Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (FCA) presents the refreshed 2017 Fiat Panda, with the range including the 4×4 and Cross versions for the first time in nearly a decade.
Since launching locally in 2013, the Panda range has expanded from the Easy and Lounge versions in conventional front wheel drive (4×2) for the city car, to include the highly anticipated 4×4 and Cross versions, so-called City SUVs.
Fiat Panda represents personality and comfort developed to emphasise different expressions of the model; city car, 4×4 and Cross, all united by functionality and simplicity. The compact exterior dimensions coupled with clever interior space, meet the buyer’s every requirement.
The design of the Fiat Panda is as fashionable and versatile as ever. It is still the same size: 3,650mm long, 1,640mm wide and 1,550mm high. The wheelbase is 2,300mm long. It has a front track of 1,410mm and a rear track of 1,400mm.
New features are the two fresh body colours and the two novel rim patterns. The two contemporary liveries perfectly reassert the different expressions of Panda. The pastel Amore Red emphasises the dynamic nature of the city car, and the metallic Colosseo Grey, with its modern technical undertones, highlights the all-rounder mood of the city-SUV range.
The hub cap design on the 15” steel rims, which are standard on the Easy and Lounge trim levels, confers dynamism and robustness, while the 15” alloy rims on the 4×4 and Cross derivatives combine elegance and character.
The steering wheel is pleasant to the touch and enhances ergonomics by adopting a modern double central spoke matched with the dashboard and seat upholstery. The Easy version offers, on request, radio controls and leather upholstery, which are standard on the Lounge version. The 4×4 comes with leather upholstered steering wheel, radio controls and titanium finish, which becomes silver on the Cross.
The graphics of the instrument panel have also been updated to improve the overall readability thanks to a more modern design.
The seat fabrics are entirely refreshed with new graphics and colours for all trim levels. The new colour combinations and the fabric weave are embellished with contrasting stitching. The Easy and Lounge versions have geometric elements that are current and elegant at the same time. The interior of the Panda 4×4 is enriched with shot fabric in the centre to convey an idea of sophistication and robustness at the same time.
With its five doors and large opening angles, the Panda can comfortably accommodate up to five people and has the largest boot in its segment: 225 l that turns into 870 l when the rear seat backrest is folded down.
Fiat Panda offers maximum freedom of use with its space modularity, several storage compartments and different front and rear seat configurations.
The Panda with the Easy trim level features a radio and manual climate control system as standard equipment, whereas on the Lounge, 4×4 and Cross versions the standard equipment includes the new UconnectTM infotainment system with Bluetooth 2.1, audio streaming, a USB port located in the cubby, a dash mounted USB recharging port as well as voice recognition.
The engine line-up features Fiat’s unique two-cylinder 900cc3 TwinAir petrol engine producing 63kW of power at 5,500 r/min and 145Nm of torque at 1,900 r/min driving the front wheels through a 5-speed manual transmission on the Easy and Lounge versions and a 6-speed manual transmission on the 4×4. The Panda Cross features a slight power increase with 66kW driving through a 6-speed manual transmission.
As the only 4×4 model in the A-segment, the new Fiat Panda 4×4 is the successor to the International best-seller which first appeared almost 30 years ago. Today, the third generation Panda 4×4 comes of age, offering improved quality in terms of space, comfort, functionality, technology and safety features. The Panda is the perfect blend of a first and second car without trading the space and the comfort of a five-door compact, made even more exciting by the adoption of a 4×4 system which offers maximum freedom of use.
In short, the Panda 4×4 is the optimum expression of the model’s versatility, a genuine “Super Panda”, ready to tackle mountain tracks, the urban jungle as well as larger and more expensive off-road vehicles with the same cool “Goes Everywhere, Parks’ Anywhere attitude.
Style and dimensions
For the look of the new Panda 4×4, Fiat Style Centre designers began by consolidating the functional design features, adding small details that convey the image of a sophisticated multifunctional mini SUV. The vehicle’s look is strongly characterised by the geometric lines of the front and rear bumpers, with aluminium coloured cosmetic inserts underlining the presence of under-body protection.
Unlike the previous generation, the tailpipes of the new Panda 4×4 seamlessly follow the lines of the body and ensure complete protection for the lower part of the car. For those who choose the 4×4 version, two new body colours now complement the existing colour palette: Sicilian orange (pastel) and Tuscany green (metallic).
