What's the news?
Fiat has announced that it will be offering the Panda 4x4 as part of its 2014 model range. The pint-sized car has developed somewhat of a cult following that should grow even more now as it will be the only car of its size to come with an all-wheel drive option. It will be priced from €19,995 and will be on sale in time for the upcoming '141' registration plate.
Despite its small stature the Panda 4x4 has plenty of attitude. Thanks to some higher-spec sus-pension it will be able to take on the rougher terrain and benefits from increased ground clearance. A happy by-product of this is that it looks that bit more purposeful than before. Adding to this are new bumpers featuring metallic-looking accents, while the black plastic wheel arch extensions and door cladding help the little Fiat to look rugged too.
On the inside Fiat's stylists have created two-tone seats and a painted dashboard while the door panels are finished in an 'eco-leather'. The 4x4 version will be just as spacious as the regular Panda.
Under that bonnet is a 75hp 1.3-litre MultiJet II turbocharged diesel engine, which now has 30 per cent more torque than before on tap. This newer engine is cleaner than before too - CO2 emissions are now just 125g/km - meaning that this 4x4 falls into tax Band B1. Fiat quotes a combined cycle fuel consumption figure of 4.7 litres/100km (60.1mpg) too.
For the majority of the time the Panda's transmission operates in front-wheel drive, but as soon as the car's sensors detect any loss in traction it immediately sends drive to the rear wheels through an electronically-controlled central coupling. The Panda is also equipped with an electronic locking differential that can be activated up to a speed of 50km/h. Along with the more rugged suspension there is also additional under-body protection fitted so there's no reason to be too worried when venturing off the beaten track with it.
Like the rest of the current Fiat range in Ireland, the Panda 4x4 will come with a five-year / 100,000km manufacturer warranty. The new model is available to order now from Fiat dealerships nationwide, though we believe there's a limited allocation.