Don't confine this Panda

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Need a compact city car but also need off-road ability? Well, the Fiat SUV-styled city car is exactly what you need. It goes by the name of the Fiat Panda 0.9 TwinAir 4x4 Cross. 

From the outside the Panda Cross is clearly distinguishable from the regular Panda by its chunkier reshaped bumpers with plastic skid plates, fog lights surrounded by black plastic mouldings, 161mm ground clearance. Despite its small size and cheeky looks, the Panda Cross is a model like no other.

That's because the Fiat Panda Cross has some serious off-road ability. Behind that tough-looking protective cladding sits four-wheel drive and a range of electronic systems – all aimed at increasing grip off-road. New to the Cross is a system Fiat calls Terrain Control. Beneath the gear lever is a twisty knob that lets you pick from three different drive modes - Auto, Off-Road and Hill Descent Control (HDC). 

Powering the Panda is a rather willing 2-cylinder turbocharged 875cc motor that produces 66kw and 145nm. It’s paired with a 6-speed manual gearbox, but sadly, the ratios are a little too long. All of this translates to a leisurely 0-100kph stroll of just over 15 seconds, while fuel economy sits in the mid 7s. 

The Fiat Panda 0.9 TwinAir 4x4 Cross is priced at R249 900 and comes with a 3 year/100 000km service plan as standard. It goes up against cars like Renault Duster 4WD and Suzuki Jimny.

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