£14,700 - £16,650 Price range
The Fiat Panda 4×4 is a small city car with mild off-road ability. It doesn’t seem to have many direct rivals, but the Dacia Duster, Suzuki SX4 and to some extent the Suzuki Jimny are similar in price and capabilities.
Inside, the Panda 4×4 is decently roomy with plenty of headroom, but larger drivers might find it a tight fit. The seats are comfortable, but offer limited adjustability. The dashboard may have some hard and cheap-looking plastics, but thanks to the funky styling they can be easily overlooked.
On the road, the four-wheel drive Panda is very similar to its two-wheel drive version. The steering is light and the gearbox is easy to use. For slippery road conditions, the electronic stability program can distribute power to either of the rear wheels and the special tyres designed for mud and snow are very grippy.
Equipment levels are good with base models getting Bluetooth phone connectivity, CD/MP3 stereo, fog lights, heated electric mirrors and remote central locking. However, the splitting rear seat which increases practicality is not standard but a £100 option instead.
Similarly to the regular Panda, the 4×4 gets the “squircle” theme, as Fiat calls it, inside as well. Everything from the steering wheel, through the buttons and dial binnacles and even the gear lever have a rounded square shape. This gives a fresh look to the otherwise well-built, but lacking premium materials dashboard.
Fiat Panda 4×4 passenger space
Thanks to the boxy body, the Panda 4×4 has good amounts of headroom, but leg and shoulder room aren’t that great. A Dacia Duster is a more spacious alternative. None the less, the Panda 4×4 has an elevated driving position that gives a great overview of the road ahead and thanks to short overhangs and thin pillars visibility is also good.
Fiat Panda 4×4 boot space
Another benefit of the body style is that the Panda 4×4 comes with a good-sized boot, but more importantly the square shape makes it very easy to load bulky items. With the rear bench up, luggage space is 225 litres and rises to 870 when you fold it. The 4×4 Duster is again the more practical proposition with its 408/1,570 litres respectively.
The two-wheel drive Panda is very enjoyable to drive. It’s not a driver’s car, but thanks to the low weight it feels lively and agile. The light steering may be lacking in feel, but it makes the car very easy to manoeuvre in the city.
The Panda 4×4 is similar, despite the added weight and ride-height. There is an increase in body roll when cornering, but it’s never too excessive. The added benefit of the chunky tyres is increased comfort over low-quality road surfaces.
Having rugged looks and an increased ride-height doesn’t magically make the Panda 4×4 as capable off-road as a Land Rover, but it will have no problem getting you out of a muddy field or up a snowy hill thanks to a clever rear differential that increases grip.
There are two engines available for the Fiat Panda 4×4 and they are considered one of the best in the current Fiat line-up. The petrol gets a six-speed manual transmission while the diesel will have to make do with just five gears.
Fiat Panda 4×4 diesel engines
The 1.3-litre Multijet diesel is refined and has good amounts of pulling power for such a light car. With a 0-62mph time of 14.5 seconds, it’s not fast by any means, but the short gears mean it feels much faster in urban driving than the numbers suggest. It returns a fuel economy of 60.1mpg and emits 125g/km of CO2. It’s a good engine if you plan on driving long distances, but the petrol fits the cheerful character of the car much better.
Fiat Panda 4×4 petrol engines
The 1.2-litre TwinAir turbocharged engine is only a two-cylinder but produces 85hp which is enough to move the light Fiat Panda 4×4 around and brings down the 0-62mph time to 12.1 seconds. The car always starts in Eco mode, which limits the power to 75hp and is supposed to make the car more frugal, but it makes the car so slow you end up using more fuel just to keep up with traffic. It returns 57.6mpg and emits 114g/km of CO2.
Small city cars don’t normally score the full-five stars for safety from Euro NCAP and the Fiat Panda scored four. However that score was mainly because the standard Panda doesn’t have stability control. In the Fiat Panda 4×4 you get advanced stability control from the factory, so it should be safer. Hill-hold control is also standard on the Fiat Panda 4×4.
For comparison a Dacia Duster scored just three stars in it’s crash tests, so the Panda is the better bet for those who are safety concerned.
Being nearly the most expensive Panda, the 4×4 gets plenty of equipment such as special 15-inch alloy wheels with tyres made for mud and snow, special stability control system with an electrically locking rear differential which improves traction in slippery conditions. Other standard kit includes air-conditioning and a stop&start system among other less significant equipment.
Fiat Panda Trekker
If you like the rugged looks of the Fiat Panda 4×4 and enjoy the increased comfort of the chunkier tyres but don’t need the extra weight and price premium of the four-wheel drive system, then for £1,500 less the Panda Trekker gets the same reinforced bumpers and increased ride-height but is only front-wheel drive. For that reason it’s also more economical.
The Fiat Panda is a versatile supermini that is practical, has decent amounts of passenger space and the added benefit of four-wheel-drive traction. The Dacia Duster is cheaper to buy, but it can’t match the Panda in both running costs and standard equipment. The Suzuki SX4 matches the Panda on kit but is more expensive. The Jimny, on the other hand, is the closest you can get to the original 1983 Fiat Panda 4×4 – cheap and cheerful.