Fiat Panda 4×4 road test made Syd wish he had one!

ROAD TEST REPORT AND REVIEW: Fiat Panda 4×4 and Panda Trekking

Fiat Panda hillFollowing his Fiat Panda 4×4 review, SYD TAYLOR finds himself wishing he owned one when the weather turned nasty.

Fiat Panda interiorI pen these words during the last half of the first month of the new year. I look out onto my residential boulevard and wonder at the mysterious magical alchemy of snow. Yes indeedee! The mystical Midlands is blanketed with white. Civilisation has come to a stop. Stray cats on the street look up forlornly. I know what they’re thinking. ‘If only I had a Fiat Panda 4×4 for a chum I would be out of here’.
The toast pops up, and as I ruminate over my marmalade slice I shake my head in wonder for, dear reader, I have recently experienced the acme of up-to-date automobile design and I have those enterprising Italians to thank – for Fiat have produced real marvels with their latest developments of the Panda.
Starting with the ‘City Car’ concept, the end product represents some of the most versatile and appealing motoring marvels I’ve encountered for a long time. On a day like today a Panda 4×4 would represent a dream come true. This amazing machine effectively knocks the crossover concept into a cocked hat. Take one standard Panda: apply increased ride height, 4×4 systems, various extra appurtenances that make for motoring pleasure and you have a most versatile package.
Its capabilities are remarkable and derive from the application of the most advanced technologies. Here is a stylish, appealing, unostentatious delight that tucks away beneath its beguiling exterior an outstanding capacity for off-roading. There’s nothing ‘make-believe’ about it. It says 4×4 but has the ‘go anywhere’ capability of a Caterpillar tractor leviathan. If any ‘city car’ could attempt the north face of the Eiger, this one could. Ferocious gradients, rough terrain, squelchy quagmires – all are brushed aside with a bellisimo dash of bel canto brio. (With apologies to my Italian friends for playing ‘fast and loose’ with their beautiful language – but they will understand that having experienced a masterpiece I am speechless).
Fantastic as this 4×4 is, some may resist such a specialist specification. They want an urban car that is swift, stylish, capacious yet compact, frugal when it comes to the juice and yet confidence inspiring and capable of dealing with imperfect conditions with insouciant aplomb.
If you’re more concerned with enhanced security rather than thrilling adventure, I direct you to the Panda Trekking – a true star in the ascendant and one that Captain Kirk himself would be happy to pilot. It has off-road looks with smart front-wheel drive that uses magic algorithms to control Traction + technology – which improves handling on difficult and slippery surfaces.
For those who prefer the hard facts to romantic rhapsody, look at the data. Panda 4×4 for between £13,950 and £14,950 or Panda Trekking for between £12,450 and £13,450. There’s a choice of either the petrol 85bhp Twin Air Turbo or the 75bhp 1.3 diesel. Both provide excellent economy into the ‘sixties’ and top speeds around 100mph.
My breakfast done, my day looming, I reflected that either of these would suit me to a tee. If only I had the Panda 4×4 it would part the snowdrifts like a determined troika and deliver me safely to the Governor’s Ball in the Winter Palace.
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Fiat Panda interiorRating: ★★★★★☆

THE VITAL STATISTICS
Models: Trekking: 1.3 Multijet 75HP.(Diesel)  0.9 85HP TwinAir. (Petrol).    4×4: 1.3 Multijet 75HP. (Diesel)  0.9 85HP TwinAir. (Petrol).
Engines: Diesel. 1248cc 4/transverse 75HP Petrol. 875cc 2/transverse.
Transmission: Trekking. Front wheel drive.  4×4. Permanent 4×4 controlled by an ECU via two differentials and an electronically controlled coupling.
Performance: Trekking diesel. 100mph. Trekking Twin Air.106mph. 4×4 diesel. 99mph.  4×4 petrol 103mph.
MPG.(Combined)   Trekking diesel: 67.3. Trekking petrol. 61.4     4×4 diesel 60.1   4×4 petrol 57.6
CO2 (g/km). Trekking diesel 109  Trekking petrol 105   4×4 diesel 125  4×4 petrol 114
Safety: Six airbags. ABS. ESP. Option of City Brake Control.
Price: 4×4 diesel £14,950  4×4 petrol £13,950.   Trekking diesel £ 13,450  Trekking petrol £12,450.
Website: www.fiat.co.uk

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