New car, new A frame, talk Nikki in to it.

Discussion in 'Motorhome Chat' started by haganap, Jul 20, 2010.

  1. haganap

    haganap Funster Life Member

    Joined:
    Dec 5, 2007
    Messages:
    11,070
    Likes Received:
    13,680
    Location:
    Heavan
    Ok, first off, no negatives please, No legal arguments neither, as I have read enough forums to make my own mind up on that score.

    I have decided today to trade in my invalid carriage of a 1007 and bought a new car instead. I have bought a 1yr old Panda 100hp, you know the one, its the sport one and drives like a go kart, beautiful.
    I did see one aframed at the Knutsford show but the seller neglected to return my call today so I opted for my local fiat dealer. (Eddie family guy, does this remind you of any one?)

    So I want to a frame the car and looks like I will be using Towtal in Stoke. However I just have to convince Nikki that it is a sound investment (I certainly wont be changing this car after 5 months) :Angry: Any one wants to buy it, its £3750 semi auto and a nice car especially if you have mobility problems.
    So back to how do I convince Nikki,

    Do you or have you had an A frame? Why? what benefit is there? please help me come up with a positive argument to get one fitted that will have Nikki drooling at the mouth:Laughing::Laughing:
     
  2. pappajohn

    pappajohn Funster Life Member

    Joined:
    Aug 26, 2007
    Messages:
    29,478
    Likes Received:
    16,963
    Location:
    YO11 2BD
    just forget to tell her and hope she doesnt notice Paul. :Rofl1:

    just a thought.....is the panda 4x4 towable, i assume its 4x4.
     
  3. Diabalo

    Diabalo Funster

    Joined:
    Oct 14, 2007
    Messages:
    1,967
    Likes Received:
    380
    Location:
    Rochester
    Can Fiat Panda and sport be in the same sentence?

    I think not:Rofl1:
     
  4. haganap

    haganap Funster Life Member

    Joined:
    Dec 5, 2007
    Messages:
    11,070
    Likes Received:
    13,680
    Location:
    Heavan
    Just for you Dane,

    Fiat Panda 100HP
    Rating:
    Our world has a new hero. The Panda 100HP costs just ten grand but delivers serious thrills

    Text: Richard Meaden / Photos: Andy MorganFebruary 2007


    Its enthusiasm for hard driving is as infectious as it is enlightening

    As regular readers know, when we’ve got something special to test we go to North Wales. Predictable, yes, but in more than eight years of testing we’ve yet to find a more complete challenge for a car, or a more inspiring photographic backdrop than the roads of Snowdonia.

    If the soggy sheep and swaying pine trees that populate the region could talk, they’d tell tales of the day they witnessed a Ferrari Enzo, F50, F40 and 288 GTO together for the first time, or when a 360 Challenge Stradale battled with a Porsche 996 GT3 RS, Noble M400 and Lotus Exige. However, even these seasoned veterans of evo road tests have never seen us arrive in anything quite like this: the new Fiat Panda 100HP.

    We’re big fans of the standard Panda. It’s an honest and able little car, and while we are guilty of poking fun at its lack of pace by strapping it onto a trailer and firing it down the Santa Pod strip behind a G55 AMG (evo 092), we reckon this funky 100HP model is about as evo as £10K’s worth of new car gets. And to prove it we’ve brought it to our favourite test location.

    Despite enduring some terrible times of late, Fiat is fighting back. And it’s no coincidence that the Italian giant is doing so by reinventing its range of small cars. The Panda, Punto and Grande Punto have re-established Fiat’s credibility and mainstream desirability with their impressive combination of distinctive design and satisfying substance. Now, with the groundwork done, Fiat is beginning to target people like us, with the more focused Panda 100HP.

    There’s no doubt Fiat has a rich heritage of cool small cars. Not just urban cool either, but snorty, highly developed racing cars with a glittering competition pedigree. Cars like those fettled at Middle Barton Garage situated on the edge of the Cotswolds. So, with a few hours to kill, we make a slight detour and drop in on Tony Castle-Miller, proprietor of MBG and all-round Abarth fanatic.

