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All-New FIAT Panda Arrives in Ireland By Brian Foley

FIAT Group Automobile has announced pricing and specification details for the third-generation FIAT Panda, which goes on sale in Ireland mid-March. Slightly larger than the model it replaces, the new Panda boasts improved safety standards, more interior space and fresh interior and exterior designs inspired by the concept of the "Squircle" i.e. squared-off circular shapes.

Special attention has also been paid to the materials, solidity and overall finish of the new FIAT Panda, which is now build in FIAT's flagship Giambattista Vico factory near Naples in Italy, while the Panda's chassis benefits from improved noise and vibration isolation, reduced body roll and higher levels of grip.

Two engine options and two trim levels come in Pop and Easy models.. The 69hp 1.2-litre engine is revised for improved refinement and efficiency,. The 75hp, 1.3-litre, MultiJet II turbo diesel engine features Start/Stop and Gearshift Indicator systems as standard. The 85hp, 0.9-litre, TwinAir Turbo engine will be available shortly offering punchy performance and impressive fuel economy along with Band A emissions, just like the rest of the 2012 FIAT Panda range.

Standard specification on Pop versions includes central locking; electric front windows; electric mirrors; front and full-length curtain airbags; anti-whiplash headrests and daytime running lights. The Easy version adds air conditioning; remote locking; front foglights; roof bars and an upgraded audio system. Available features include ESP stability control, climate control, parking sensors, an electric Skydome sunroof, Dualogic automated manual transmission, Blue&Me connectivity and a TomTom Live satellite navigation system. An advanced "Low Speed Collision Mitigation" braking system will be rolled out later in 2012, the first Fiat Group Automobiles vehicle to feature such advanced safety technology.

A new Panda 4X4 Climbing, which is fitted with an advanced all-wheel drive system engineered in conjunction with the FIAT Panda's ESP system, is also scheduled for launch in the autumn. Pricing for the all new FIAT Panda starts at €11,995 for the 1.2 Pop, with the 1.2 Easy priced at €12,995. The TwinAir Easy will retail for €14,495 when it hits showrooms shortly, while the top-of-the-range 1.3 JTDM Easy is priced at €15,545.