The Fiat Panda 4×4 – who should buy one?
It must have come as a big surprise to many Panda owners when Fiat launched a 4×4 version of the iconic small car back in 2005. It had not been at all unusual for manufacturers of small cars to bring out so-called ruggedized versions of their cars to make them appear trendier. An example of this is the Rover Streetwise launched just prior to the demise of MG Rover. The car had raised suspension and macho styling including big bumpers and an aggressive nose, but underneath it all was just a Rover 25; really the car was a con.
Fortunately Fiat did not take that route. Instead they produced a real 4×4 Panda, and a real off-roader. Underneath it may still bear many resemblances to the baby Panda, but it really is a very grown up version of it. So who should buy one? Well, if you enjoy a little mountaineering and cheap cars this could be just the car for you. To demonstrate what a rugged little car this 4×4 is Fiat arranged to have it driven to the base camp of Mount Everest which is at an altitude of 5,300 meters and where there are no real roads.
This is the ideal car for people who want a city car for the working week, but who like to get away for some SUV fun in their spare time. Around town you can just put it in two wheel drive mode and drive it as if it was an ordinary Fiat Panda, but when you want to go off-road or just move it into four wheel drive mode. This can be particularly useful should there be a sudden snow fall; your four wheel drive Panda will be one of the few cars able to negotiate safely the un-gritted slippery road surfaces.
The Fiat Panda 4×4 is not a particularly fast car, and its ride on ordinary roads is not as comfortable as its baby sister, but as an entry level off-roader it is a great little car. You can find one at Motors.co.uk.