Insurance Group: 7
0-62 Mph: 14.5 secs
BHP: 75 BHP
Range: 463 miles
PROS: The Panda 4x4 can genuinely hold its own off road, while it also comes with a reasonable amount of equipment for a very reasonable price.
CONS: Adding the off road modifications to the car does have an impact on the running costs, and this version is more expensive than the rest of the Panda range, while it is also fairly short on interior space.
When it comes to judging this car's driving experience, it shouldn't be judged on its on-road experience alone, with the engine delivering sedate acceleration from 0-62mph in 12.8 seconds. The top speed of the car is 104mph, but it isn't one that you will want to test too often, as refinement in the cabin isn't great, with plenty of wind and engine noise audible at speed. However, when it comes to performing as a 4x4, this version of the Panda doesn't perform badly at all, with the diesel engine delivering plenty of torque to the wheels, and it can certainly handle the rigours of farm lanes and basic off roading needs.
One of the disappointing aspects with the car is that seat height adjustment is only an optional extra and the steering wheel only adjusts for reach, meaning some people may find it a little tough getting comfortable. The high body of the car means headroom shouldn't be a problem however, while the centre console is simple and straightforward to use, even while driving.
While the Fiat Panda isn't the most attractive car on the road, it certainly isn't the ugliest, with the tough black plastic protector around the base of the car helping to give the 4x4 version of the car a more rugged look. The small third windows at the back of the car are an unusual touch but on the whole the car looks typical of many other small cars, while the two colour contrast interior of the car also brightens up the package as a whole.
When looking at the equipment that comes with the Panda, it is reasonable rather than generous, with air conditioning and electric heated mirrors both included as standard. The car is also supplied with an alarm and central locking.
Although the Panda has four-wheel drive, allowing it to get to more rural locations, it is still a small car, and space in the rear of the car is quite tight, meaning that taller passengers may feel the pinch. The boot is also fairly small, but the small stature of the car means that it is good around town, especially when it comes to squeezing into tight parking spots.
Safety is one area where the Fiat Panda is a bit of a let down, achieving only four stars out of five in the Euro NCAP tests, and this is demonstrated in the level of safety kit included as standard with the car. The fact that side air bags, a three point centre belt in the back and ESP are only optional extras really should be included, considering that this is one of the most expensive cars in the range. One aspect that may be a concern is that Fiat doesn't always get the best marks for reliability in driver surveys.
With a list price of £14,950, you could either view the Panda 4x4 as an expensive Panda or, conversely, an inexpensive off-roader. The off road modifications and the four wheel drive do increase the running costs slightly, as the 1.3 litre diesel engine delivers an average 60.1mpg.
The low insurance group will certainly make the car of interest for those younger drivers living in the countryside, while it should also hold its value quite well. The on the road package with the Panda is fairly standard, with a three year or sixty thousand mile warranty and a one year roadside breakdown assistance policy.
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