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Fiat rolls out Yeti-rivalling Panda. Image by Fiat.

Fiat rolls out Yeti-rivalling Panda
Arresting looks and more off-road capability for ultimate Fiat Panda 4x4.
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Newer articles featuring 2014 Fiat Panda Cross

2014-07-23: First drive: Fiat Panda Cross

What's the news?

It's the Panda 4x4 Sisley reborn - Fiat has gone OTT on the all-wheel drive version of its hatchback to give us the startling Panda Cross. And you'd be a pretty cross black-and-white bamboo eater if you had a face like this.


Don't get us wrong; we really like the front-end of the Panda Cross - by channelling the striking appearance of its predecessor (launched in 2004), it's approaching original Multipla-like levels of offensive ugliness, which is much better than being a bland Eurobox. Good work, Fiat!

The back is less aesthetically challenging, but still pretty wild, and the overall look of the thing is definitely going to put it firmly in the 'love it or hate it' camp - clad as it is in an abundance of silver and black plastic trim, it's not apologetic. Mind you, we've heard several people tell us they preferred the pre-facelift Skoda Yeti, which has just been prettified perhaps to the detriment of its visual character, so presumably these people will be pleased to see the Cross.

Further to the body addenda, it features oversized 185/65 R15 all-season tyres compared to the normal Panda 4x4 offerings.


There's plenty of kit on the Panda Cross and it also has unique upholstery, which is a mix of fabric and eco-leather. The copper dashboard finish is new and you'll get a leather steering wheel with remote controls, a leather gear knob, climate control, Blue&Me Bluetooth connectivity, electric door mirrors and a Terrain Control selector. There'll also be the option of City Brake Control, Fiat's take on the auto-braking low-speed safety system many manufacturers use.


The two engines you can spec in the Cross are both 5hp up on the same units in the 4x4, and they are the excellent 0.9-litre TwinAir Turbo, now giving 90hp at 5,500rpm and 145Nm between 1,900- and 3,000rpm, or the 1.3 MultiJet II turbodiesel, down on power at 80hp at 4,000rpm but up on torque, with a meaty 190Nm at 1,500rpm. In fact, the TwinAir 'de-torques' itself in Eco mode, offering just 100Nm at 2,000rpm. Quoted fuel economy is good on both, at 57.6mpg combined for the petrol and 60.1mpg for the MultiJet, while CO2 emissions are 114- and 125g/km respectively.

There's a Torque-on-Demand transmission, which uses an electronic locking differential and recalibrated electronic stability control to manage torque delivery in tricky conditions. With Terrain Control's three driving modes, Auto (distributes drive front and rear according to grip), Lock (all-wheel drive optimised for off-road use at speeds up to 30mph) and Hill Descent (for the obvious or driving down 'extremely bumpy laneways'), it promises easy off-road capability and minimum maintenance for Panda Cross owners.

The diesel has 160mm of ground clearance and the petrol 150mm. The approach and departure angles have also been increased over the old Panda Cross, with 24 degrees at the front and 33 degrees at the back - the same figures on the previous car were 21- and 32 degrees respectively.

Anything else?

If you're reading this with a puzzled expression, thinking that there's surely already enough choice for rufty-tufty Panda fans, the Cross is the third in the range of mini-SUVs from Fiat. You can have the regular 4x4, as already mentioned, which is certainly prettier but perhaps also blander, or you can go for the Trekking, which looks capable but is in fact only front-wheel drive - all mouth and no trousers, as some say. So the Cross represents the pinnacle of Panda off-roading.

A great factoid from Fiat is that 500,000 all-wheel drive Pandas have been sold since it first appeared way back in 1983. The cheerfully hideous preceding Panda Cross model found 30,000 willing buyers, so the new one is sure to be a hit. Prices will be confirmed later this year ahead of an autumn on-sale date but no doubt it will be more than the 4x4 upon which it is based, and that starts at around 14,500.

Matt Robinson - 24 Feb 2014

2014 Fiat Panda Cross. Image by Fiat.2014 Fiat Panda Cross. Image by Fiat.2014 Fiat Panda Cross. Image by Fiat.2014 Fiat Panda Cross. Image by Fiat.2014 Fiat Panda Cross. Image by Fiat.

2014 Fiat Panda Cross. Image by Fiat.2014 Fiat Panda Cross. Image by Fiat.2014 Fiat Panda Cross. Image by Fiat.2014 Fiat Panda Cross. Image by Fiat.2014 Fiat Panda Cross. Image by Fiat.    - Fiat road tests
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