For the younger and dynamic drivers the new Fiat Pander Cross is just up your street. With the new distinctive looks and colours it is immediately recogniseable standing out from the rest of the small SUVs.
The front end is dominated by the large skid plate with incorporated LED day-lights and the two bright red recovery points.
To the side the Panda has lower side protective strips with the CROSS badge embossed into them, 15 inch brushed dark alloy wheels, pronounced wheel arches again with paint protecting black trim and up top a set of sturdy roof bars.
The rear view is all new too, with a lower skid plate, chrome tail pipe and new burnished light clusters.
The interior is very tech savvy, a good clean layout and very spacious for the vehicle size, including the boot area which is top of its class with a 225ltr capacity.
The Panda Cross is aimed at the city resident with an interest in the great outdoors. All of your modern urban car gadgets and safety systems come included in the package as would be expected for a vehicle that sits at the top of the Panda range. However, like its predecessors this little 4×4 should not be underestimated as an off roader, it is very capable especially with the new suspension configuration, transmission selections and diff lock.
The Panda Cross offers an option of two engine sizes the 80hp 1.3 multijet II turbo diesel or the 90hp 0.9 Twin Air Turbo, the first of the Fiat two cylinder engines. These are both linked to the drive train through a 6 speed transmission with the first gear being a crawler gear for off road hill descents and climbing.
The new “Torque on Demand” system is a permanent all-wheel drive system managed by an electronic control unit which, by analysing vehicle signals, distributes traction on the front and rear axles proportionally according to the surface grip conditions. The advantages of this system include fully automatic operation and zero maintenance. The Cross also comes with Electronic Stability Control (ESC) and at the touch of a button Electronic Locking Differential (ELD) both as standard.
As on top end SUVs and vehicles with a decidedly off-road temperament, the Panda Cross offers off-road drivers the possibility of selecting four-wheel drive according to the driving conditions, with a choice of three modes:
AUTO – Automatic distribution of drive between the two axles in accordance with the grip of the road surface
LOCK – The four-wheel drive is always active for optimal off-road use, with distribution of torque among the four wheels, achieved by braking the wheels that are losing grip and transferring the drive to those with the most grip. This function operates only under 50km/h.
HILL DESCENT – To assist descents in wet slippery conditions.
Overall, this little 4×4 has been with us for many years now and has gone from strength to strength with a devout following of customers. Previously sneered at, but no longer, the Fiat Panda 4×4 has evolved into a small but competent 4×4 that with the new bold chunky looks is now shouting its presence to the world.
Featured Images; Caricos