    Amongst the gems lurking within the workshop is Castle-Miller’s gorgeous Fiat Abarth 1000 TC Radiale, a pocket-sized ex-works race car with its engine literally poking out the back and wheelarch flares that evoke the purpose and muscle of a Porsche 993 GT2. It literally bristles with attitude and acts a vivid reminder that Mini doesn’t own exclusive rights to small but heroic historic racers.

    Unsurprisingly, the Panda is somewhat overshadowed by its gnarly forebear, but there’s definitely something about the newcomer that draws you in. It too wears flared wheelarches, which conceal a wider track front and rear, while fat 15in alloys are tucked a little deeper into the body thanks to lower and stiffer suspension that features new springs, dampers and firmer bushing material. Larger disc brakes (257mm front, 240mm rear) hide behind the spokes, while beneath the bonnet lurks a 1.4-litre, 16-valve engine mated to a six-speed gearbox. Though it hasn’t been bestowed with the scorpion badge of the legendary Fiat tuner, it’s every inch the miniature hot hatch.

    As you slot yourself behind the fat, leather-trimmed steering wheel, you can’t help thinking that the seat is too flat, too hard and set too high. The wheel moves up and down, as does the driver’s seat, but it would be better if the steering column also had some fore and aft adjustment. That said, despite these unpromising first impressions you can still get comfortable behind the wheel. On the long haul up to our overnight stop in Conway, the 100HP proves surprisingly adept at long distances, both Andy Morgan and I emerging without an ache between us.

    The gear lever is set high in the centre console in an MPV-like fashion, but far from making the little Fiat feel mumsy, the proximity of the stubby stick to the palm-filling wheel is such that you can snap from gear to gear with brilliant economy of movement. In what promises to be an urgent little sporting hatch, this is a good thing.

    In fact the whole interior is terrifically functional and satisfyingly stylish. There’s plenty of door-bin and dashtop space, as well as a trio of snug cupholders in which you can stash coffee, keys or a mobile phone. A pod of clear analogue instruments is supplemented with a bright, expensive-looking LCD panel. This shows the time, outside temperature, the position of the adjustable headlights and also the trip computer readout, which you can toggle through via a button on the end of the windscreen wiper stalk.

    Similarly, the centre console combines aesthetics and ergonomics to great effect, with a pleasingly symmetrical array of heating, ventilation and stereo functions. Not only are they simple and intuitive to use, but they also have that damped, high-quality feel you simply don’t expect in a car at this price point. Nor do you expect a six-speed gearbox, air-conditioning and Bluetooth hands-free connectivity, yet all these features (and more) are included in the Panda 100HP’s £9995 on-the-road price.

    Next morning we get the chance to point the Panda down our favourite and most challenging Welsh roads. Far from feeling overwhelmed, it rises to the challenge with genuine conviction. Revelling in the give-and-take combinations of crests, dips, right-angle corners and fast, open turns, it shrugs off the changing surfaces and thrives in the challenging conditions. Its enthusiasm for hard driving is as infectious as it is enlightening, not to mention a complete re-education for anyone spoilt by bigger and more powerful machinery (i.e. anyone who works at evo!).

    The brakes are grabby in the first few millimetres of travel, which in turn means they lack sufficient progression for smooth heel-and-toe downshifts, but when you’re really going for it they aren’t so big an issue, simply because the Panda has so much grip and poise – even in the pouring rain – that you simply don’t need to use them that much. You can almost hear the fizzy little Fiat egging you on, goading your lack of commitment with comments like ‘If you’re braking, you’re not trying hard enough!’ In this car, forward momentum is precious and deserves to be preserved.

    Such agility and lack of inertia are the benefits of being so small and light but, rather like an original Mini, if you encounter a series of awkwardly spaced bumps, the Panda gets a little overexcited. While little manages to wrong-foot it sufficiently for you to lift off the throttle, such bumps create sufficiently sharp vertical movement to have you pogoing in your seat to comedy effect. Thankfully there’s plenty of headroom!

    Like all the best front-wheel-drive cars, the Panda 100HP works even when driven beyond the limit of its tyres. The attractive alloy rims may only be 15in in diameter, but they wear chunky 195/45 R15 Goodyear Eagle F1s that deliver prodigious grip, which eventually lets go in progressive fashion. It’s when these baby gumballs yield to lateral g that the Panda shines brightest, digging harder for purchase and continuing to deliver drive even when the nose begins to slide.

