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Panda Cross
A city SUV... the FIAT way

Fiat Panda Cross: a little monster for city and... elsewhere.

APN,
07th December 2005.

Yes, it is an off-roader, or an SUV if you prefer. But it's a cute, tiny and especially, a nimble one in city traffic.

It's the 2006 Panda Cross which will "crown" the Panda four-wheel-drive range from the beginning of 2006 in Italy (later in other countries), at a price expected in Europe around Euros 16,750.

Sturdy and reinforced by the driver's high sitting position, bumpers, (front and rear) complete with protective shields, big side strips matched by special wing strips and the under engine guard.

The supermini model which won the European 'Car of the Year' title for 2004, celebrated last October its milestone of half a million units produced (front wheel drive and four wheel drive) of its current generation (launched in 2003) in the Tychy plant in Poland.

The styling of the new Panda Cross version is similar to that of larger off-roaders with the advantages of a compact vehicle. It combines elegant features with strong expressions such as roof bars, chunky side strips, big headlamps and wide bumpers.

Enabled for off-road performance typical of an SUV (Sport Utility Vehicle), the Panda Cross can overcome difficulties with its small size and four wheel drive (4x4 system with viscous coupling) and its locking differential, a feature more typical of higher segments that ensures the optimum distribution of drive torque to the wheels with the best grip on the ground.

On top of that, it is small enough to go anywhere: 3.58 metres long, 1.61 metres wide, 1.64 metres high (1.60 without the bars) with a wheelbase of 2.30 metres. For specifications details, click here to open the "Specs Page".

Inside, the Panda Cross interior comes with special fabric trims in three two-tone colour schemes: sand/black, sand/green and orange/black. The facia comes black to suit the car's nature and the ventilation outlets and climate control system controls are metallic in colour.

Panda Cross can accommodate four passengers, retaining the big luggage capacity (relative to its size), with the possibility of folding the rear seat backrest to make for a bigger load compartment - aided by the upright position of the tailgate. With the one-piece or split rear seat folded down, the space increases from a minimum of 200 to a maximum of 855 dm3 (measured to the roof). If the rear seat is split (it also slides), the figures become 230 dm3 (with the seat fully forward) and 780 dm3 respectively.

Special bumpers, side moldings, front and tail-light cluster, roof bars.

Drive - Like the other Panda 4x4s, the new version gets a permanent four wheel drive system with a viscous coupling and two differentials that come into play automatically when required to tackle sticky situations.

However, for the first time in the Panda 4x4 range, the Panda Cross is fitted as standard with an electronic differential lock with LD (Locking Differential) function that acts at speeds below 30 km/h to brake the slipping wheel and transfer torque to the other wheel on the same axis, whenever the wheels do not grip to the same extent. For more details about the 4x4 drive system, click here to open the "4x4 drive Page".

A departure angle of no less than 42.

Angles - The car therefore offers a four wheel drive system that engages automatically when the front wheels lose grip, with a front incidence (approach) angle of 24 ( maximum front angle that may be tackled without the body touching the ground), a rear incidence (departure) angle (maximum slope that can be taken in reverse starting from a horizontal surface) of 42, and a slope or ramp breakover angle of 24 (maximum possible angles between the lowest part of the wheelbase and the front / rear tyres contact, without the car's bottom touching the ground). The maximum climbable gradient is more than 50%.

Engine - Buying a supermini is not just a size matter. Overall running costs are often an equally important factor. Hence, the Panda Cross is powered by a 70 bhp 1.3 16v Multijet turbodiesel engine. Fiat is already known as the first car manufacturer to introduce power units with Multijet technology to the mini sector and also the first to make this engineering heritage available to 4x4 minis (already known in the previous generation Panda).

Cute and trendy, with the "freedom" orange flavor.

The 1.3 16v Multijet unit develops 70 bhp (51 kW at 4000 rpm) and 145 Nm at 1500 rpm. Combined with a five-speed manual gearbox with a very maneuverable selection lever, as Fiat puts it, the Panda Cross accelerates from 0 to 100 km/h in 18 seconds and reaches a top speed of 150 km/h. For more details about the engine and the gearbox, click here to open the "Engine Page".

Dualdrive electric power steering - Offered as standard, the Dualdrive power-assisted steering system comes with two operating modes and uses the power generated by an electric motor instead of a hydraulic pump driven directly by the engine.

The response of the electric steering system is proportional to the car speed (rather than the engine speed): the higher the car speed, the lower the assistance and the stiffer the wheel response for better driving precision.

