Panda is a giant among budget off-roaders

Fiat’s cute Panda Cross proves it’s no push-over when the going gets tough.

FIAT’s rugged little Panda Cross has scooped another major honour – 4×4 of the Year, Budget category, underlining its credentials as a serious off-roader.
The award comes from specialist publication 4×4 Magazine, whose panel of expert judges put the all-terrain small car at the top of a list of capable competitors, including the Suzuki Jimny and Lada Niva.
The judges praised the Panda’s off-roading capability, style and affordability, but particularly highlighted the car’s economical 1.3 16v MultiJet turbodiesel engine.
“Panda Cross is easily distinguishable, thanks to its distinctive body mouldings, two-tone paintwork, fat wheelarches and large 15-inch alloys,” says Hils Everitt, editor of 4×4 Magazine. “Besides the funkier looks, standard kit includes air conditioning, a plusher interior as well as the greater economy of a 1.3-litre diesel engine. The full-time 4×4 system that shifts torque to the wheels with the most grip, just like a full-size 4×4, will provide enough all-terrain capability most owners ever need.”
“It might be small, but the Panda is a giant when it comes to serious off-roading,” says Elena Bernardelli, marketing director, Fiat Group Automobiles UK and Ireland. “It’s good to see it continuing to be a top choice for both our customers, and influential judging panels.”
As with any Panda, the Cross’s fuel consumption and emissions are exceptionally low. It returns 42.1 mpg in the urban cycle, 67.3 mpg extra-urban, and 54.3 mpg combined. The CO2 figure is 136 g/km.
Standard equipment includes ESP with Hill Holder, electronic differential lock, air conditioning, alloy wheels, radio/CD/MP3 player with steering wheel audio controls, and electric power steering.
The Panda Cross costs £13,695 on-the-road.