Fiat has announced it will debut its four-wheel drive Panda Cross at the Geneva Motor Show. Based on the Panda 4x4, the Cross is an even more extreme off-road version with increased ground clearance and departure angles. Fiat says the all-terrain hatch back is ‘as happy in city traffic as it is taking on the toughest off-road conditions,’ using all-season tyres developed specifically to excel in low-traction scenarios as well as on road conditions.
Available with uprated versions of either the 1.3 MultiJet II or 900cc TwinAir Turbo engines, the Panda Cross uses a ‘Torque-on-Demand’ transmission system to enable its ELD (Electronic Locking Differential) and ESC (Electronically Stability Control) to manage torque delivery in low-grip circumstances. This system is fully automated and controlled by the Terrain Control selector, which offers drivers three modes.
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Auto allows the system to judge for itself what level of torque should be sent to the wheels, whilst Lock brings all four-wheels into play at all times, with varying torque levels controlled by the automatic application of individual brakes. The final mode, Hill Descent, is specifically designed to maximise control down steep descents or bumpy lanes. With this technology, the Panda Cross can drive up a climbable gradient as steep as 70 per cent.
Performance for the Cross’ TwinAir engine is upped to 90bhp, with 57.6mpg achievable and just 114g/km of CO2 produced. The larger 1.3 MultiJet diesel produces 80bhp and 140g/km of CO2, but can achieve 60.1mpg. Both engines are available with a six-speed manual gearbox, which also features a shortened first gear tailored for off-road use.
The Panda Cross styling gives it a more rough and ready look than its city focused siblings, the 160mm MultiJet and 150mm TwinAir ride heights providing it with far more presence. Plastic wheel arches and light surrounds are joined by silver skid plates and roof bars, giving the Panda a rugged exterior that looks good to challenge any terrain.
The interior features fabric/eco-leather unique to the Cross, as well as a raft of standard equipment including a leather steering wheel and gear knob, automatic climate control and Bluetooth connectivity. City Brake Control, Fiat’s award winning system that automatically brakes should an obstacle present itself in front, is available as an option.
The Panda Cross goes on sale in autumn, with pricing, final equipment specifications and technical details being announced closer the car’s launch date.