The Fiat Panda Cross is not an angry bear. It’s more like the automotive equivalent of a mountain goat. Fiat already produces the surprisingly capable Panda 4×4, but the Panda Cross is even more off-roadery.
Silver brush guards front and rear and black cladding around the body toughen up the styling. The 15-inch wheels are covered in tall and rugged all-season mud and snow tyres that increase the car’s ground clearance with no alterations to the suspension.
Two engines are available; an 89bhp, 107lb/ft 900cc TwinAir turbo petrol and a 79bhp, 140lb/ft 1.3 MultiJet turbodiesel. Obviously both are all-wheel-drive. The diesel is hooked up to a five-speed manual gearbox, while the petrol has a six-speeder with an ultra-low ‘crawler’ first gear for dragging itself up particularly steep slopes.
Speaking of which, the Panda Cross can go toe-to-toe with ‘proper’ off-roaders. Approach and departure angles are 24 degrees and 34 degrees respectively, with a breakover angle of 21 degrees. That means the Panda Cross can climb up a 70 per cent gradient and traverse a lateral gradient of 55 per cent. To put that into English, it’s probably more capable than you are brave.
To help matters off-road, the Panda Cross has an Off-Road Mode, which locks in the all-wheel-drive up to 30mph, the electronic locking diff engages, the ASR is wound back and the stability control transfers power to the wheels with most grip. Add in hill descent control and raised air intakes for a decent wading depth, and there won’t be much it can’t handle.
Standard kit includes climate control, Bluetooth, USB port, heated door mirrors and a leather steering wheel.
The Fiat Panda Cross goes on sale in the UK in October, priced from £15,945 for the TwinAir, and £16,945 for the diesel.
Visit the Fiat website here