Panda 4x4 Car Report – When Fiat added the four-wheel drive option to their regular Pandas, they also enhanced the appeal and raised the bar for small off-roaders. Improvements from the 1983 original are clear to see.
Not only is the standard Fiat Panda a city car favorite for many commuters, it moves nicely into a in a league of its own when you check out the finer details of this surprisingly capable and exciting petite four-wheel drive.
The basic Fiat Panda hatchback is now equipped with a front-wheel drive biased 4WD system adding an all-important 47mm to the ride height. The light off roader offers options for different alloy wheels and the front and rear bumpers have a distinct 'chunky' appearance.
The subcompact Panda 4x4 undeniably benefits from its torque-on-demand system and the fact that it is the first transverse-engine supermini to acquire all-wheel drive. The electronic differential efficiently transfers the power to the rear wheels, which is especially handy in sticky road conditions. There is no doubt its modest kerb weight and minuscule dimensions provide potential buyers with a huge surprise regarding its off-road capabilities.
Despite being one of the smallest 4x4s on the road, the car's extra height creates a noticeable lean through bends and when cornering.
Perhaps attributed to the same reason, we also detected an increased wind noise, particularly at higher speeds, on the faster highways and motorways.
Good car reviews highlight the good points as well as the bad ones, and you could argue that the trade-off in the Panda's increased height provides a better ride overall.
Motoring in the Fiat Panda 4x4 is especially smooth over the bumps and urban potholes which inevitably plague the roads around the United Kingdom. As you venture away from tarmac, the subcompact Fiat Panda 4WD transforms into a light off-roader that can't fail to amaze you. We struggled to find any typical muddy and challenging terrain that this superb little supermini couldn't handle.
In fact, some of the slippery surfaces it scrambled over, and back down again, defied belief. Our test driver was so impressed that he suggested this latest Panda by Fiat could be a worthy contender for the best small 4x4 SUV car currently on sale in the United Kingdom.
Perhaps we shouldn't expect too much choice regarding the engine specifications of quite possibly the smallest 4x4 hatchback. Nevertheless, there are two engine types available for the Panda 4x4, each rewarding you with varied MPG fuel economy and consumption figures.
If you are planning on buying this model, your first option is the 875cc 89bhp TwinAir two-cylinder petrol with a six speed gearbox. The diesel version is a five speed, 1.3-litre 74bhp MultiJet four-cylinder.
When asked to choose between the two, car experts repeatedly opted for the petrol engine over the diesel, citing quieter and faster motoring.
It is true that the petrol engine has less torque (107 vs. 140lb/ft) but the advantages of a cheaper purchase price seem to sway the review.
The Fiat Panda 4x4 interior design and trim delivers few shocks and even less nasty surprises. The inside is all fairly standard, as you may expect for a tiny hatchback.
The car's user-friendly controls and excellent all-round vision makes it super easy to park for city commuters - earning the Panda bonus points in the car review.
We may be harking on about the increased height of the 4x4, but it has to be said that we were surprised how easy it was for taller bodies to fit inside the cabin, with ample headroom.
The boot is not over generous with storage space, but there is sufficient room inside the rear compartment to provide the family with space for all the usual supermini stuff. The Fiat Panda 4x4 also utilizes a clever process for the folding seats, which are optional on base models.
The interior trim is definitely designed for those who like 'squircles' (square shapes with rounded corners). The Panda 4x4 comes with a colour-coded dashboard has a modern feel to it and clearly sets the latest version apart from previous-generation hatchback Pandas.
If you are searching for a supermini hatchback which is capable of traversing muddy or snow-bound rural lanes, the chic and petite Fiat Panda 4x4 should not disappoint you. Depending on your budget, the TwinAir version or the Fiat 500X SUV can be parked on your driveway for less than £15,000.
The price tag is slightly higher if you prefer to buy the MultiJet diesel, but that may be the most frugal choice when you consider how hard the TwinAir variant might be worked.
All models come with climate control, 15-inch alloy wheels, electric windows, and a CD player. Trendy Bluetooth connectivity, Sat Nav, and the slick sliding rear seats are cunningly stamped on the options list. The Fiat Panda 4x4 review concluded that the car is small and light to drive.
It certainly stands out in the supermini off-roader sector boasting low running costs, more than a reasonable ride, and superior road handling. It has all the benefits and hallmarks of a four-wheel drive hatchback and a subcompact light off-roader.