    Composed and predictable, not only does the Panda carry great speed into the heart of a corner, but it also has enough in reserve to enable you to get back on the power good and early, which keeps the eager 1.4-litre engine simmering away nicely. You know you’ve maxxed-out the little Fiat’s chassis when the inside front wheel goes light and begins to scrabble, but even then it does so in a controlled manner, the wheel spinning but not so much as to impede your corner exit. True, it doesn’t have an abundance of torque to contain, 97lb ft at 4250rpm to be precise, but then all things are relative, and the polished way in which the Panda makes use of what it has is clear for even the most blinkered car-snob to see.

    The limits might be high, but that doesn’t mean you’re denied involvement or entertainment below ten-tenths. With the Sport button pushed, which adds weight to the electric power steering and enlivens the throttle response (just like a BMW M Power product), the Panda is a tactile, well-weighted device. Steering feel is slightly artificial, but its response is direct without feeling overly jumpy, while there’s a surprisingly detailed flow of information through the wheel. Not only can you feel how hard the tyres are working, but you can hear them too, with a satisfying undertone of sticky tread blocks pushing ever harder into the road surface.

    ESP is a £420 option, but unless you’re of a particularly nervous or dangerously ham-fisted disposition it’s complete overkill. Worse, you can’t fully disengage it. Fortunately our test car doesn’t have it. Better, we say, to let your hands and feet guide the Panda and spend the four hundred quid or so on optional side and window airbags as a worst-case contingency!

    You could be forgiven for thinking fun can only be found in the corners, but the Panda is no slouch in a straight line. We didn’t have the time to challenge the claimed 0-62mph time of 9.5sec, nor the 115mph maximum. Suffice to say that it feels good for the boasts. In fact, if our experience in Wales is anything to go by, rarely has 99bhp translated into more entertaining progress.

    Seemingly whenever you look down at the speedo the Panda’s doing a good 80mph. Uphill, down dale, mid-corner, the stubby speedo needle will be nudging licence-losing territory. Best of all, despite the suggestively flared wheelarches, sporty rims and clipped roof spoiler, you seem to slip under the radar of drivers in bigger or allegedly quicker cars. They simply see the red Panda badge and assume you’re on your way to church, school or supermarket.

    I lost count of the number of drivers who felt the cold slap of humiliation as the Panda’s bluff, blacked-out tail rebuffed their lazy, assumptive overtaking efforts, even on dual carriageways. Be in no doubt, with a determined driver behind the wheel this diminutive Italian hatchback is the annoying fly you’ll struggle to swat, no matter how fast you think your car is.

    Naturally you have to work the smooth, free-spinning 16v engine hard to indulge in such giant-slaying activities, but with six well-judged ratios and one of the sweetest shift actions we’ve experienced in a long time, the Fiat thrives on having its socks caned off. I haven’t driven the new Mini Cooper yet, but its drivetrain will need to be pretty special to put the Panda in the shade.

    The 100HP’s fuel economy was a source of joy, too. The tank’s so tiny you have to be extremely brave with the fuel light to create enough space to squeeze £30 of super unleaded into it. Choose regular unleaded and you’ll do well to spend £25 at the pumps. Even so you can expect to cover 200 miles between fills, even cruising at 90mph. The lowest mpg we saw on the trip computer was 34, and that was after a day of brain-out B-road thrashing. Drive with less urgency and you could probably stretch that to 250 miles.

    In case you hadn’t noticed, we love the Panda 100HP. It’s the most accomplished and exciting small car we’ve driven in ages, encapsulating everything evo stands for in one extremely capable package. It is of course possible to buy a host of iconic used cars for £10K, as we’ll be discovering over the page, but none can boast group 5 insurance, three years’ warranty and minimal running costs, and I doubt many will be much more fun to drive. There’s no doubt in our minds, Fiat has a new hero on its hands.
     
