New Fiat Panda Cross details released

In 2006 SUVs accounted for around seven percent of the total car market in Europe whereas today they account for approximately 20 percent, and yet despite the proliferation of models in the past decade the new Fiat Panda Cross remains a truly unique offering by combining the genuine capabilities of a proper off-road vehicle with the efficiency and practicality of a versatile city car.

The new Fiat Panda Cross builds on the combination of versatility and style which has been a hallmark of Panda 4X4 versions.

In keeping with the distinctive looks of its predecessor, the front end of the new Panda Cross is dominated by a chunky new bumper which features scratch- and bump-resistant corner sections and a large, functional skidplate.

The new head-light clusters are framed with matte black surrounds and incorporate pronounced new fog lights, while the bonnet trim is also redesigned for the new Panda Cross.

In profile, the Panda Cross features protective wheel arch extensions, thick side mouldings and roof bars. The 15-inch alloy wheels feature a five-spoke V design and a burnished metal finish, while the rear end also benefits from some functional revisions, including a new bumper, distinctive new light clusters and a chrome tail pipe.

Inside, the seats are trimmed in bespoke natural fabrics with brown eco-leather bolsters while the dashboard is finished in a new copper colour to set off the striking new silver finish of the instrument surround and audio system facia. The same finish is also used for the centre console, where the new Terrain Control drive selector - another segment first - is conveniently located.

Terrain Control offers drivers the possibility of adjusting the vehicle's driving characteristics according to how it is being used: There are three modes: Auto, Off-Road and Hill Descent Control.

Auto mode, as the name suggest, automatically distributes the engine torque between the front and rear axles without requiring any input from the driver. On normal roads with good traction, the Panda Cross is 98% front-wheel drive but when a loss of traction is detected the system is capable of automatically reacting by redistributing the engine torque between axles in just a tenth of a second.

In Off-Road mode, the all-wheel drive function is permanently activated up to 30 mph to ensure the Panda Cross responds immediately and consistently to driver inputs. The Electronic Locking Differential (ELD) is engaged, ASR intervention is disengaged and to improve traction on slippery terrain (e.g. snow, ice, gravel or mud), the ESC system is employed to brake slipping wheels, thus transferring the engine's torque to those wheels with the most grip.

Hill Descent Control (HDC) activates automatically when the speed drops below 15mph and remains in standby mode up to 30mph. It employs the vehicle's ESC sensors and ABS brake system to maintain a constant speed and avoid unexpected yaw movements on tricky downhill terrain with unpredictable levels of grip, and requires no input from the driver other than steering actions.

Engines are also upgraded for the new Panda Cross:

The 0.9-litre TwinAir Turbo engine sees its maximum power increased to 90hp at 5,500 rpm (up from 85hp) and maximum torque is 145 Nm (107lb. ft.) between 1,900rpm and 3000rpm. In ECO mode, engine output is 77.5hp at 5,500 rpm and 100 Nm (74lb. ft.) at 2,000rpm.

In terms of performance, 0-62 mph is dispatched in 12.0 seconds and top speed is 104mph, on the test cycle, combined fuel economy was 57.6 mpg (4.9 litres/100 km) with CO2 emissions of 114g/km.

This engine is also equipped with a unique six-speed gearbox which has a shortened first gear to enable the vehicle to crawl while the engine is idling, a useful feature when tackling challenging off-road conditions.

The 1.3-litre MultiJet II Turbo-Diesel engine, with DPF as standard, also enjoys a 5hp boost in power to 80hp at 4,000 rpm, while maximum torque is 190 Nm (140lb. ft.) at just 1,500 rpm. This second generation MultiJet power unit is equipped with a fixed geometry turbocharger and an intercooler, and weighs just 140kg including all its ancillaries.

It can propel the Panda Cross from 0-62mph in 14.3 seconds and on to a top speed of 99mph, and on the test cycle, combined fuel economy was 60.1 mpg (4.7 litres/100 km) with CO2 emissions of 125g/km.

The Panda Cross offers a comprehensive list of standard equipment, including automatic climate control; Blue&Meâ„¢ Bluetooth connectivity with a USB port and steering wheel controls; a satellite navigation dock; heated electric door mirrors; remote central locking; split rear seat with rear head restraints; height-adjustability for the driver's seat and steering wheel; front fog lights; a leather steering wheel and gear knob; ESC system complete with ELD and Terrain Control and specific 15-inch alloy wheels with a burnished finish and all-season 185/65R15 M+S tyres.

A comprehensive range of optional equipment and accessories is also available, including a Winter Pack (£250 - heated windscreen and heated front seats), rear parking sensors (£250), tinted rear windows (£155) and the innovative City Brake Control system (£250) which received a 'Euro NCAP Advanced' reward for its contribution to road safety in 2013. This active safety system operates at speeds of up to 19mph and employs a LIDAR laser sensor to detect the presence of vehicles or obstacles in front of the car and, depending on the data it receives from the ESC system, can automatically utilise the vehicle's Automatic Emergency Braking (AEB), Brake Prefill and Brake Assist systems if the driver fails to intervene promptly. By deploying these emergency braking systems.

The 2014 Fiat Panda Cross goes on sale in the UK early in Q4 2014 priced from £15,945 for the TwinAir version and £16,945 for the diesel-powered model.

Newspress

Peter Thomas

Author:Peter Thomas
Date Updated:21st Jul 2014

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