Review: FIAT Panda 4x4 (2005 – 2012)

Rating:

Impressively capable off road and in snow. Chunky looks. As practical as the standard Panda. Good quality and easy to use interior.

A front-wheel drive Panda rides better. Sluggish performance.

Recently Added To This Review

3 May 2017

Report of intermittend EPAS failure on 2010 FIAT Panda 4x4. Read more

3 June 2011

Panda 4x4 failed its first MOT on 6th April due to excess play in the nsf lower ball joint and was therefore considered too dangerous to be driven away. Fixed under warranty. Read more

9 August 2008

Panda Cross launched in UK, combining driveability and economy of Fiats 1.3 16v MultiJet turbodiesel engine with the proven permanent four-wheel drive system of the Panda 4x4 and a styling pack. New... Read more

FIAT Panda 4x4 (2005 – 2012): At A Glance

It's hard not to love the Fiat Panda. Chic, cheerful, small and cute. European Car of the Year 2004, it's comfortable, fun to drive, has the best-designed control panel of any car anywhere and comes in some great solid colours, including Guacamole green, Vanilla yellow and a kind of creamy turquoise.

But now we have the options of a Panda with a diesel engine, or a Panda with four wheel drive. Later, we might be able to buy both together, depending on how robust the drive system proves to be with the more torquey diesel. It should be okay though. There are plenty of original Panda 4x4s still romping around with over 200,000 miles under their wheels.

What does a FIAT Panda 4x4 (2005 – 2012) cost?

List Price from £14,975
Buy new from £11,053
Contract hire from £170.24 per month

FIAT Panda 4x4 (2005 – 2012): What's It Like Inside?

Dimensions
Length 3574–3581 mm
Width 1605–1611 mm
Height 1632–1643 mm
Wheelbase 2305 mm

Full specifications

The list price of £7,895 includes a radio/CD player, remote central locking, ABS with EBD and brake assist. But not a split, folding, sliding rear seat, which remains a necessary £200 extra because all the standard seat has is a flop-down backrest.

Child seats that fit a FIAT Panda 4x4 (2005 – 2012)

Our unique Car Seat Chooser shows you which child car seats will fit this car and which seat positions that they will fit, so that you don't have to check every car seat manufacturer's website for compatibility.

Which car seat will suit you?

What's the FIAT Panda 4x4 (2005 – 2012) like to drive?

The Multijet is the same 1,248cc chain-cam 16 valve Euro 4 70bhp common rail direct injected diesel also found under the bonnets of Puntos, Ideas, Corsas and now even Combo vans. It's a great little engine, slightly longer geared in the Panda at about 27.5mph per 1,000 rpm in top, capable of 65mpg on the combined cycle and emits just 114g/km C02 and doesn't need a particulate trap. It weighs a bit more than the petrol engines, but not enough to make the car feel clumsy, and it's actually the fastest Panda with 0-60mph in 12.7 seconds and a top speed of 99mph.

The 4x4 is a different sort of animal with raised 165cm ride height and chunky 185/65 x 14 or optional 185/70 x 14 M+S tyres. Its suspension is stiffer so on the road its ride quality suffers a bit, but it corners flatter so the extra height does not seriously affect its handling. It's slow, though. Zero to 60 takes nearly 20 seconds.

A driveshaft to the viscous coupled rear diff spins at the same speed as the front driveshafts. When slippage is detected at the front, the coupling couples drive to the rear. There are no limited slip diffs, diff locks or anything else to worry about. All the driver has to do is drive. Unlike the original Panda 4x4, which has a solid back axle, the new one has an alloy-cased diff with independent driveshafts to the rear wheels, though the torsion beam type axle only allows the same movement between them as on two wheel drive versions.

Off road the system is astonishingly effective. Short overhangs, good ground clearance and a short wheelbase enable it to keep going in deep, muddy ruts and cross ridges you would have thought impossible. It even made mincemeat of the course at Thruxton 4x4 centre, romping around in second gear. With its relatively light weight of 980 kilos it should also be as good in snow as the old Panda 4x4 was. While big 4x4s sink into the stuff, a Panda 4x4 crushes only the top layer and then effectively drives over the snow.

So, if you live in a country area frequently snowbound in winter, or your house is up a rough and muddy track, or you go skiing a lot then the Panda 4x4 is ideal. However, as is the case with most 4x4s, we could see rather a lot of them in towns and cities, endowing their ‘toff roader' owners with fake 4x4 cred while never venturing off road.

Engine MPG 0-62 CO2
1.2 4x4 43 mpg 20.0 s 155 g/km
1.3 MultiJet 4x4 54 mpg 18.0 s 136 g/km

Real MPG average for a FIAT Panda 4x4 (2005 – 2012)

Real MPG was created following thousands of readers telling us that their cars could not match the official figures.

Real MPG gives real world data from drivers like you to show how much fuel a vehicle really uses.

Average performance

91%

Real MPG

37–56 mpg

MPGs submitted

25

Diesel or petrol? If you're unsure whether to go for a petrol or diesel (or even an electric model if it's available), then you need our Petrol or Diesel? calculator. It does the maths on petrols, diesels and electric cars to show which is best suited to you.

What have we been asked about the FIAT Panda 4x4 (2005 – 2012)?

Every day we're asked hundreds of questions from car buyers and owners through Ask Honest John. Our team of experts, including the nation's favourite motoring agony uncle - Honest John himself - answer queries and conudrums ranging from what car to buy to how to care for it as an owner. If you could do with a spot of friendly advice before buying you're next car, get in touch and we'll do what we can to help.

Ask HJ

Which small 4x4?

I currently drive an ageing BMW 320Ci Although I live in the Home Counties, my parents live in a hilly area of Wales and I am considering a used, economical 4x4 to ensure I can visit them and do their shopping, when the winter arrives. Do you have any suggestions as to a suitable vehicle to consider? My budget would be quite limited, I'm afraid (up to £3k).
Fiat Panda 4x4 2005-2012 model: http://www.honestjohn.co.uk/carbycar/fiat/panda-4x4-2005/ Obviously nothing like as quick and relaxed on the motorway as a 320Ci, but hugely better in the snow.
Answered by Honest John
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