Saturday, 19 July 2014

Fiat beefs up the Panda 4x4

A MORE hardcore version of the UK’s smallest off-roader has just been launched by Fiat.

The Panda Cross is based on the existing four-wheel-drive Panda but adds a stack of gadgets you’d normally only find on much larger off-roaders – including oversized tyres, hill descent control, a sump guard, and a terrain control stability system – to the package.

It's also got a six speed gearbox with a shortened first gear designed with 'crawling' through challenging conditions in mind - admittedly, it's not the low ratio 'box you'll get on a Land Rover Defender, but this will squeeze through many a gap and gulley which the bigger, 'proper' off-roader can't.

Fiat said its sheer versatility has come from more than 30 years of making some of Europe's smallest 4x4s. A spokesman for the company said: "In 2006 SUVs accounted for around seven percent of the total car market in Europe whereas today they account for approximately 20 percent.

"Yet despite the proliferation of models in the past decade the new Fiat Panda Cross remains a truly unique offering, by combining the genuine capabilities of a proper off-road vehicle with the efficiency and practicality of a versatile city car."

Prices start at £15,945 for the TwinAir-engined version, while the 1.3 litre version will set you back £16,945. Both go on sale here towards the end of the year.

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