Aah, the Panda. A small little city car meant to take on big obstacles, outside the city. Interesting though that when you think about it, having a small frugal little city car, ready for adventure over the weekend, it kind of makes sense. Or does it really?
I’ve always been fascinated by the little Fiat. I’ve watched plenty of youtube videos so I’ve seen how capable they can be. Clarkson abused one too on an episode of TopGear and it did amazingly well.
The strangest thing to me is the little twin air – two-cylinder engine. Yes, 2. A little 900cc engine making a healthy 66kw and 145nm that produces a funky little roar when you get on the loud pedal. Except, that’s about it because not much changes, especially when you are out on the open road. If I’m totally honest, its probably not the best place to drive the little thing because where it does shine is in tight spots, where small gaps and parking bays are the name of the game. So why even bother having an all-wheel drive, chunky tired, and a slightly raised body?
The world is full of city slickers and weekend warriors, who love to do strange things over the weekend. Does not matter if it involves, hiking, walking the dogs or even cycling. The Panda is actually ready to go in most of those situations, proving very capable on gravel roads and having a decent electronic based all-wheel-drive system, just ads in…let’s call it sure-footedness.
The panda is not a spacious car by any means. If I throw my 1.9m frame In there, there is no space behind the driver’s seat, which is actually fine, because this is hardly the vehicle I’d even consider if my groupie exceeded 2 people. The cabin is actually decently specced, with electric windows, a cellphone/gps holder mounted to the dash, Bluetooth-USB radio with telephone capabilities and a good enough onboard computer. My only gripe with the radio is that I had to read the manual to pair my phone and I feel small things like these needs to be painless and a straightforward affair. There is no cruise control, unfortunately.
Driver, passenger and side airbags are the norm as well as Abs, Ebd and a very intuitive stability control that works well on loose surfaces like gravel.
The Panda Cross is a cute little crossover city car that reminds me of a little Jack Russel that’s always ready to go. Is it capable, yes, will it go everywhere a purpose 4×4 will, no… but it will probably go further than most need it to go.
Priced from R265 000, it’s not cheap, but there are few cars as funky.