Dualdrive power-assisted steering system with two operating modes.

The electric power steering system offers two different setting programs. The first is for mixed out-of-town routes, while the second lightens the steering to minimise effort and is therefore ideal for driving around town and parking manoeuvres.

Above 30 km/h both programs offer the same level of power assistance to ensure that the steering wheel response is appropriate for high speeds.

Active Safety - The Panda Cross comes standard with an ABS system with four sensors, four channels, a hydraulic control unit and eight solenoids together with the EBD (Electronic Brake Distribution) that distributes braking action over all four wheels.

The ABS also comes with MSR. If the driver changes down abruptly in conditions of poor grip, the MSR cuts in to restore torque to the engine and prevent skidding as a result of wheel lock.

The Panda Cross braking system features two independent crossover hydraulic circuits. The front discs are 257x22 mm, ventilated, with dual cylinder calipers and automatic take-up to reduce pedal travel. The rear brakes are 240x11 mm solid discs with rear calipers.

Equipment - The Panda Cross gets a modified suspension (For details about the suspension, click here to open the "Suspension Page") with, as standard, alloy wheels and 175/65R15 tyres to achieve a better balance between handling and comfort.

On the outside, the standard equipment list (Italian market specs) includes special bumpers, side moldings, front and tail-light cluster, roof bars.

Standard headlight washer system.

Inside, the standard equipment list includes a double front airbag (options offer up to 6 airbags), rear head-restraint and fog light; manual climate control system, remote control, electric mirrors, electric windows, leather steering wheel, radio wiring, driver seat lift, passenger side with a compartment under the seat, Dualdrive electric steering.

The Panda Cross is also equipped as standard with a Locking Differential and a headlight washer system. The high pressure supplied by the headlight washer pump (higher than 4 bars) allows the jet emerging from both sprays to clean 80% of the external lens surface.

The Panda Cross comes also equipped with a delayed headlight deactivation function (follow-me-home function). It keeps the dipped beams and side lights on for a while even with the engine off and ignition key out, to show the driver / passengers the garage door or garden gate in the dark. The follow me home device is turned on by operating the light flasher stalk within 2 minutes of turning off the engine. Each time the stalk is operated, light activation is extended for 30 seconds up to a maximum of three and a half minutes. For further details about the equipment, click here to open the "Equipment Page".

Nav Plus: navigation, radio/CD, hands free phone and voice commands.

Options and accessories lists include the infotelematic system CONNECT Nav Plus, the Sky Dome electric sunroof, an automatic climate control system and various radio and Hi-Fi systems.

The Nav Plus CONNECT optional infotelematic system includes a satellite navigation system, radio, CD player, dual-band GSM handsfree phone and voice commands. The device is located in the centre of the facia and is equipped with a 6.5 inch TFT colour screen (active matrix) that allows the driver to follow easy instructions for the set route on the display (and also voice commands).

Through the GPS/GSM network and the satellite communication, users can simply press the green key to speak in hands-free mode to an operator ready to respond to their need for information on traffic conditions on the motorways, ring-roads and main roads of Italy and Europe and points of interest, or to send out mobile workshops to resolve problems on the spot.

The Sky Dome sunroof is a large glass sunroof (Sky Dome) that occupies nearly 70 percent of the roof and consists of two glazed panels (one fixed and one mobile) and two sunblinds that run independently towards the rear of the car. The car can be converted from a closed one to a car with a glass sunroof, a car with a conventional sunroof or even a model with the feel of a cabriolet. It takes just seven seconds to open the glass front panel and sunblind.

Standard 15'' alloy wheels with 175/65R15 tyres.

Sound systems - The three types of radio and the CD-changer on offer are made by Blaupunkt. The first comes with four sound channels and four full-range speakers (two 40 Watt and two 35 Watt). The second offers a top of the range Hi-Fi system. It comprises six speakers (2 mid-woofers, 2 tweeters and 2 full-range, all 40 Watt) and a sub-woofer complete with an amplifier with one 100 Watt output channel. The difference between the three levels lies in the player: the first plays tapes and offers autoreverse and a Dolby B noise reduction system. The second radio plays CDs (individual) while the third level package adds an MP3 file player. All come with a mechanism to adjust volume to vehicle speed.

If it is connected to a handsfree kit, the radio deactivates automatically (mute position) when the GSM phone rings. In this case, a phone-in function allows calls to be transferred from a mobile phone (with a handsfree control unit) to the speakers via the radio.

A multiple CD changer (up to five CDs) can be fitted (optional) in the glove compartment. It is controlled by the radio keys.

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