The Fiat Panda 4x4’s mix of city car and SUV traits remains as unique as ever. This version adds expertly judged style to the list, making a truly distinctive car all the more appealing, while the characterful TwinAir engine serves to make the Panda even more quirky, with the Cross quirkier still.
However, the city car and the SUV don’t meet exactly in the middle of the void between them where the Panda 4x4 sits; this is much more a steroidal supermini than shrunken mud plugger. It’s a bit of fun, not a proper utility machine.
Understand that and you’re much less likely to be disappointed by its limitations on practicality and true off-road capability. Once that penny drops, though, you can’t fail to ‘get’ this perky little machine.
For us, it misses out on a class-leading position simply because there are more usable options for the same money. It's a shame that some features, such as split-folding rear seats and side airbags, aren't standard in the Fiat Panda 4x4 as well.
But if you’re in a position to trade a bit of worthiness for amusement value in your winterproof, rough-and-tumble second car, we warmly suggest you fill your designer Wellington boots.