Car of the Year 2004: When less is more281 points

11/24/2003 - Car of The year
The gathering of seven notable cars for the final voting produced a very close assessment, with no less than five cars receiving more than 200 points each. The small Panda got the same number of individual top positions than Volkswagen Golf, but the amount of second places was decisive, as it was for Mazda3 tie with Golf (see voting grid).

The name of a veteran graces this all-new model of city-car size with the usefulness and equipment of a much bigger vehicle. While Fiat announces future 4X4 and even an sporty Abarth version, a single body style was enough for this tall mini to get general praise. Roominess and cabin flexibility are often mentioned, as well as the reputation of the Italian manufacturer to make clever, practical small cars and to offer them at very competitive prices. Driving position and high-mounted gear lever are a plus. While petrol engines go almost unnoticed, the impressive, fuel-sparing 1.3 Multijet diesel is quite unusual in the segment and gets full approval. Its 70 hp provides very good performance. There are slight reserves for the road behaviour, even if it is described as more than appropriate for city use.