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Panda has crossover appeal


FIAT will unveil a Panda crossover variant at the Geneva Motor Show. The Cross model takes the more traditional Panda 4x4 and adds some off-roading credentials to the package.

Looks-wise, the Panda has beefed up with wheel-arch extensions, front skid plate and side mouldings with the ‘Cross’ logo and new roof bars with a titanium finish. There are also 15-inch alloy wheels and a new rear with underbody protection.

The little Cross will get theTorque-on-Demand transmission system, which utilises the vehicle’s electronic locking differential and ESC systems to manage the engine’s torque delivery in difficult driving conditions.

The new system is operated by the Terrain Control selector, which offers the driver three driving modes, namely Auto (distributes power to the wheels according to grip levels), Lock 4WD(for off-road use and detects which wheels need the most power sent to them for grip) and finally Hill Decent (allows the vehicle to descend steep obstacles safely).

There is between 150mm and 160mm of ground clearance,depending on the model, which in combination with short overhangs and improved approach (24°) and departure angles (33°),mean this little Panda can take on some rough terrain.

The two engines available are the TwinAir turbo-petrol and MultiJet II turbo-diesel, meaning that the Panda Cross is unlikely to be headed for local shores when it enters production.

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