Fiat has teamed up with navigation app Waze to launch a new special edition Panda Waze – a car it’s claiming is the most social media-savvy city car in the world.
Blending the social-centric Waze app into the Panda Uconnect infotainment app, Fiat says the cost-effective integration of Waze allows the two apps to easily be used simultaneously while on the move.
Fiat has thus effectively got one over Apple and beaten the integration of Waze into CarPlay for easy use when behind the wheel. Well, sort of.
Fiat Panda and Waze: how it works
On the new Panda, users still operate Waze through their smartphone, which fits into a special carrier on top of the dash. It pairs with the Panda Uconnect app, which allows owners to operate other features of the car’s infotainment through their phone – including:
- Altering the volume
- Switching radio stations
- Selecting playlists
- Making calls – and texts
- Diary-checking and weather updates
Waze can be used simultaneously with the Panda Uconnect app: Waze shrinks to a box on the screen when Uconnect is being used, and vice versa, so users can easily flick between the two.
There’s a ‘find my car’ feature on the app for when you forget where you’ve parked it, and a ‘My Car’ section in which you can check the car’s health. It will even flash an alert when owners are running low on fuel or a deflating tyre is detected – and instantly offer to navigate them to the nearest garage. Via Waze, naturally.
Oh, and any selfies you shoot on board the Panda Waze will be saved into their own album in your smartphone’s gallery, for social sharing later. Of course.
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How does it do all this? By communicating with the onboard infotainment system via USB and MP3; also included in the functionality is Bluetooth, audio streaming and voice recognition.
The Fiat Panda Waze special
FCA aftermarket division Mopar has developed the Fiat Uconnect app, bringing high-end infotainment features to low-priced cars. It’s so proud of the added integration of Waze, Fiat’s worked with Waze to launch the new special, based on the 69hp 1.2-litre petrol variant.
Millennials will love it, reckons Fiat, particularly because it’s intentionally been kept (relatively) affordable. Based on the SUV-influenced Panda Cross, the exterior has a ‘black pack’ makeover, including side mouldings, door mirrors and burnished 15-inch wheels, and the Waze logo features on the wings.
There’s new seat upholstery inside, plus climate control, remote locking and the all-important dashboard smartphone holder.
The Panda millions
Since launching it in 1980, Fiat has sold 7.5 million Pandas. (Although Waze is even more popular, it says: the app has more than 100 million active users.)
The Fiat Panda is, in partnership with its retro city car the Fiat 500, Europe’s best-selling city car: the two have a market share of over 28 percent. Pleasingly, the Panda itself is also the overall best-seller in Italy, continuing a tradition that goes back decades.
Almost four decades on from its launch, the Panda can, it seems, still innovate.