We have never gotten the Fiat Panda in North America, but the little city car has represented the entry level into the Fiat range in Europe since 1980. Unlike many of these foreign subcompacts, it was also offered in the 4X4 trim level with a higher ride height and all-wheel drive. The Italian brand will take that idea even further at the 2014 Geneva Motor Show on March 4, with the new Panda Cross.

The Panda Cross is meant to be a city car that drivers can also take off-road if need arises. Its all-wheel drive system comes with a standard electronic-locking differential to manage torque delivery, and drivers can lock the diff, at speeds under 30 miles per hour, to improve traction further. The mini off-roader comes with either a 1.3-liter diesel four-cylinder with 80 horsepower and 140 pound-feet of torque or the 900cc turbocharged two-cylinder with 90 hp and 107 lb-ft. Both engines have standard stop/start and are mated to a six-speed manual.

Fiat has put most effort into the Cross' exterior to make it look ready to get muddy. It has a redesigned front bumper with integrated fog lights and a titanium-painted air dam, meant to look like a front skid plate. The rear is also reworked with chrome tailpipes and another titanium-painted faux-skid plate. It promises the modifications aren't entirely aesthetic, but improve approach and departure angles while off road. While Fiat has not released any images of the interior, it promises a mix of fabric and fake leather seats, and copper-color trim on the dash.

The Panda Cross will be on sale in Europe this fall, but we certainly won't be getting the mini off-roader here. Scroll down to read the whole press release.
Show full PR text

Based on the successful and hugely capable FIAT Panda 4X4, the new FIAT Panda Cross offers even more capability and attitude

'Torque-on-Demand' all-wheel drive, Electronic Stability Control, Electronic Locking Differential and Hill Descent all standard

New Terrain Control selector offers the driver the choice of three driving modes depending on conditions

Available with uprated versions of the 1.3 MultiJet II and 0.9 TwinAir Turbo, now with 80hp and 90hp respectively – TwinAir engine gets specific 6-speed transmission with shortened first gear

Compared to the Panda 4x4, the Panda Cross offers oversized tyres, improved approach and departure angles and increased ground clearance

The all-new FIAT Panda Cross is set to make its world début at the Geneva Motor Show on March 4th, 2014. Building on the successful formula of the FIAT Panda 4X4, a car that's as happy in city traffic as it is taking on the toughest off-road conditions, the new Panda Cross offers even more all-terrain capability thanks to a host of new features, better performance and improved ground clearance.

Key to the additional off-road ability of the FIAT Panda Cross is its standard 'Torque-on-Demand' transmission system, which utilises the vehicle's ELD (Electronic Locking Differential) and advanced ESC (Electronic Stability Control) systems to manage the engine's torque delivery in difficult driving conditions. The advantages of this system are that it is both fully automatic and requires zero maintenance and it is controlled by the new Terrain Control selector, which offers the driver three driving modes depending on the driving situation:

AUTO – Automatic distribution of drive between the front and rear axles in accordance with the available grip
LOCK – 4WD is optimised for off-road use at speeds of up to 30mph, with distribution of torque controlled by braking slipping wheels and thus transferring the drive to those with the most grip
HILL DESCENT – For optimum handling of particularly steep hill descents or when driving down extremely bumpy laneways

In addition, the FIAT Panda Cross is also fitted with oversized all-season 185/65R15 tyres, larger than those fitted to the standard Panda 4x4, which were developed specifically to combine drivability and traction in low-traction situations with positive on-road handling on both wet and dry surfaces.

The suspension of the FIAT Panda Cross has been developed to combine on-road comfort, handling, road-holding and safety with improved off-road characteristics. An independent MacPherson suspension is employed at the front while a torsion beam layout has been developed for the rear to accommodate the all-wheel drive mechanicals, thereby saving weight and providing better ride and acoustic characteristics than the semi-trailing arm arrangement of the previous generation Panda Cross.