The interiors pick up the solutions adopted on 4×2 versions with a few significant exceptions; a new green fascia frames the instruments and the large storage pocket, fabric seats are available with a special design in either green, beige or pumpkin, and eco-leather details, there are front and rear door panels also with eco-leather inserts and a high console over the central tunnel which adds a further storage compartment to the 14 already present on the 4×2 versions.
‘Outdoor’ spirit with ‘off-road’ mechanics
The Panda 4×4 is a vehicle with outstanding personality, which knows how to win over the most demanding customers, lovers of adventure and life in the open air. For those customers, the new version uses a “Torque on demand” drive system, which is activated automatically when required. The Panda 4×4 is perfect for any road surface, and even has the capacity to easily traverse slippery or muddy surfaces as well as gravel. The Panda 4×4 also offers all the dynamics and comfort needed to complete long and challenging routes, thanks to the revised suspension, the 6-speed gearbox with shortened first gear and the specific 175/65R15 tyres.
The Panda Cross defines a new type of vehicle in the segment. As its name implies, the Panda Cross is able to traverse difficult terrain thanks to its all-wheel drive and its Electronic Locking Differential. The Panda Cross customer is looking for a vehicle with large off-road vehicle credentials, yet the advantages a compact size vehicle can offer.
For this reason, although the Fiat Panda Cross has a distinctive style, making it recognisable and, it has been designed to optimise off-road performance with a stylistic language typical of an SUV. All the style details serve to protect the mechanical parts, making it more robust and secure. Moreover, the Panda Cross is designed to tackle all terrain types, even the most challenging, yet move around in city traffic and, more importantly, to park anywhere.
The front features a brand-new bumper incorporating a generous skid plate in a body colour is standard on the Cross but customers have the option of ordering the Cross Plus package that consists of skid plates and door protection panels in silver ultrashine colour as well as alloy rims and red tow hooks.
The Cross also features new light clusters and new fog lights integrated with the logo holder bonnet trim, and new DRLs with LED technology, built into the skid plate.
Side-on, certain specific elements stand out, such as the pronounced wheel arches, mouldings with ‘Cross’ badge and the new roof bars that mimic the finish of the skid plate. The 15″ steel wheels feature a unique hubcap design ensuring damages done to the rims off road do not cost a great deal. The rims feature 185/65R15 all-season tyres.
The rear end is characterised by a distinctive look, a new bumper with under-body protection continuing the design and finish of the front skid plate, the protected light clusters and the chrome tail pipe.
Inside, the Panda Cross is characterised by a refined passenger compartment offering standard equipment such as automatic climate control, CD/MP3 radio with Blue&Me™ system with steering wheel controls, rear head restraints, height-adjustable steering wheel, fog lights, leather steering wheel and gear knob and height-adjustable driver’s seat. The fabric seats have a technical appearance featuring brown eco-leather side strips that match the trim on the door panels. The front seats are characterised by the burnished Cross wording on the backrest. The dashboard fascia comes in a new copper colour, as does the central console, where the brand-new Terrain Control drive selector is fitted. The equipment is completed by the leather steering wheel, with built-in controls, and the leather gear knob.
“Torque on demand” four-wheel drive and ELD (Electronic Locking Differential) function
The Panda 4×4 and Cross versions are equipped with a “Torque on demand” transmission system, with two differentials and one electronically controlled coupling. On the 4×4 derivative, this is a permanent four-wheel drive system managed by a control unit which, by analysing vehicle signals, distributes traction to the front and rear axles according to the road conditions. The advantages of this system include fully automatic operation and zero maintenance.
Compared to its 4×4 sibling, the Panda Cross takes the ‘Terrain Control’ a step further by offering selector-controlled AWD features based on the driving conditions. The ‘Terrain Control’ lets the driver select three different modes:
- AUTO – Automatic distribution of drive between the two axles in accordance with the grip levels of the road surface
- LOCK – The four-wheel drive is always active for optimal off-road use, with distribution of torque among the four wheels, braking the wheels that are losing grip (or slip more than the others), and thus transferring the drive to those with the most grip.
- HILL DESCENT – For optimum handling of particularly steep hill descents or when going down extremely bumpy routes.
