Panda 4x4 eases into view

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THE new Fiat Panda 4x4 – the only four-wheel drive model in the A segment – will make its debut at the forthcoming international Paris Motor Show.

The successor to a bestseller which first appeared almost 30 years ago, today’s third-generation four-wheel drive Panda is designed to tackle mountain mule tracks and the urban jungle with ease.

The new five-door Panda, which is 368cms long, 167cms wide and 160cms high, 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 managed by an electronic control unit which, by analysing vehicle signals, distributes traction on the front and rear axle homogenously and proportionally according to road grip conditions. The advantages of this system are that it is entirely automatic in operation and requires no maintenance.

The Panda 4x4 features an electronic stability control system with an electronic locking differential (ELD) function as standard. This system provides additional assistance while driving and setting-off uphill on slippery terrain (snow, ice, mud etc.). More specifically, the ELD acts by braking the wheels with poor grip (or those slipping more than the others), thereby transferring the drive force to those which have more grip on the ground. This function can be activated manually by pressing a button behind the gear lever and operates below 30mph.

Two engine versions of the Fiat Panda 4x4 will become available, both with Start&Stop: the new 85 HP 0.9 TwinAir Turbo and the 75 HP 1.3litreMultiJet II diesel. Compared with the 1.2litre Fire of the previous generation, the TwinAir Turbo has 40 per cent more torque.

Standard equipment: includes CD/MP3 radio, 15-inch burnished alloys, electric mirrors, central locking system with remote control and rear head restraints.