In addition to its generous ground clearance – 16cm for the MultiJet II version and 15cm for the TwinAir Turbo version – the FIAT Panda Cross also benefits from improved approach and departure angles: Its 24° approach angle represents a three degree improvement over the previous model, while its 33° departure angle represents an improvement of one degree. The new FIAT Panda Cross also boasts a break-over angle of 20° and a 31.5° (70%) climbable gradient.

Two engines will be offered in the new FIAT Panda Cross, both with Start&Stop as standard and both offering a five horsepower boost compared to the standard FIAT Panda 4X4. The new 0.9 TwinAir Turbo engine now produces 90hp at 5,500 rpm and 145Nm (107 lb ft) of torque between 1,900rpm and 3,000rpm, or 100Nm (74 lb ft) at 2,000 rpm in 'Eco' mode. This engine, on the combined cycle, offers an impressive fuel consumption figure of 57.6mpg and CO2 emissions of 114g/km, and comes equipped with a six-speed manual transmission with a unique first-gear ratio that was specifically engineered with off-road driving in mind.

The 1.3 MultiJet II turbo-diesel delivers a maximum power output of 80hp at 4,000rpm and generous 190Nm (140 lb ft) of torque at just 1,500 rpm but thanks to its low weight of just 140kg there are no ride or handling compromises, on or off road. On the combined cycle, the 1.3 MultiJet II engine returns 60.1mpg and its CO2 emissions are just 125g/km.

Styling-wise, every detail of the Panda Cross has been designed to make it immediately recognisable and distinctive: The front end features new light clusters, a new bumper and new fog lights integrated into front facia. New LED DRLs are also built into the skid plate, which is finished in a satin titanium colour with perforations that recall the Panda's signature "squircle" motif.

From the side, wheel arch extensions, side mouldings with the 'Cross' logo and new roof bars with a satin titanium finish set the FIAT Panda Cross apart from its siblings, while its new 15-inch alloy wheels sport a five-spoke V design and a burnished metal finish. The rear end is also revised with a new bumper with under-body protection, echoing the design of the front skid plate, a new rear light cluster and a chrome tail pipe. Finally, new tow hooks finished in brilliant red emphasise the off-road character and complete the look of the new Panda Cross.

Inside, the new Panda Cross features unique fabric/eco-leather upholstery and a new dashboard finish with a distinctive copper fascia, while standard equipment includes a leather-trimmed steering wheel with remote controls; a leather-trimmed gear knob; automatic climate control; Blue&Me™ connectivity; electric door mirrors; a height-adjustable driver's seat and, of course, the new Terrain Control selector. City Brake Control, which has won FIAT recognition in the 'Euro NCAP Advanced 2013' awards, is available as an option. The innovative system recognises the presence of other vehicles or obstacles in front of the car, braking automatically if the driver fails to intervene directly to avoid a collision or mitigate its consequences at speeds of up to 18.6mph.

The new Panda Cross joins the Panda Trekking and Panda 4X4 to offer customers a unique range of extremely capable and characterful mini-SUVs. Having invented the segment in 1983, the Panda 4X4 range has amassed 500,000 sales since it was first introduced and since the Panda Trekking and Panda 4X4 were introduced, just over a year ago, around 26,300 units have been registered, underscoring the enduring popularity of these distinctive vehicles. Approximately 30,000 examples of the previous-generation FIAT Panda Cross, which was first launched in 2004, were registered and it is expected that the new model will not only build on this success but also consolidate the success of the wider FIAT Panda range, which is the second-best seller in its segment in Europe, after the FIAT 500. Together with the FIAT 500, the Panda has led FIAT to a position of undisputed leadership in the A segment in 2013 with a market share of more than 27% in Europe.

The new FIAT Panda Cross is due to go on sale in the autumn with pricing, final UK equipment specifications and technical details to be announced closer to its launch.

I'm reporting this comment as:

Reported comments and users are reviewed by Autoblog staff 24 hours a day, seven days a week to determine whether they violate Community Guideline. Accounts are penalized for Community Guidelines violations and serious or repeated violations can lead to account termination.

