Would you drive to Italy in a Fiat Panda?

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  • Would you drive to Italy in a Fiat Panda?
  • northernmatt

    Sell the panda and buy this, no air co but I assume the windows open so you’ll be reyt.

    We did it in a Mini with camping kit and bikes, all the way from Edinburgh. Bit more grunt than the Fiat but no more room. Was a good laugh and a lesson in frugal packing. We even managed to get the bikes off the roof rack and into the car to save money on ferry tickets for an unplanned return via Corsica.

    Also, see if you can remove the rear seats to make more space


    I appreciate you said money is tight but….. I’d seriously consider buying something like a Mondeo, Passat, Volvo V40 etc with a good service history and just use that, then bring it home and sell it on. Worst case you lose a bit of money and its a minor faff either side. Dont worry about mileage, it will be high but be picky and find a car with lots of invoices that has been well maintained. Get European breakdown cover just in case but to be honest if you are ok at spotting lemons, you should be fine without it.

    Eg http://www.autotrader.co.uk/classified/advert/201504293028799/


    Panda should be OK – did a not too dissimilar journey over 20 years ago in a well worn Fiat Uno 60 – stuck to the back roads and had a very enjoyable journey along the way.

    northernmatt – cheers, awesome hulk of a thing but I don’t do red! And mpg???

    Don’t need the kitchen sink just a good economical option that can take a basic camping outfit for two with luggage without flattening back seats as that’s where Mr Dog lives, strapped in like the beast he is.

    Premier Icon midlifecrashes

    Roofbox and get on with it.


    It’s 2.1 diesel, probably do about 40-45mpg on the motorway/peage/autostrada. It is very red though, a bit like a phone box on wheels.

    Premier Icon midlifecrashes

    Oh, just 2 of you and a dog? Swap for a Vespa with a basket on the front and get on with it.

    Premier Icon Suggsey

    Yep toolbox and go with the flow!

    Premier Icon matt_outandabout

    Do it.
    Chris Bonnington rode pillion on a motorbike to south Alps and Italy, wearing gloves to save his fingers from tyre buzz and two huge rucsacs.

    Just do it.

    Oh, just 2 of you and a dog? Swap for a Vespa with a basket on the front and get on with it.

    ^ πŸ˜†

    Of course choosing something with good fuel economy would open up a plethora of offshoot trips and backroads, never been a fan of motorways/autoroutes all the way.

    Premier Icon v8ninety

    Just do it. It’s not even that far, in car mileage terms. Enjoy taking a fiat to Italy 😑


    No problem. If you really feel pushed for room stick a bike rack on the rear and attach a case to that. Should better mpg than a roof box. If it is only two + dog it should be easy.


    Yeah do it!

    I’m hiring one in Tuscany in sept. I expect it will be a riot πŸ™‚

    Premier Icon rickmeister

    Back in the day (1990’s), 4 people in a diesel corsa = roofbox to the Ardeche..

    Just do it, chill out a bit and enjoy. Its not going to haul down the motorway so drive accordingly….

    Im currently on a SDI Lupo in southern Germany and heading to Scotland soon. It will be slow, but will get there….


    It will be slow, but will get there….

    That was the approach I took in France last summer. Tried keeping up with traffic for all of 5 minutes then decided to just pootle along as it was too much like hard work.

    Premier Icon edhornby

    it’s a long way for such a small car, not only the whole of france but also getting over the alps – do you want to go through the mont blanc tunnel dicing with the lorries at insane speeds in pitch black, or the mountain A roads and sh1t the gearbox out of the bottom of the floorplan ?

    it’s the best kind of crazy idea but be prepared (for everything) – good luck if you do πŸ™‚


    Of course

    Get on with it πŸ™‚

    Premier Icon v8ninety

    ^give over, EdHornby. It’s a thousand miles on well paved roads in a modern car, not a journey to Calcutta in a blower Bentley. Just don’t thrape it.


    For the same or cheaper money as that red volvo you could get a Vito and have change. I’d go for a van over a car, but the idea of taking a Panda to its spiritual home really appeals. For extra credit though, do it in a Mk. 1 4×4…

    OK so the plan is to drive to south Italy come September, camping along the way to visit family for a week or so, so the journey there and back can take a week or so too.

    Problem is we shifted the big old expensive limp-mode 5 series and now stuck (?) with an 08 dualogic Fiat Panda, basic petrol model, no aircon, no room for anything other than extremely lightweight camping gear, dog in back etc…

    Options I see are to:

    Bite the bullet and go for it in the Panda with a two person tent and cramp-o-style all the way?*

    Trade straight for a bangernomic estate or small van if even possible?

    Hire a car? (No idea how much this would cost, feels expensive thinking about it)

    Funds are currently tight like a camels a55 in a sandstorm …but the idea is grin-inducing and a welcome break for Mrs R who has been fighting illness/disability for 2 years so it has to be done. Just how is the place we’re at…

    *Of course there is the consolatory bonus of being showered with Italian wine, dancing girls and streamers as soon as we are seen crossing the border in a Fiat… πŸ˜€


    Yes I would no issues driving with wife child and massive family tent in ours. We have a roof box for big trips but if its just two and a dog you should fit all in the boot rear footwells and spare rear seat.
    50 mpg for our petrol version on motorway trips cruises comfortably at 60 to 70 mph.

    Premier Icon rickmeister

    Car is probably ok, the weak point may well be you and the passenger. Take loads of music and make the trip an event not just the means to an end. Dont be too destination focussed and it could be a fair bit of fun.

    Just read the Parkers review and it looks pretty good overall.

