What is it? From the outside the Fiat Panda is the most unlikely off roader but underneath this pint sized frames lurks a surprisingly capable car that can trek across streams, mount rocks and wade through the muddiest of ruts.
Who is it aimed at? The Panda 4×4 is a little car designed to appeal to those who need a compact city car that copes as well in the urban jungle as it does in the city.
Styling? The Panda 4×4 is a rough and ready version of the diminutive city car with a ride height raised by 150mm and chunky bumper extension. Roof rails, black wheel arches and side skirts make it look sufficiently rugged for a spot of light rural off-road action.
Under the Bonnet? Powering our potent little 4×4 is the 1.3 MultiJet II 16v diesel engine. This gives an output of 75 bhp but crucially for a 4×4 it offers 190 Nm of sheer pulling power which gives it a lot of grunt.
What about inside? Space is king in the Fiat Panda. The high-set driving position will give every driver a good view of the road and there is plenty of space and loads of headroom making it feel like a much bigger car. The dash is simply and clearly laid out making everything easy to find and operate and it feels solid and very well put together. The five doors make the back particularly useful and accessible and every centimetre has been put to good use.
On the Road? If there is one thing that Fiat do better than most it is creating nippy little cars that are fun to drive and the Panda is no exception. In the city it is cheeky and lively while on the motorway it is surprisingly refined, solid and relaxed. Take it on a winding country road and the level of grip and agile handling will amaze you.
With just 150mm of ground clearance the Panda 4×4 is not designed for exploring sub continents but it is a very capable city car! When the going gets tough and the wheels lose traction the 4×4 system kicks in by sending power to the wheels that still have grip.
And Safety? The Panda comes well equipped with ESP (Electronic Stability Program) and ABS and driver airbag, passenger airbag and window airbags come as standard.
Options? Two unique 4X4 colours, “Sicilia” orange and “Toscana” green metallic are also offered, complete with matching interior detailing.
Economy? Thanks to a Start&Stop system as standard and low weight the Panda proves impressively eco-friendly and efficient with a combined fuel consumption of up to 4.7 l/100km.
Verdict? It is not long behind the wheel before you are completely seduced by the charms of the Panda. We loved the Panda 4×4, this nimble and robust little Fiat is fun to drive and cheap to run. While you may never need to venture off road it’s still good to know that this little car will bravely plough on through the worst of what the Irish weather can throw at it. So for drivers who want a city car with the all-terrain ability of an SUV the Panda 4×4 is the best around.
Why you’ll buy one? Off roading capability in a city car
Why you won’t? Will you ever actually go off road?
Dacia Duster 4×4 – prices start from €19,990
Suzuki SX4 S-Cross All Grip – prices start from €28,295
Fiat Panda 4×4
Engine: 1248cc, 4-cylinder turbodiesel, 74bhp @4000rpm, 190Nm @ 4,000rpm
Max speed: 14.5 seconds
0-100 kph: 159kph
Emissions (Motor Tax) : 125 g/km (€270)
Model price range: €19,995
No of Doors: 5 doors
Euro NCAP : 4 stars
Fuel type: Diesel
Fuel Economy (combined cycle): 4.7 l/100km
Boot Capacity Seats up(down) : 225 litres (870)
Car Seats: 2 Isofix fittings in the rear
Wheelbase: 2300 mm
14th August, 2014