Allied to its increased ground clearance, the new Panda 4x4’s short front and rear overhangs make it ideally suited to the most challenging of off-road conditions, with approach, departure and breakover angles (the maximum angles of incidence that may be undertaken without the body touching the ground) of 24, 42 and 24 degrees respectively. The new Panda 4x4 will also readily climb gradients in excess of 50%.
On the road, new Panda 4x4 augments the levels of traction and stability inherent in its sophisticated, variable torque distribution four-wheel drive system, with ABS anti-lock brakes incorporating electronic brakeforce distribution, and MSR to modulate brake torque whilst changing down.
Within a bodyshell of exceptional torsional stiffness, the new Panda 4x4 offers a fully comprehensive array of both active and passive safety features. It is the first car in its class to offer up to six airbags, whilst front seatbelts with pretensioners and load limiters, three-point rear seatbelts, and anti-submarining seats are all fitted as standard.
Priced at £9195 on-the-road, and fitted with Fiat’s proven FIRE 1.2 litre, 8-valve, 60 bhp power plant mated to a 5-speed manual gearbox, the new Panda 4x4 will be available in one unique trim designation, offering levels of equipment more usually associated with cars of a higher segment.
Electric front windows, remote central locking, Dualdrive electric power steering, twin front airbags and a Blaupunkt stereo radio/CD are fitted as standard. Moreover, the availability of up to six airbags, automatic climate control, parking sensors, a Sky Dome electric sunroof, steering wheel audio controls and a stereo CD with MP3 player, provides the new Fiat Panda 4x4 with a level of on-board sophistication and refinement unparalleled in this class.
Over one million test kilometres, undertaken through some of the world’s harshest terrain, attest to both the new Panda 4x4’s remarkable off-road abilities and the durability of its drivetrain: in Lapland, the new Fiat performed faultlessly in temperatures of minus 40 degrees, maintaining traction and stability on ultra-low friction surfaces, and overcoming snow covered gradients of more than 40%. In the Kalahari Desert, the most mechanically debilitating of unsurfaced roads combined with dust, sand and 45 degree temperatures subjected the Panda 4x4’s drivetrain and suspension to the harshest examination.
Finally, two Panda 4x4s set out from Kathmandu to drive through the Himalayas to the Mount Everest advance base camp, sited at an altitude of 5200 metres. This was the first time that a small off-road vehicle achieved this goal, a feat made all the more remarkable by the absence of any modification to the standard Panda 4x4, except minor engine control unit adaptations appropriate for the quality of local fuel.Published 29 January 2005