  5. Ash

    Ash Trader - Service & Repairs Life Member

    Joined:
    Sep 22, 2007
    Messages:
    766
    Likes Received:
    189
    Location:
    The Midlands ( Nuneaton )
    :thumb::thumb: Paul , as you know we tow our car , we only tow it if we know we are going to use it ,I can get you a price from Tow-a-car if you like and fit it for you :thumb:
    Alternativly Chris Cox did mine he comes to you picks your car up and returns it the next day ....

    Ash :thumb:
     
  6. Brian and Jo

    Brian and Jo Funster Life Member

    Joined:
    Sep 24, 2007
    Messages:
    2,062
    Likes Received:
    3,831
    Location:
    oswestry,shropshire
    a-frame

    hi paul,nice to see you again at knutsford. Jo has a 57plate panda great little fun towcar.we tow it on an a-frame which we had fitted at tow-tal in stoke.bill and his staff were excellent:Wink:i personally wouldnt use a trailer.because you have to find somewhere to park it at home and there is also the risk of theft from site.with an a-frame you just pop it in the back of the panda,no probs.:thumb:regards brian jo & josh:thumb:
     
  7. Snowbird

    Snowbird Funster Life Member

    Joined:
    Apr 24, 2009
    Messages:
    10,141
    Likes Received:
    16,407
    Location:
    Liverpool.
    Dont know about all that North Wales drivel,but I do know my 1991 panda Formula 91 has been a great toad. Its been draged around Europe and North Africa for years without complaint and has been the envy of the Germans and French all its life as they strugle with there trailers trying to find somwhere to park them on site,not to mention the motorhomers trying to bring back to camp gas bottles,cases or liquid refreshment,sacks of potatoes etc on there bikes.
    On out of camp petanque compititions I never have to buy lunch or beer as my traveling companions are always willing to pay if I give them a lift.
    Am always the first one to be invited to out of camp BBQs if I offer a lift.
    You never have to worry about running out of provisions becouse you always have transport.
    Not forgeting if somone needs hospitalisation,you can always take them:Doh:
    Get the thing bought and realy start to enjoy motorhoming,of course you can always use it to go to work in when not out with the motorhome.
     
  8. 656

    656 Read Only Funster

    Joined:
    Jul 30, 2007
    Messages:
    1,150
    Likes Received:
    291
    Location:
    The universe
    We have just returned from a week in France, we toad our smart and found getting about much easier than with just the van. Aframe are the way to go. However, £1004 for one is a bit strong - but like everyone else I paid it!!!
     
  9. old-mo

    old-mo Funster Extra Special Life Member

    Joined:
    Oct 16, 2008
    Messages:
    12,717
    Likes Received:
    38,630
    Location:
    Dorset
    Nothing wrong with Panda`s,,, next to Volvo they are one of my favorite cars.. :thumb:
     
  10. hilldweller

    hilldweller Funster Life Member

    Joined:
    Dec 5, 2008
    Messages:
    26,462
    Likes Received:
    25,158
    Location:
    Macclesfield
    You sure ?

    We now have our own lawyer, criminal maybe, but he may have an opinion on the legality of whether a UK legal ( if it is ) device is legal throughout the EU when used by a British citizen, even though specifically illegal in many other countries.
     
  11. camcondor

    camcondor Read Only Funster

    Joined:
    Jul 27, 2007
    Messages:
    1,044
    Likes Received:
    477
    Location:
    East Midlands
    Paul, it's a great idea to get an A frame, just do it!! We went the trailer route and bought a lovely, brand new Brian James trailer which is perfectly blalanced and tows like a dream, but we struggle to get it up and down our very steep driveway and I really should sell it - I kept it as I thought we may venture off to Europe in the MH someday.

    We had a Towtal A frame fitted to our Smart - they have large premises and you can park up and wait or drop it off and collect - they are an extremely professional outfit and do all sorts of other motorhome installations and repairs, I would recommend them:thumb::thumb: They are also fairly close to you, I think , being based in Stoke - minutes from the A50. Cost around £750 in those days, I seem to remember!!!

    The A frame is fantastic - I even towed the Smartie behind my old Rangie using the A frame over long distances - Norwich to the Midlands a few times. Its stable, tows well and easy to fit and pack away (even in a Smart Car).

