Above, beyond and a little bit further
The crossover SUVs are becoming wildly popular, especially in South Africa and Fiat has decided to join the bandwagon with the Panda. It’s overflowing with typical Italian charm and personality which had me cooing from the moment I laid my eyes on it at the dealership, and for good reason- if you want a vehicle to be successful in this saturated market, it will have to not only deliver but also surpass client expectations. I think it will have no troubles achieving that seeing as I was highly surprised by this vehicle’s offerings, especially since it comes with a highly attractive price tag.
This compact SUV will be ideal for a medium-sized family who are highly fond of adrenaline-filled break-aways once in a while. It’s filled with features but still budget-orientated (something moms will appreciate dearly). It’s the best of both worlds with hatchback benefits and 4x4 capability for those exhilarating trips.
With typical Italian panache, the Fiat Panda is a looker with rougher features and a distinguishing and unique cubic physique. The Cross derivative has distinctive fog lights, an elevated ground clearance, sporty roof rails, a skid plate and an all new bumper. Combined with the raised and perky stance with 15-inch steel wheels that gives this panda a solid, and upright appearance and will surely be noticeable on our South African roads. The dazzling headlights are equipped with DRL and exclusive to the Cross are electric and heated side mirrors. Overall, it’s a cheeky vehicle with clear off-roading features that should be stamped with a catchy phrase like ‘no matter how big or small, the Panda will tackle it all’.
Hop in and the square design continues, the dash has a clear square design to it and the cloth upholstery is adorned with stylish stitching. The steering wheel is also stylishly wrapped in leather for a more luxurious feeling when driving. For a compact it’s rather spacious, but taller passengers might be a little cramped in the rear but it’s more than adequate for children. The 225-litre boot can expand to a sizable 810-litres thanks to a nifty little trick- the spare wheel is located under the vehicle rather than under the floorboard of the cargo capacity.
The infotainment system is equipped with an Uconnect radio, Bluetooth Connectivity, Auxiliary input, USB port, voice recognition, a SMS reader, MP3, navigation, four speakers and a handy smartphone cradle located on the dashboard. To make the experience more enjoyable, Fiat has equipped this vehicle with an automatic air conditioning system, electric windows in the front, steering wheel toggles and a modern stop-start function. To ensure that the whole family is protected throughout the journey the Panda is equipped with multiple smart safety features that include an immobiliser, ISOFIX child seat anchorage, driver front airbag, front passenger airbag, head side airbag, ESP, tyre pressure monitoring system, rear parking sensors, an external temperature sensor, Vehicle Dynamic Control and Hill Descent Control can also be found. Fiat has done a wonderful job to incorporate beneficial features that is sure to elevate the fun driving experience.
This 0.9 TwinAir Turbo produces 66kW of power and 145Nm of torque which, although not that punchy, when keeping in mind this vehicle’s meagre mass, it has an energetic drive. It is rather thirsty and although it has a 4.9-litre per 100km fuel consumption, my test drive didn’t produce a figure even close to it. Don’t get me wrong, it doesn’t guzzle litre after litre, it’s just not as economical when compared to other vehicles in this segment. That’s not to say that it’s a deal-breaker considering its additional features that can’t be found in said competitors. These are features such as the feather light steering which additionally has a City function for a terrific steering experience (maneuvering and parking? Don’t you mean child’s play and easy-peasy?) Along with its highly impressive off-roading capability. This is thanks to the six-speed manual transmission, the Torque-on-Demand four wheel drive and the Electronic Locking Differential system that distributes power equality to the wheels for optimal grip and traction. Overall, it has a pleasant driving experience- it’s spirited enough for easy overtaking and the suspension absorbs the road’s lumps, and bumps with little effort.
Where to find it
If this playful Panda has caught your eye and you would like to own it, visit www.fiat.co.za now!
#Womentorque #Family_Car #SUV #Affordable #Safety #Off_Roading #Reliable #Value_For_Money
Journalist: Desh Bechan
Transcriber: Nita Stadler
Editor: Pearl Mwale