    • 1 Second Ago
      • 1 Year Ago
      I personally think that this could be a decent seller here in the US for Fiat, especially in the snow belts. I'm not suggesting Camry volume of sales or anything close to that, but I like it better than the 500L.
        Chris O.
        • 1 Year Ago
        Well, they need to do something.... US Fiat dealers haven't been very happy with their product portfolios consisting entirely of 500 variants. The botched launch, plus not getting to sell Alfas, has made the franchisees cranky.... they need some products to sell. While the look of this isn't for everyone, it certainly would sell some units here.
      • 1 Year Ago
      Would love to see the Panda and Panda Cross offered in North America as a Dodge Omni.
        • 1 Year Ago
        They could revive the Champ and/or Scamp names too. The Fiat Panda Cross could come over here as the Dodge Omni Scamp. (Doesn't omni mean everything or all capable, as in AWD) But they will probably end up just renaming it the Fiat 500XL Living Cross. Stupid Fiat!
      • 1 Year Ago
      It looks like someone stuck a portable runway tile under the front bumper. If it lets you plow through snow banks, then I say whatever works. I can't remember, is the US supposed to get a mini Jeep type thing based off of this, or something a little bigger. I could see quite a few midwestern city drivers going for this little thing after the harsh winter we've had.
      • 1 Year Ago
      I think the real reason we'd never see one in the US is costs. I don't think many people realize how tiny Fiat Pandas are... It's barely bigger than a 500. Not a 500L, the small one! Let's be honest, when Americans see a small car they expect a small price, with only a few exceptions. I don't think Fiat would be able to price the panda low enough to attract US customers for how small it is. I really wish Fiat would try though because I can see urbanites really flocking to this. The 1.4L ffits in the engine bay, dimension wise. I guess we have to wait for the 500x :(
        • 1 Year Ago
        The people who chide Fiat for not bringing the Panda to the US don't really understand how small the Panda is. It's too small for mainstream American buyers, and too plain for chic buyers. That's why Fiat brought the 500L instead.
      • 1 Year Ago
      I like it. Who cares if it's busy, it's too tiny to be taken seriously anyway so why no embrace the gadgetry? And I'd love it if Fiat brought this over, but put the 500's 1.4 turbo engine into it. Not sure it'd fit, but it be neat if it did. Unfortunately, they'll never bring it over, and they'll be right to do so, because American's apparently hate 4WD supermini's as the SX4 showed.
        Thomas D Hilton III
        • 1 Year Ago
        This thing is smaller than the sx4. Also it wouldn't pass our pedestrian /crash test regulations and standards, as is, that's why we are getting the 500x and more rugged B jeep.
          • 1 Year Ago
          @Thomas D Hilton III
          That's exactly it though, if they didn't take to the SX4, they're certain to not take to something even smaller. And you're totally right about the test regulations, they'd have to add 500 lbs to it to make it meet American crash regs, which would completely ruin it. Which sucks, because I think it'd be a hoot.
        • 1 Year Ago
        If the 1.3 diesel engine can fit in there (it does, obviously) then even something larger than the 1.4 turbo petrol engine can fit in it. Diesels take much more room.
        • 1 Year Ago
        Yes, the 1.4L fits.
      • 1 Year Ago
      It looks just a little Cross compared with the normal panda.
      • 1 Year Ago
      Scale it up slightly, put the 500-family mustache face on it, and you are looking at something very close to the upcoming 500X, which probably is coming to the US.
      • 1 Year Ago
      adorable or overstyled. you chose
      • 1 Year Ago
      I don't understand why Fiat doesn't sell the entire Panda line here. It has to be a better choice than the 500L.
        • 1 Year Ago
        Try asking your relatives to stuff themselves into that Panda's back seat. Try it again with a 500L. The Panda is tiny and would never succeed as an American family car.
      Avinash Machado
      • 1 Year Ago
      i guess the Jeepster will be based on this.
      • 8 Months Ago

      Love it !!!

      Tariff The Imports
      • 1 Year Ago
      Looks busy and tacky. Not adorable.
    • Load More Comments
    Share This Photo X