in how tech can help us live our best lives. Her CV is a who’s who of magazines, newspapers, websites and radio programmes ranging from T3, Techradar and MacFormat to the BBC, Sunday Post and People’s Friend. Carrie has written more than a dozen books, ghost-wrote two more and co-wrote seven more books and a Radio 2 documentary series. When she’s not scribbling, she’s the singer in Glaswegian rock band HAVR (