Fiat has left us in absolutely no doubt as to who the latest entry-level incarnations of its long-running Panda hatchling are aimed at. Not when they're called the Young and Young+.
And it has emphasised features that will appeal to first-time car owners - cheeky looks, bright colours, reasonable performance and of course, a decent sound system.
Motivation is supplied by Fiat's old-school, eight-valve 1.2-litre four (this is now the only model in which it survives) tuned for a conservative 44kW and 10Nm at 2500rpm. It drives through a five-speed manual gearbox and pedals the Panda from 0-100 in 14 seconds at a cost of only 5,6 L /100km in the combined cycle.
The Panda Young and Young+ are available in yellow, violet, beige, two different blues and Fiat's signature pearlescent white - and with a choice of three fabric trim combinations - grey/blue, grey/beige and grey/black - each in a special circular Art Deco design.
The base Young version comes in at just under the R100 000 barrier, with body-coloured grille and bumpers (black protective inserts), 13” steel rims, follow-me-home lights, heated rear window with wiper, full-size spare, trip computer, key-operated central locking, electric power steering, aircon, electric front windows and wiring for a stereo system with four speakers and a rear stylus aerial.
Seven grand more gets you the Young+ with 14” alloys, front foglights and a built-in four-speaker radio/CD/MP3 player.
However Fiat has also recognised that a significant number of first cars are paid for by parents, so their safety concerns are addressed by dual airbags and anti-lock brakes with electronic brake-force distribution.
Panda 1.2 Young - R99 900
Panda 1.2 Young+ - R106 900
These include a three-year or 100 000km warranty and 12 months' roadside assistance. Service intervals are 20 000km or once a year, whichever comes up first, and an optional three-year or 60 000km service plan is available for R4570.70.