FIAT PANDA 0,9 TWINAIR 4x4 CROSS
SA’S smallest 4x4 crossover is big on charm (and thirst)
I15,10 sec 66 kw/145 N.m 167 km/h t’s a big pie, the crossover market, and it’s getting bigger by the day, especially here in South Africa. Hoping to take an admittedly thin slice of this pastry is the new Fiat Panda 4x4 Cross, smartly aimed at those to whom a medium-sized SUV is out of reach.
After quietly exiting Fiat’s local line-up in July 2016, a facelifted Panda range has now made its return to our market with four models, all tted with Fiat’s 875 cm3, two-cylinder engine. This Panda Cross 4x4 certainly looks the part and Fiat’s designers have done a commendable job, both inside and out, in giving the little city car a more adventur- 5,88 L/100 km 114 g/km ous persona. With trimmings that include roof rails, protruding front foglamps and an interesting punctured grille below the front bumper, its looks encourage you to exit left off the tar road; there are even respectable angles for off-roading (24 degrees for approach; 34 for departure; and a break-over angle of 21 degrees).
Inside, the Panda’s roundedsquare theme is evident all over, appearing in the design of the steering wheel, air vents and gear knob, to name but three. There is, however, not much secure space to store your belongings, with narrow door pockets and a small glovebox, albeit with a larger, open storage space above it. Between the two front seats, there are four shallow holders for bottles or small paraphernalia.
The cloth seats are comfortable, offering a commanding view from behind the steering wheel, but a few testers complained of an awkward seating position owing to the rake-only steering column always feeling too far away. As expected from an A-segment hatch, space for rear passengers is limited, with taller staffers