Fiat Panda 0,9 Twinair 4x4 Cross

Fiat SA has brought back its Panda, along with two quirky 4x4 ver­sions

Car (South Africa) - - CONTENTS -

SOUTH AFRICANS are used to large, bul­bous off-road­ers, which makes this lit­tle 4x4 you see here some­thing of small sar­dine among some very big sharks. Nev­er­the­less, it boasts all-wheel-drive tech­nol­ogy, a take-on-all-com­ers at­ti­tude and can lay claim to be­ing the most af­ford­able new SUV 4x4 avail­able lo­cally.

Par­ent com­pany Fiat South Africa has been busy over the last few months, launch­ing the Full­back, Gi­u­lia and Tipo, with this re­freshed Panda the most re­cent ad­di­tion. Fiat’s city car has the same com­pact pro­por­tions as its pre­de­ces­sor, mea­sur­ing less than 3,7 me­tres long, with short over­hangs front and rear mak­ing it ideal for crowded cities.

Miss­ing from its lo­cal ros­ter for a cou­ple of years, Fiat SA took the op­por­tu­nity of the Panda’s in­ter­na­tional facelift to re­launch the car here with a range that com­prises four of­fer­ings. The A-seg­ment con­tender es­sen­tially comes in two flavours – front wheel-drive and new four-wheel- drive op­tions – and there are two trim lev­els with each driv­e­train vari­ant. Easy and Lounge are the two op­tions for FWD, while the AWD mod­els are la­belled 4x4 and Cross. The lat­ter model, pic­tured here, boasts dif­fer­ent bumpers and roof rails along with ex­tra cladding and de­cals along the flanks to set it apart.

The cabin fea­tures a round­ed­square graphic for many of the trim items, such as the au­dio con­trols and gear shifter, a touch that should go down well with the younger tar­get au­di­ence. Thank­fully, the steer­ing wheel is a more tra­di­tional cir­cu­lar item with a flat­tened bot­tom. Other changes to the in­te­rior in­clude a new de­sign and fab­ric type for the seats.

In­ter­est­ingly, un­like many of its newer ri­vals, Fiat hasn’t both­ered with a full-colour, large-screen in­fo­tain­ment sys­tem, of­fer­ing in­stead a Panda Ucon­nect app that is avail­able on all ver­sions ex­cept the en­try-level Easy de­riv­a­tive. One highlight of the app is the

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