    As I said to the guide in Finale Ligura, who was sat on his immaculate dh Enduro weapon when he tpld me that my Ibis Mojo was totaly unsuitable for riding the trails…

    “Its the only unsuitable bike I’ve got “

    I had a great three days of riding and you’ll probably have a blast on your road trip. Seen a Swiss Smart ForTwo with a bike rack on the back in Edinburgh, maybe took the ferry to Newcastle but its still quite a distance.

    Have the Panda serviced/checked over before you go and assuming all’s well just get driving…
    You’ll likely remember the trip because of the seeming ridiculousness of the car – it’s no worse than camping trips on a lower-power motorbike and i’ve done heaps of those to Italy over the years.

    ^give over, EdHornby. It’s a thousand miles on well paved roads in a modern car, not a journey to Calcutta in a blower Bentley. Just don’t thrape it.

    Drove to Naples and back a few years ago in a Citroen 2CV. Take the back roads, enjoy the journey, and DON’T miss the coast road from Genoa to La Spezia.

    Some fantastic responses thanks – knew some of you would be experienced and/or mad as hatters. Current running favourite is the roofbox option. Yes we need a service and a new neutral switch (it occasionally and without warning dumps into neutral – when either braking or accelerating – where it stays until stopped and restarted. Quite unnerving accelerating up a mountain pass on a bend… 😯 )

    DON’T miss the coast road from Genoa to La Spezia

    Sounds like we might not…cheers πŸ™‚

    late in: THIS looks great. Shame it costs more than the car. A solution looking for a problem imo but looks fun:

    shiato storm

    My dad drove through africa in a fiat 500…in the 60’s. with a friend who’s 6’4. for several weeks.
    As long as you don’t rag it you’ll be fine, just enjoy the adventure! πŸ™‚
    I would say it’s not like you’ll be in the middle of nowhere if you need rescuing either.

    Also I hired one when I was in tuscany a few years ago. hilarious fun on the twisty turny roads in the hills…cornering on 2 wheels πŸ˜€

    Slower cars/landrovers/vans are far better on long journeys as its more relaxing on the inside lanes trundling along with the HGV’s. Screaming along at 80mph with Johnny foreigner 2foot off your rear bumper with his indicators on is tiring. Did 4k miles round Spain/Ibiza/France last year in our Transit at mainly 60mph.

    See if they do those window….er wind deflector things for a Panda so you can have the windows open without getting buffeted. Also helps with the truckers tan.


    do you want to go through the mont blanc tunnel dicing with the lorries at insane speeds in pitch black, or the mountain A roads and sh1t the gearbox out of the bottom of the floorplan

    That’ll be the tunnel with a strict 45mph speed limit and lit all the way through?

    Mountainous A roads in a zippy little Supermini? Couldn’t think of anything worse! πŸ˜‰

    And perhaps I’ve got the wrong car, but it seems it will crack 100-110mph so its not exactly a 30bhp slug is it? Probably gets a bit loud when pushing it but like others have said, slot into the inside lane and enjoy a relaxed cruise with the lorries at 58mph.


    You know the Panda. You dont know any random banger. I could get a 6man tent, cushions, airbed, bike kit, toddler, missus and bike on roof in a Citreon C1.

    Tip- use the footwell spaces in the rear.really pressdown/fill.


    I would.

    I did the Alps trip last year in my Fabia which has similar performance (most of which goes to power the A/C πŸ˜† ), just kept it to 110kmh to get decent mpg and relaxed. Wafted down no problems. Have done a similar drive to yours in my old Fiesta a few times (Cardiff-Monza, Cardiff-Barcelona) and it was fine apart from no A/C. Take it easy and plenty of rest stops for the dog will be fine.

    As for the Mont Blanc tunnel that edhornby mentioned, it’s got a strict speed limit so is really just a gentle cruise through a big rock πŸ™‚



    leave tomorrow, if not today


    I drove from London to Sarajevo (and back) in an old Landrover Defender back in 2001.
    The route included lots of motorways and lots of mountains (including Grossglockner)

    It was like being in a WW2 bomber at some points but great fun.

    Your Panda will be fine – just stick to 60mph and enjoy the road trip..


    One litre Clios are the fastest things on French motorways so you should be fine. A mate regularly drives his mk1 Mini Cooper S to Monte Carlo. Think Italian Job and put your foot down.



    Me and the wife did Oxford > Milan and back in ’97 on a Lambretta. A Fiat Panda would be in terms of comfort, be luxury in comparison.

    Don’t be a fool, man. Get yourself a skoda Octavia VRS sports tourer then you’ll have room for your coffee machine, cold smoker and months supply of action slacks with needle sharp creases. Then my son, you will be STW.

    Premier Icon vondally

    Yes min d you I went from north west England to Naples with 5 people in 1983 in a fiat 126 no air con no space with three six foot plus blokes in the car all in the rear.

    People are talking a lot of tosh RR superminis today and need for a big car, as mcmooter says fastest cars in France are one litre Clio’s…you will go at your pace enjoy relax and have a great time. When it Italy drive using the racing line whenever possible….


    Sounds like a laugh to me. A roofbox will make your life easier, but I did 3 people, 4 bikes, 3 spare sets of tyres, camping gear (including a table and a full size 2 burner camping stove) for 2 weeks from Northumberland to Alp D’Huez via Morzine about 4 years ago in a 13 year old 1.4 Renault Megane that was bouncing off it’s wheel arches. No aircon and it’s one of my favourite holidays I’ve ever been on, and the car played a big part in that. It almost didn’t make it up D’Huez, though…

    Your Panda was made 11 years after that Megane, it’ll be fine. Especially for a one off trip. In fact, I’d much rather do the trip in that than a noisy van.

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