The Fiat Panda 4x4 has distilled four-wheel drive flavour packed into it like an SUV stock cube. It has a cabin full of infectious charm and covered in facsimiles of the Panda’s trademark ‘squircle’ design motif.
The round-cornered squares are all over the place: on the instruments, the steering wheel boss, the speaker grilles, the HVAC controls. They’re a cute point of difference of just the sort that a small car needs in order to worm its way into your affections.
Underneath that obvious colour and character, though, the substance is a little less appealing.
You’ll find rough, flimsy plastics without prying too hard with your fingertips, as well as the odd bit of sharp-edged or mismatched trim. And – because this is a city car on stilts, remember – you won’t find space in abundance.
Even by A-segment standards, the Panda isn’t that roomy. Larger drivers might be able to feel the extremities of the footwell with their knees and the B-pillar close to their shoulder.
Headroom is generous, though, and while the boot is too small for typical SUV paraphernalia such as dog boxes and the like, the split-fold rear seats make up for some of the practicality shortfall. They should be standard fit, though, and not the £100 option they are.