    Go for it!!:thumb::thumb:
     
  12. champers

    champers Funster Life Member

    Joined:
    Mar 9, 2009
    Messages:
    3,443
    Likes Received:
    2,039
    Location:
    Wales
    Paul simple ..... just remind Nikki how much she loves her Chrysler !
    and how you would love to have the same feeling about the car you drive :BigGrin::BigGrin::BigGrin:
     
  13. ourcampersbeentrashed

    ourcampersbeentrashed Funster

    Joined:
    Apr 19, 2008
    Messages:
    7,652
    Likes Received:
    4,284
    Location:
    East London
    Just think of all the extra stuff you can squeeze into the toads boot Paul

    :Rofl1::Rofl1::Rofl1::Rofl1::Rofl1:
     
  14. Diabalo

    Diabalo Funster

    Joined:
    Oct 14, 2007
    Messages:
    1,967
    Likes Received:
    380
    Location:
    Rochester
    Joking aside Paul it makes a lot of sense. I keep toying with the idea of A framing out Aygo, Can anyone tell me if you can get full comp insurance on the verhicel being towed by an A-Frame?
     
  15. scotjimland

    scotjimland Funster Life Member

    Joined:
    Jul 25, 2007
    Messages:
    28,934
    Likes Received:
    25,574
    Location:
    .
    Paul, first, you need to try understand a woman's psychology .. :Wink:

    [ame="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5ZRflz-93JA"]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5ZRflz-93JA[/ame]
     
  16. madbluemad

    madbluemad

    Joined:
    Jan 26, 2008
    Messages:
    3,341
    Likes Received:
    243
    Location:
    spain
    Hi Haggers

    Just put your foot down with a heavy hand and insist that its your shout. It may not get you anywhere but it feels good for a few seconds. :Rofl1::Rofl1::Rofl1:

    Jim

    :Smile:
     
  17. robinmclaren

    robinmclaren Read Only Funster

    Joined:
    Feb 23, 2009
    Messages:
    345
    Likes Received:
    32
    Location:
    coventry , warwickshire
    go for it paul, best thing you will ever do, on our third toad now and love the rav4 , cornwall ohhh yes take the car, scotland this week no car but 9ft box trailer to carry all the toys , inc quad bikes and boats
    not lost on either of our toads so far and unless travelling all your hols you can park up and take car without packing everything away
     
  18. Larrynwin

    Larrynwin Funster

    Joined:
    Feb 22, 2008
    Messages:
    8,518
    Likes Received:
    12,736
    Location:
    Norfolk
    Not a Panda but our 107 fits and tows well on a caratow, go for it Haganap :thumb:

    Larry
     

    Attached Files:

  19. bobandjanie

    bobandjanie Funster Life Member

    Joined:
    Apr 28, 2008
    Messages:
    4,407
    Likes Received:
    2,494
    Location:
    UK / Spain
    Hi Paul, don't know much about the Panda, did hire on once and nice to drive.:Smile: But the cheapest way is try and buy one with an A Frame fitted.:BigGrin:
    We got an old Fiat Cinquecento with a frame on it and tried it, found it handy sometimes, depending where your going, and a pain it the bum other times.:Rofl1::Rofl1::Rofl1:

    It never matters what you have with you, when we had scooters we wished we took our bikes, when you have the car its always nice to have the bikes too.:Doh::Smile:

    They all have their plus and against, after all..............:Wink: Had we not been out in the toad in France we might never have met Jim and Jan :Smile: ( Scotjimland ). :Wink: And you do see a lot more of the area around you.:Smile:

    We decided when we got the Smart we would put it on a trailer, it has not given me any problems, we have room to store it at home.

    The A Frame was a great bit of kit and very easy to fit and store, but I would not have an A Frame if Jane could not drive, as we had to unhitch more than once.( But I think that may have been the map readers fault ) . :Rofl1::Rofl1::Rofl1:

    We don't always take a car, just been to Devon for 3 weeks :Smile: and went out in the car most days, and only twice on the bikes.:Smile: We go to Germany and don't take the car as we will be touring and they have some good cycle routes.

    When we go to Spain we take the car, and that was one reason for the trailer.:Wink: ( But we wont go into that. )

    If your going to have a car and use the car anyway, having an A Frame and being able to take it is a BONUS.:BigGrin: Bob.
     
Loading...

Share This Page