The 4x4 version of the third generation Fiat Panda has been announced.
Still the only 4x4 car in the city car segment, the Panda has long been a staple of people living in remote areas. In the Italian Alps, virtually every house in the highest villages has an old Panda 4x4 parked outside.
The new Panda 4x4 is equipped with a torque-on-demand transmission system with two differentials and an electronically controlled coupling. This is a permanent four-wheel drive system with power being sent to whichever axle can make best use of it. It includes Electronic Stability Control with an Electronic Locking Differential (ELD) function. This provides additional assistance while driving and setting-off uphill on slippery terrain. More specifically, the ELD acts by braking the wheels with poor grip (or those slipping more than the others), thereby transferring power to those which have more grip. This function is activated manually by pressing a button behind the gear lever and operates below 30mph.
There are two engine versions of the Fiat Panda 4x4: 85 PS 0.9 TwinAir Turbo and the 75 PS 1.3 MultiJet II diesel. In combination with a special six-speed gearbox with low-range first gear, the drivetrain should offer some of the benefits of a low-range transfer box without the cost or weight.
There is also a new half-way house model: the Trekking has the off-road looks of the 4x4 with an enhanced traction control system called Traction+. This improves handling on slippery terrain, to give grip and ground clearance closer to the 4x4 versions.