FACTfile - Fiat Panda 4x4

Fiat Panda – The model in brief

Fiat are proud of their reputation for innovation - and putting out a 4 wheel drive version of their smallest car may not be as silly as it sounds to Antipodean ears. Roadspace is limited in Europe and there are plenty of little villages up in the mountains where this little model will go down a treat. In fact it's not really an innovative move - Fiat have produced 4x4 versions of the Panda before. Anyway here is the spec direct from Fiat in Italy (you'll have to forgive the Latin exuberance) with some photos:

Innovative, appealing design and cutting-edge technology open to all. Clever solutions to make on-board life simpler and better. These values are written into the DNA of the Fiat brand and the Panda 4x4 combines them with a distinctive personality of its own and a desire to get away from it all. The new car immediately conjures up a wish to travel in complete freedom, even to places that are inaccessible to conventional vehicles. Yet this does not detract in any way from the driving satisfaction the car offers when navigating the narrow streets of a city centre. Altogether it is the ideal car for customers who seek handling and exterior elegance in addition to off-road attributes.

The Panda 4x4 may be experienced (and inhabited) as an out-and-out off-roader or a fun car able to weave its way with ease in town traffic. This is, in essence, a car with a dual personality that conveys an immediate impression of freshness and fun backed by solidity and sturdiness. The whole package is also marked by a touch of pizzazz and style that makes it definitely this year's model.

When deciding on the form the new car should take, the Fiat designers delved into the great technical and design heritage Fiat has built up over the years and applied skills only available to a company that has led the compact vehicle market for more than seventy years. With an eye on changing customer profiles within the sector and the good potential growth prospects, we came up with the Panda 4x4.

The new model is available with a lively, tried and tested 60 bhp 1.2 engine (44 kW) that will soon be joined by the revolutionary 70 bhp 1.3 multijet engine; two specifications (Panda 4x4 and Panda 4x4 Climbing), two interior specifications and 11 body-colours. On the one hand, therefore, the Panda 4x4 Climbing presents itself as a small, stylish off-roader able to tackle any situation with an extra touch of sophistication inside and out, an ideal car for extroverts on the move.

On the other hand, the range also offers a second specification (Panda 4x4) that does not feature the stylish exterior features of the Climbing but is altogether a more practical down-to-earth vehicle. Attributes include an extraordinary ability to perform on off-road routes, a viscous coupling drive system and high grip tyres.

Both specifications share small dimensions (e.g. the Climbing version is 357 cm long, 160 cm wide and 163 cm high) and great handling in addition to greater height than the conventional model: the extra five centimetres make all the difference by increasing the already outstanding visibility and allowing great mastery of the road, even over difficult routes. The turning circle is also just 9.6 metres.

Not to mention the fact that the authentic off-road look makes for a minimum ground clearance (standard A) of 165 millimetres for the Panda 4x4 Climbing (160 mm for the basic version). This impression is reinforced by certain exterior features that also perform a specific off-road function: for example, the bumpers (front and rear) come complete with protective shields while the side strips are large and coordinate with special strips on the wings plus a guard under the engine. Two different tyres are also available: the Climbing version comes with 185/65-14 (M+S) tyres suitable for any type of application; the first specification, on the other hand adopts 165/70-14 (M+S) tyres that are specially reinforced with a tread designed for low grip surfaces.

Inside, the Panda 4x4 offers a distinctive and sophisticated interior that benefits from special fabric trims offered in two colour matches: grey/red and grey/yellow. The new 4x4 version also retains the big luggage capacity that has always been one of the strengths of this model. With the one-piece split rear seat folded down, the space increases from a minimum of 200 to a maximum of 855 dm3 (measured to the roof). If the rear seat is split and also slides, the figures are 230 dm3 (with the seat fully forward) and 780 dm3 respectively.

The Panda 4x4 is a car of huge personality that will be able to satisfy customers with different needs and tastes, including the growing number of drivers who seek adventure and an open-air life. The new version offers such customers a permanent four wheel drive system with a viscous coupling and two differentials that come into play automatically when required to tackle any situation with ease. This extraordinary explorer is quite at home over rough and difficult terrain, as borne out by the ramp angles in standard A.

Firstly, the front incidence angle, a measure of the maximum front angle that may be undertaken by an off-road vehicle without the body touching the ground. The second value is the 'rear' incidence angle, i.e. the maximum slope that can be taken in reverse starting from a horizontal surface. The last one is the slope angle, i.e. the maximum possible angle at the base of a triangular slope (isosceles) if it is to be driven up without the bottom of the car touching the ground. The Climbing specification of the new model records the following values: 24° (front), 42° (rear) and 24° (slope), that become 26°, 44° and 23° respectively for the 4x4 specification. The maximum climbable gradient is more than 50%.

The 4x4 supermini boasts excellent driving comfort due to the tried and tested suspension layout with specific settings. At the front, the suspension is independent, MacPherson type with lower wishbones linked to a subframe and an anti-roll bar connected to the shock absorber. The rear suspension is also independent with longitudinal tie rods connected to a specific frame with anti-roll bar.


The engines

Two engines are available

As already mentioned, two engines are available, both built to Euro-4 standards: at the launch, customers will be able to buy the tried and tested 1.2 engine that develops a maximum power of 60 bhp (44 kW) at 5000 rpm and a torque of 10.4 kgm (102 Nm) at 2500 rpm.

In a few months, we will also see the revolutionary 70 bhp (51 kW) 1.3 Multijet engine with 4000 rpm and a torque of 14.8 kgm (145 Nm) at 1500 rpm. A Panda 4x4 equipped with the first power unit accelerates from 0 to 100 km/h in 20 seconds and reaches a top speed of 145 km/h. When fitted with the second-generation turbodiesel, on the other hand, the results recorded are 16 seconds and 155 km/h respectively. After being the first manufacturer to introduce Multijet power units to the mini segment, Fiat is proud to announce that it is the first to make available this engineering asset on 4x4 minis as well. The equipment package on this specific version is complemented by a CONNECT Nav Plus infotelematic system, headlight washers and a Dualdrive electric power steering system (the latter is standard over the range).

The new car has no equals when it comes to safety. Beginning with its outstanding braking system: on versions equipped with the 1.2 Fire power unit, all wheels are fitted with 240 mm diameter discs (the front ones are ventilated) that rise to 257 mm on Multijet versions. The Panda 4x4 offers as standard ABS with EBD complete with an antislip function during deceleration (MSR).

The 4x4 version is the icing on the cake of the Panda range. The model elected 'Car of the Year 2004' is the winner of six more prestigious international prizes. This critical appreciation is confirmed by a runaway sales success; suffice it to say that the Panda is the champion seller in its own market band. To strengthen this leadership, the Panda family is destined to grow with time: in June, for example, we will see the sales launch of a Fiat Panda equipped with the revolutionary 70 bhp 1.3 16v Multijet engine, the smallest and most advanced second generation direct injection common rail diesel power unit. The Panda 4x4, in turn, will go on sale from September in Italy and by the end of October in the other European countries. Initially it will be equipped with the 1.2 Fire unit but the revolutionary 1.3 Multijet will be added to the product range during 2005.

25/09/04

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