Fiat adds all-wheel-drive with a punchy diesel engine to its likeable city car range.
This is the Panda Cross, an all-wheel-drive version of Fiat’s long-running city car. Powered by the 70bhp 1.3 multijet diesel also used in the 500 and Grande Punto, it’s coupled to a 4×4 system with an electronic differential lock that directs power to wherever there’s the most grip.
Fiat’s intention is to position this car as a mini-sport utility vehicle, emphasising its off-roading abilities. A previous Panda 4×4, powered by a 1.2 petrol engine, provide surprising capable off-road, if slow. This new model should address that because the new diesel engine pulls strongly from low revs.
The car ushers in a new look for the five-year-old Panda design. New round light units front and rear are standard, along with side protection strips, roof bars, alloy wheels and new bumpers. The cabin has a new two-tone design.
Standard equipment includes ESP, air conditioning and a radio/CD. This Panda returns up to 54.3mpg overall and pumps out 136g/km of CO2. At £11,995 it’s the dearest Panda – although Fiat hasten to point out that, as diesel all-wheel drives go, the Panda’s the cheapest.
August 13, 2008