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Geneva Motor Show 2014: Fiat Panda Cross boasts 'torque on demand'

Published 04 March 2014

The Fiat Panda Cross has been launched at the Geneva Motor Show. Based on the Panda 4x4, the rugged addition to the range has ‘torque-on-demand’ transmission as standard, updated light clusters and extended wheelarches. 

Compared with the Panda 4x4, the Panda Cross looks considerably more durable, with oversized 185/65R15 tyres, improved approach and departure angles and increased ground clearance. The suspension has also been revised, with MacPherson suspension at the front while a torsion beam layout has been developed for the rear to improve off-road handling.

Power comes from uprated versions of the 1.3 MultiJet II and 0.9 TwinAir Turbo, with 80PS and 90PS respectively, although the latter gets a specific six-speed transmission with a shortened first gear to make it more apt for off-road driving. In addition to its increased ground clearance – 16cm for the MultiJet II version and 15cm for the TwinAir Turbo version – the Panda Cross gets new bumpers, under-body protection and side mouldings with the ‘Cross’ logo.

The torque-on-demand transmission is the same as the system in the Panda 4x4, which combines the vehicle’s electronic locking differential and electronic stability control to improve the engine’s torque delivery in difficult driving conditions.

The system is operated via a simple selector on the dashboard and three driving modes will be available: auto, lock-4WD or hill descent. Auto mode will distribute drive between the front and rear axles in accordance with the available grip, while lock-4WD will be optimised for more challenging off-road driving at speeds of up to 30mph. There’ll also be a hill descent more for tackling steep hills or navigating bumpy lanes.

The interior has exclusive fabric/leather upholstery and a copper finished dashboard, while standard equipment will include a leather-trimmed steering wheel with remote controls, automatic climate control and Bluetooth. The Panda Cross is expected to reach UK dealers in the autumn, with prices starting at £15,000.

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