Meet the Fiat Panda … the only A segment four-wheel drive or mini SUV … and if you’re not sure about what size is covered by the A segment then just think ‘very small’.
If you want measurements then the Fiat Panda 4×4 is just 3,680mm long … 1670mm wide and 1600mm high. The wheelbase is 2300mm. the front track is 1410mm and the rear track is 1400mm. Yes, it’s small but somehow Fiat have managed to build it as a 5-door and give it some off-road capabilities.
Engine and transmission
The Fiat Panda 4×4 comes with a choice of two engines a new 85HP 0.9 TwinAir Turbo and the older 75HP 1.3 Multijet II diesel … yes there’s even a diesel for this tiny off-roader. Both engines are combined with a six-speed gearbox and what Fiat calls a “torque on demand” tranmission system with two diffs and electronically controlled coupling.
This is a permanent four-wheel drive system that analyses various signals to distribute traction to the front and rear diffs to ensure optimum traction.
No fuel consumption figures have been released yet but you would expect that a vehicle this size is not going to guzzle down huge amounts of fuel.
Fiat’s engineers have juggled the need for passenger comfort with the need to be able to cope with off-road conditions so there’s basically nothing new in the suspension. At the front the Fiat Panda 4×4 has independent MacPherson suspension and an interconnected torsion beam layout at the rear.
The Fiat Panda 4×4 comes with electronic stability control and electronic locking differential and it rides on 15 inch rims.
Equipment levels are what you would expect in this segment in this day and age. Manual climate control, a combination CD/MP3/radio, electric rear-view mirrors and remote central locking are all standard and there’s quite a range of options that you can add to the vehicle.
There’s no mention of prices for the Panda 4×4 yet … or if it will reach Australia … but I guess all will be revealed when it’s launched at the Paris Motor Show on Sept. 29