14 Dec 2012

New Fiat Panda 4x4 prices, info and specs

Just occasionally Fiat gets something right.  There was the new Fiat 500, the old Panda 4x4 and...erm...well....they own Maserati and Ferrari.  Otherwise Fiat gets thing wrong.

The Fiat 500 is a success because it's a car that was loved in it's original form and the new model is a modern reproduction with up to date styling, engines and high quality materials and components.

The modern Panda has been a reasonable success but Fiat remembered that back in the eighties the Panda 4x4 sold well.  This wasn't because of it's gutsy engine and luxurious interior.  It had a very weak engine and an interior that fell to bits.  It was because it was so light that it's four wheel drive could take it anywhere a Land Rover could go - but not a Honda HR-V, which can get stuck in a muddy puddle.

So Fiat put their thinking caps on and said, "Eureka! Permet de construire une nouvelle Panda 4x4. Cela va nous empĂȘcher de faire faillite."*

And, voila, the new Panda 4x4 was born.  The Panda 4x4 range starts at £13,950 for the 0.9 litre TwinAir with 85bhp and goes up to £14,950 for the 1.3 litre MultiJet diesel with 75bhp.

Obviously the Panda 4x4 is quite low spec so Fiat detail some quite basic, and strange, things in their blurb about the car, including: twin-coloured seats, coloured dashboard, door panels in coloured ‘eco-leather’, a gloss black instrument surround, body-coloured ‘4x4 style’ bumpers, black wheel arches and side skirts, 15-inch dark alloy wheels and raised ground clearance suspension.

Eco leather?  Dark alloy?

Eco leather is either non-oil based plastic or the skin from a cow fed only on lentils and who's farts are captured and harnessed for energy generation.  Dark alloy is a subcomponent of dark matter and if used in a car may lead to the total destruction of the Universe.  Not to be toyed with.

A strange omission is that bhp, top speed and economy figures are quoted - but not acceleration.  We will, therefore have to guess the acceleration figures.  The full stats are:

0.9 litre Twin Air - 85bhp, 103mph, 57.6mpg, 0-60mph in 38 seconds.
1.3 litre MultiJet diesel - 75bhp, 99mph, 60.1mpg, 0-60mph in 2 minutes 18 seconds.

Those look pretty accurate.  The Panda 4x4 will be a success, unless it weighs 2,000kg - then it will be stupid and a failure.

In 15 years time expect the rural lanes of Wales, the Lake District and Devon to be choc-full of farmers going about their business in cheap as chips secondhand Panda 4x4s.

A two wheel drive version of the Panda 4x4 is also available but that is a silly idea.

*Translation - "Eureka!  Let's build a new Panda 4x4.  That will stop us going bankrupt"