Fiat Panda 4x4 Review 2022

Fiat Panda 4x4 At A Glance

3/5
Honest John Overall Rating
While not a full-blow off-roader, the Panda 4x4 has earns its spurs by coping with more tough terrain than most owners dare throw at it.

+Improvement in ride comfort, outstandingly capable off road and in snow, well equipped and charming.

-Disappointing Real MPG from TwinAir, relatively expensive, interior plastics feel flimsy to the touch.

New prices start from £14,770
Insurance Groups are between 6–11
On average it achieves 82% of the official MPG figure

The Fiat Panda 4x4 has become a cult, a legend and a workhorse, and the third-generation model launched in 2012 brought some welcome comfort to the mix as well. With a choice of punchy petrol and diesel engines, and a special low-ration first gear, it will pick its way over the countryside as easily as it does through town. It’s also affordable to buy and run as a funky second car.

Fiat knows when it’s on to a good thing and the Panda 4x4 is just that. It may not be a huge seller, but it’s a crucial part of the Panda line-up and has a history going back four decades. This makes it a key pillar of the Panda range and one that many of its owners couldn’t contemplate being without.

How does a tiny 4x4 based on a model that straddles the city car and supermini classes endear itself to so many? Part of it is down the looks, which are more ‘aah’ than a video of puppies on social media, and a certain lingering attraction from models gone by.

The majority of its lure, though, lies in the downright brilliant ability of the Panda 4x4 to cope with terrain that would leave most SUVs and larger 4x4s wondering which way the Fiat had disappeared to.

Small is always handy for off-road work as it means the Panda 4x4 can snaffle through gaps others cannot. It also ensures the Panda is relatively light, so it doesn’t need the massive tyres or engines of many 4x4s to scamper across rough ground. Instead, it treads gently and makes good progress in an unfazed manner like a Sherpa ascending Everest.

When the current Panda 4x4 was launched in 2012 as a companion to the third generation of the model, it arrived just as the world was embracing crossovers and SUVs with glee. The timing was ideal and the 4x4 has never looked back. Instead, it has gone on to add the Cross version, which isn’t a model that’s a little bit angry but has more dirt-busting kit to make it an even more capable off-roader.

The 4x4 comes in a single, high spec trim level to cement its position as the range-topper in the Panda range. Opt for the Cross and you get the same levels of kit but with an extra low first gear to help when tricking over rough terrain. It also has Terrain Control to give three settings for rough road driving that includes Descent Control to keep things in check when heading down slippery slopes.

The Cross is also easily identified by its even chunkier body styling that brings a front skid plate that actually works rather than being for show. There are also scratch-resistant plastic panels on the outer bodywork, different headlights and even permanently attached tow hooks to show this is a proper mud basher.

Whichever Panda 4x4 you prefer, there’s a choice of 0.9-litre TwinAir petrol engine or the 1.3-litre MultiJet turbodiesel.

The two-cylinder TwinAir motor is packed with character thanks to its strong low-down power delivery and offbeat engine note. However, it rarely gets close to its claimed fuel economy figures, so the 1.3 turbodiesel is the better bet for those wanting to extend mileage between fuel stops. However, the diesel is no longer available new so you will be looking at a used model for this motor.

Neither engine is especially quick in performance terms and the Panda 4x4 can feel a little high-sided when driving on normal roads. Yet it’s still good to use and its superb off-road ability counters its on-road foibles in a way only the old Land Rover Defender could ever match.

Looking for a second opinion? Read heycar's Fiat Panda 4x4 review.

Ask Honest John

What's the best 4x4 for narrow, rural roads?
"My daughter, an emergency nurse, is moving from the south of England to the North East and will be commuting between hospitals. She is looking to buy a new car more appropriate to the change in climate and the narrower roads. A small 4x4 would be ideal, perhaps a MINI? Your advice would be very much appreciated. "
I'd recommend the Suzuki Jimny, Fiat Panda 4x4, Dacia Duster 4x4 or MINI Countryman All4. The Jimny is a brilliant 4x4. But Suzuki stopped selling it as a new car in 2021, which means your daughter will need a nearly new model via a dealer.
Answered by Dan Powell
Should I buy a four-wheel-drive car for snow or will winter tyres do the job?
"I want to buy a car to drive down to the Alps for the winter ski season. I'm thinking that an AWD or 4WD would be best, or will an ordinary car fitted with winter tyres be as good? I do appreciate that I will need to take snow chains. I don't want it to be too big as it will be parked in an underground car park with fairly tight spaces. I currently have a Honda Jazz so, ideally, not much bigger than that. A newish second-hand car would be best but I would also consider a new car. My budget is £30k. Any advice, particularly a list of models that I should consider, would be really appreciated. Thank you."
A two-wheel drive car with snow tyres is much better than a four-wheel drive without, although a four-wheel drive with snow tyres is the best option of the lot! The Mazda CX-30 is worth considering because it should be as reliable as your Honda and your budget is plenty to get you a brand new car. It looks stylish and feels nicely built inside. It has a 2.0-litre petrol engine so you can expect it to get around 40mpg if driven carefully, about 50% less than your Honda. For parking, it's about 3 cm longer than the Honda. The Skoda Karoq is about the same size as the Mazda. It's not got quite as good a reputation for reliability as the Mazda (it's still pretty good) and it's not quite as stylish looking, however, it is more practical and has better infotainment. Four-wheel drive versions of the Karoq only come with a diesel engine, although I wouldn't let that put you off – it means they have plenty of power and will get better fuel economy than the Mazda. Your budget is enough to get you a new car. Both the Fiat Panda 4x4 and the Suzuki Jimny have lots of grip in snow and are actually slightly smaller than your Jazz, although they both lack power and can feel a little wearing on a long drive. You'll get them brand new under budget.
Answered by Russell Campbell
Which small cars offer 4-wheel-drive?
"My partner is looking for a 4-wheel-drive car, however, it needs to be a small car - something like the Suzuki Swift for size. Can you please advise?"
Your choice is pretty limited. Options include the Suzuki Swift, Suzuki Ignis and Fiat Panda. Would your partner consider a front-wheel-drive car with winter tyres? You might be surprised at the difference a set of tyres can make.
Answered by Andrew Brady
I'm looking to replace my Daihatsu Terios - what would be a suitable new car?
"I love my Daihatsu Terios, which I have had now for about 10 years. I call it the Tardis as it is deceptively roomy. I'm now looking to buy something similar - high driving position and not too wide or long. I am 70 years old and vertically challenged so I like the seating position of the Terios. Not too confident about parking a bigger vehicle either. I prefer 4/5 door and AWD. I also like the reversing sensors and am looking maybe for an in-car sat-nav. What would you suggest? "
A Suzuki Jimny is probably the closest thing you can get to a Terios today. It's not a driving experience that'll be appreciated by everyone, however. Consider a Suzuki Vitara or Fiat Panda 4x4, too.
Answered by Andrew Brady
More Questions

What does a Fiat Panda 4x4 cost?