Tiny Trooper: The 2014 Fiat Panda 4×4 Review [Video]

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The 3rd generation of the Fiat Panda 4×4 is affordable; fun, chic, cheap to run and surprisingly super capable for something of its size. This ‘people’s off-roader’ is a compact 4×4 that has come far since its cruder days, which have in turn resulted in somewhat low sales figures. Rest assured, this might surprise you by being the perfect all-weather car you didn’t know you needed.

Front view of 2014 Fiat Panda 4x4

2014 Fiat Panda 4×4

It’s a Fiat Panda for sure, but it’s been given the SUV treatment with revised bumpers, skid plates, roof rails, protective side strips, 15” alloys with wider arches and a raised ride height. The alterations to the bodywork of the 2014 Fiat Panda 4×4 give it a rugged and purposeful vibe that blends with the existing cubic design of this city car well and without making it look obscene. The square theme continues to reign supreme in the cabin’s design features. It’s actually less plush than you’d get in a standard Panda in line with a more SUV-like feel. If you want to improve it then there are options to choose the colour of the dash panel and have eco leather trim. Practicality-wise, no less than 15 storage spaces adorn the interior for your carrying needs.

The controls are all clear and accessible and the high mounted gearstick falls nicely to hand. The driving position of the 2014 Fiat Panda 4×4 is elevated in the manner of a compact MPV, giving you a great view all around. There are downsides however such as the headrests being finished in hard plastic, which understandably isn’t the most comfortable thing in the world. The steering wheel is also only height adjustable as with most city cars. One thing that’s quite interesting is the way that it tries really hard to accommodate 3 passengers in the back (which it actually manages decently well despite its size) when you opt for the sliding back bench to maximise legroom. This is something most city cars can’t quite manage. The boot of the 2014 Fiat Panda 4×4 isn’t too bad either with up to 260ltrs available, extending to a full 870ltrs with the seats folded down. You can even opt for the front folding passenger seat to carry longer items. Useful!

rear view of 2014 Fiat Panda 4x4

2014 Fiat Panda 4×4

So the big question – can a city car design actually work in an off-road capacity? Actually despite its city car base design, the 2014 Fiat Panda 4×4 is something that will carry you just about anywhere you want to go (within reason). The torque on demand setup means that it is powered from the front wheels the majority of the time unless something slips, in which case the back wheels will kick in automatically to counter sensing just how much and when this is needed. There is also ASC stability control and ASR traction control combined with ELD electronic differential, which all make for surprisingly sophisticated off-road mechanics that will cater for most situations that should arise when you’ll need them. Especially when combined with a set of all-weather tyres.

It is important to note that the ride height is only 150mm though so the 2014 Fiat Panda 4×4 will be unsuitable for the same kind of terrain you’d be considering a Challenger Tank for. But at the same time it can get you remarkably far off the beaten track despite this. There is a 20 degree gradient limit and a 36 degree departure angle for hitting the bigger uneven stuff. There is also a 2WD ‘Trekker’ variant for those not too bothered with the whole 4×4 milarky too much but like the idea of looking mean in a Panda. This being said, its actually still a fairly capable machine to easily see you through things like slush in a cold snap (especially with a set of winter tyres) thanks to the standard Traction Plus system. There are 2 engines to choose from which both have their merits – the 85bhp 0.9ltr 2 cylinder Twin Air petrol unit and the 75bhp 1.3ltr Multi-Jet diesel engine. The petrol has 6 speed rather than 5 meaning the first gear is good for crawling and hill descents.

The transmission is admittedly a bit notchy in general. The petrol engine is also a bit more eager with a slightly better performance – the 2014 Fiat Panda 4×4 can reach 62mph from rest in 12.1 seconds whereas the diesel is 2 seconds slower. The ride height is 10mm lower due to the way the petrol engine is fitted however. The diesel powered unit of course wins out on pulling power with 190Nm of torque on tap over the petrol’s 145Nm limit. This is naturally good for getting about off-road and towing up to 900kg. So your choice all depends on your priorities – diesel probably has the edge if you plan on taking it on any off-road adventures, while you might be won over by the petrol engine’s slightly more sprightly performance. Both are good engines however. In a more general sense, the ride quality is actually nicer than your standard road-bound Panda due to the 2014 Fiat Panda 4×4’s steroid abused suspension setup. The Dual Drive power steering is a good feature as you can lighten it by simply pressing the ‘City’ button on the dash. There is a bit more body roll due to the extra ride height too but this isn’t greatly noticeable.

All in all, what’s the lowdown with the 2014 Fiat Panda 4×4? This 3rd generation of this somewhat unique combination of city car and SUV is a vehicle that our counterparts in the alpine regions of Italy and France swear by as a way to get around whatever the weather. That alone has got to say something for the capability of this vehicle. It’s a stylish and capable little car which gives you a zippy runabout with a load of extra flexibility that you’ll be thankful for in a cold snap or should you need to get across a muddy field. It’d be a sin to overlook this one when looking to buy or lease an affordable compact SUV of some sort.

If you want to get hold of the Fiat Panda 4×4 then don’t hesitate to leave us a message on our contact us page or give us a call on 01903 538835 to find out about our 2014 Fiat Panda 4×4 lease deals.

Andrew Kirkley
Latest posts by Andrew Kirkley (see all)
  • 4th December 2014

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