The new Fiat Panda 4x4 - the only A segment four-wheel drive model - will be making its debut at the forthcoming international Paris Motor Show.
The successor to a bestseller which first appeared almost 30 years ago, today's third-generation four-wheel drive Panda is a perfect interpretation of the spirit of the times, proving itself able to unite consolidated off-road capabilities with a refined design and compact, efficient architecture. The Panda 4x4 is the superlative expression of the model's great versatility, a genuine "Super Panda", ready to tackle mountain mule tracks and the urban jungle with the same cool.
In addition to standard equipment able to satisfy the most demanding of customers, from a technical point of view, the new Panda 4x4 improves itself once again and reasserts its admirable capacity to compete with off-road cars of much greater dimensions (as well as much higher prices).
Style and dimensions
With five doors, the car is 368 centimetres long, 167 centimetres wide and 160 centimetres high. The wheelbase is 230 centimetres long. It has a front track of 141 centimetres and a rear track of 140.
For the look of the new Panda 4x4, Fiat Centro Stile designers started from the idea of consolidating its purely functional design features, adding small details that convey the image of an extremely sophisticated multifunctional mini SUV. Looks are strongly characterised by the marked geometric lines of the front and rear bumpers with aluminium colour cosmetic inserts to underline the presence of metallic protection under the body.
Unlike the previous generation, the tailpipes of the new Panda 4x4 seamlessly follow the lines of the body and ensure complete protection for the lower part of the car. Two body colours now complement the existing colour palette to enhance its 4x4 looks: Sicilia orange (pastel) and Toscana green (metallic).
The interiors pick up the solutions adopted on 4x2 versions with some important innovations: a new green fascia variant framing the instruments and the large storage pocket, fabric seats with a special design in three colour variant (green, beige, orange) and eco-leather details, front and rear door panels also with eco-leather inserts and finally a high console over the central tunnel which adds a further storage compartment to the 14 already present on 4x2 versions.
"Torque on demand" four-wheel drive and ELD (Electronic Locking Differential) function
The Panda 4x4 is equipped with a "Torque on demand" transmission system with two differentials and electronically controlled coupling. This is a permanent four-wheel drive system managed by an electronic control unit which, by analysing vehicle signals, distributes traction on the front and rear axle homogenously and proportionally according to road grip conditions. The advantages of this system are entirely automatic operation and no maintenance.
The Panda 4x4 features the ESC (Electronic Stability Control) system with ELD (Electronic Locking Differential) function as standard. This system provides additional assistance while driving and setting off uphill on slippery terrain (snow, ice, mud etc.). More specifically, the ELD acts by braking the wheels with poor grip (or those slipping more than the others), thereby transferring the drive force to those which have more grip on the ground. This function can be activated manually by pressing the button behind the gear lever and operates below 50 km/h.
Two engine versions for the Fiat Panda 4x4 will be available, both with Start&Stop: the new 85 HP 0.9 TwinAir Turbo and the 75 HP 1.3 MultiJet II diesel. With respect to the 1.2 Fire of the previous generation, the TwinAir Turbo has 40% more torque. This in combination with the special six-speed gearbox with low-range first gear ensures much better uphill starts, quality when starting, flexibility and pick-up. A similar improvement is found on the MultiJet II engine, where torque is increased by 30%.
The suspension system of an all-wheel drive car has two main tasks to fulfil. It must ensure all typically 2WD features such as passenger comfort, handling, road hold and safety, and at the same time it must provide better characteristics for tackling any type of terrain, particularly off-road. Engineers worked on these parameters to reach both objectives. Levels of absolute excellence have been reached with a particular eye to comfort and off-road performance. For this reason, two tried and tested layouts were chosen: an independent MacPherson arrangement at the front and an interconnected wheel with torsion beam layout at the rear, specifically developed for the four-wheel drive version. With respect to the semi-trailing arm solution of the previous generation, the rear suspension is lighter and provides better ride and acoustic comfort with the same off-road performance as before.
Elegant looks combined with real off-road mechanics. Here is, in brief, the spirit of the new model which continues the extraordinary success of the previous Panda 4x4 and is destined to be the benchmark in this particular market segment thanks to its refined style, attention to detail and comprehensive equipment. This is demonstrated by a complete and unique range of standard equipment: ESC system with ELD, manual climate control system, CD/MP3 radio, 15" burnished alloy rims, 175/65 R15 M+S tyres, electric rear-view mirrors, central locking system with remote control and rear head restraints. A vast range of optional equipment and accessories is available, to further enhance its mainly urban or off-road use as required.
Trekking and Natural Power: the Panda family gets bigger
The Panda has the most extensive, versatile range in its category, and to confirm this two important new Panda family members will be making their debut in Paris: the Trekking and Natural Power versions. The first is the link between the 4x2 and the 4x4 version by combining off-road looks with smart front-wheel drive by implementing Traction+ technology. This is an innovative traction control system, which improves handling on slippery terrain guaranteeing excellent performance when setting off. There is also the new Panda Natural Power equipped with a dual fuel (methane and petrol) 80 HP 0.9 TwinAir Turbo engine to combine all the running cost and eco-friendly advantages of methane with Turbo TwinAir technology for excellent fuel consumption, emission and performance values.