The Panda 4×4 features the ESC (Electronic Stability Control) system with ELD (Electronic Locking Differential) function as standard. This system provides assistance while driving and setting off on slippery terrain. The ELD acts by braking the wheels with poor grip, thereby transferring the drive to those with more grip. This function can be activated manually by pressing the button behind the gear lever and operates below 50 km/h.
The suspension system of an all-wheel drive car has two main tasks to fulfil. It must provide typically 2WD features such as passenger comfort, handling, road-holding and safety, whilst providing optimal characteristics for tackling any type of terrain, particularly off-road.
Engineers worked on these parameters to reach both comfort and off-road performance objectives. Two proven layouts were chosen; independent MacPherson strut at the front and interconnected torsion beam layout at the rear, specifically developed for the four-wheel drive version. The rear suspension is lighter than the previous generation, providing better ride and acoustic comfort with the same off-road performance.
Specific 6-speed gearbox
Connected to the TwinAir Turbo engine, a 6-speed manual transmission makes its debut on the new Panda 4×4 and Cross. This transmission has a shortened first gear to accentuate the model’s off-road features, ensuring optimum hill starts. The shortened first gear is also useful in tackling more difficult terrain, allowing the vehicle to proceed slowly at engine idling speed, ensuring the maximum vehicle control typical of off-road models.
Panda 4×4 and Cross are at ease on rough and challenging terrain, thanks to their generous ground clearance – 150mm and 161mm respectively – and by their excellent off-road approach, departure and break-over angles.
Panda’s new 4×4 model features an approach angle of 21°, a departure angle of 36° and break-over angle of 20°. Due to its design differences, the Cross version features an approach angle of 24°, a departure angle of 34° and break-over angle of 21°. Panda Cross can even tackle a maximum gradient of 70% and a lateral gradient of 55%, values close to those of pure off-roaders and higher than those of the leading SUVs on the market.
Panda Cross is a true off-road vehicle featuring under body protection with steel shields allowing it to tackle even the roughest ride, with no damage to the lower mechanical parts. In addition, the engine intake duct is 711 mm from the ground enabling the Panda Cross to easily traverse gullies and streams.
Exclusive Mopar®-branded services and accessories
Transforming your car into a unique, personalised item: that’s the aim behind the wide, extensive range of accessories and services created by Mopar®, the reference brand for services, customer care, original spare parts and accessories for the Fiat-Chrysler brands.. As well as offering more than 450,000 original spare parts, Mopar also provides the Group’s customers, in over 130 countries, with a catalogue that includes nearly 25,000 high-quality accessories.
Numerous special accessories are available for the Panda, such as the 15″ alloy wheels, mirror caps and red hub caps, tyre valve caps with the Fiat logo, bicycle holder and the “personality” interior kit; the handy coat hook and velvet mats with the Panda logo.
THE BIG DEAL
In a programme devised to entice buyers of older, less environmentally friendly vehicles into a Fiat brand vehicle, the FCA Environmental Scrapping Campaign; “THE BIG DEAL”, aims to draw in owners of older, or even scrapped vehicles, and trading them into a new or used environmentally friendly Fiat vehicle.
The Campaign focuses on 3 transaction types, consisting primarily of a scrapped vehicle deal; customers will be offered up to a maximum of R40,000 by the dealership on receipt of a Scrapping Certificate for their old vehicle. This is to be used towards the purchase of a new or used Fiat vehicle.
In order to qualify for this campaign, customers will be required to produce a Scrapping or Deregistration Certificate of Vehicle, proof of Ownership (Natis Doc, or alternative) as well as proof that vehicle was registered in the name of the owner within the last 6 months.
Customers wishing to take part in the campaign that have not yet scrapped their vehicle would need to do so in person at the relevant licensing department. The vehicle then needs to be deregistered on eNatis and at the South African Police Service (SAPS).
Vehicles that are eligible for deregistration or scrapping include those that have been declared unfit for operation on public roads, have been stolen and not recovered, have been permanently demolished or have become exempt from registration.
In the event a customer does not qualify for the above campaign, Fiat dealerships will offer two further trade in programs to ensure customers are able to drive away in the Fiat of their dreams.
All Fiat vehicles are available from dealerships countrywide and carry a 3 year/100,000km warranty and service plan.