PARIS 2012: FIAT PANDA 4X4
Perhaps not an obvious PH hero the return of the 4x4 Panda is nonetheless something we cheer!
The new Panda 4x4ís torque-on-demand, permanent four-wheel drive transmission has two diffs and an electronically-controlled coupling. Traction is automatically distributed between the front and rear axle according to grip conditions.
Two engine versions are available, both with Start&Stop: the new 85hp 0.9 TwinAir Turbo and the 75 HP 1.3 MultiJet II diesel. That TwinAir should be good in this application as it has 40 per cent more torque than the willing but basically gutless 1.2 Fire of the previous generation.
The rear suspension is lighter and both the ride and cabin noise are improved, says Fiat. Itís well equipped too with climate control, CD/MP3 radio, and what they call burnished 15-inch alloy rims.
Fiat will be showing another Ďregularí Panda at Paris, the Natural Power. We only mention it because its TwinAir Turbo motor is dual-fuel, running on either petrol or methane. Insert your own jokes here, but itís an interesting contribution to the debate and shows thereís life in the old IC engine yet.