After making its debut at the Geneva Motor Show, the new Fiat Panda Cross will now be presented to the international press and then marketed starting from September in the main European markets.
The new Panda Cross is the ultimate evolution of the SUV concept, an automobile "species" which over the years has varied in size and subcategories for different missions ranging from large SUVs of the segment, through the medium SUV and, lately, with the development of the downsizing concept, down to the compact SUVs and small size SUVs. Therefore, a continuously evolving and increasingly important market segment: in fact, from about 7% in 2006 (the year before the Panda Cross launch) it has now reached 20% of the total sales in Europe.
In this scenario, the new Panda Cross makes its entry and creates another evolution leap by creating a new category. Indeed, it combines the drive system and the technical capabilities of a true off-road; the performances and the contents of a SUV; the external dimensions, the efficiency and the agility of a city car and a distinctive style able to put together rational thought and emotion. All this is made even more interesting by a competitive price which is half that of the best-selling large SUVs in Europe.
The Panda Cross then defines a new type of vehicle, which is based on what the car is capable of doing, regardless of the segment to which it belongs. Thus, as its name implies, the Panda Cross is "cross", not only because it is able to cross every barrier-thanks to its all-wheel drive and its Electronic Locking Differential, which it first introduced on the market, but also because it attracts heterogeneous customers who find there the answer to all their mobility needs. These are people who would not accept a compromise because they are very familiar with the off-road world but also use their car in the city as well; people who appreciate the unique style of a car as well as its technological equipment; people looking for the contents of the large off-road vehicles but with all the advantages that a compact size vehicle can offer.
For this reason, although the Fiat Panda Cross has a highly distinctive style, its aesthetics is not for its own sake. In fact, all the style details serve to protect the mechanical parts, making it more robust and secure. Moreover, the Panda Cross is designed to tackle any type of terrain, even the most challenging, but also to move around in city traffic and, more importantly, to park everywhere.
In particular, the combination of functionality and style is a hallmark of the Cross versions since the previous generations of the model, as evidenced by the Limited Editions or Special Series of the Panda 4x4. Already by the end of the eighties the Panda offer included top range models, with very rich standard features, combined with a distinctive style and highly advanced technical contents, such as the Steyer-Puch all-wheel drive which was then exclusive of higher category off-road vehicles. The formula proved successful and was confirmed in the years until 2006, when Fiat first launched on the market the Cross concept and name, applying it to a Panda: a true mini SUV capable of tackling any terrain.
Today, the new Cross returns to the Panda range, i.e. the broadest range in its class, confirming the versatility and functionality of a model which for over 30 years is leading the way in the city car segment. Suffice it to say that it was the first small city car to introduce diesel, methane and LPG in the segment, the first with a four-wheel drive and the first to be truly a car for all people, all times and all situations And thus Panda has been able to conquer bestselling rank in its segment in Europe, where, even in the first six months of 2014, it is confirmed in second place, just after the Fiat 500.
Style and dimensions
Every detail of the Panda Cross has been designed to optimise off-road performances, make it immediately recognisable and distinctive, with a stylistic language typical of a SUV. No wonder if all the style details are used to protect the mechanical parts, making it more robust and secure and giving it a distinctive personality.
The front-end features a brand-new look, thanks to the new bumper, which features a generous skid plate in a silver ultrashine colour for the protection of mechanical components with a design of holes which reinterprets the Panda's characteristic "squircle" motif. The robust, off-road character is highlighted by tow hooks with an immediately recognisable design in a brilliant red. The light clusters too are brand new, thanks to the headlights and new fog lights integrated with the logo holder bonnet trim, and to the new DRLs with LED technology, built into the skid plate.
From the side, certain specific elements, such as the pronounced wheel arches, mouldings with 'Cross' badge and the new roof bars which both take up the finish of the skid plate, stand out. The 15" alloy wheels feature a 5-spoke V design and a burnished metal finish.
The rear end too is characterised by a highly distinctive look, a new bumper with under-body protection which takes up the design and finish of the front skid plate, the light clusters with a dedicated protection in line with the front and the chrome tail pipe.
On the inside, the Panda Cross is characterised by a refined passenger compartment with great personality. The seats have a flamed natural fabric with a technical appearance featuring brown eco-leather side containment strips to match the trim on the door panels. The front seats are characterised by the burnished Cross wording on the backrest, obtained with a polyurethane insert.
The dashboard fascia comes in a new copper colour to set off the striking new silver ultrashine finish of the dashboard. The same finish is used for the central console, where the brand-new Terrain Control drive selector is fitted. The equipment is completed by the leather steering wheel, with built-in controls, and the leather gear knob.
Thanks to five doors and its passenger room of a higher segment, the new Panda Cross is an authentic City SUV, in that it efficiently combines its smaller external size - 370 centimetres long, 166 centimetres wide and 166 centimetres high - with a surprising internal volume. Suffice it to say that the boot is one of the biggest in its segment (225 litres).
"Torque on demand" all-wheel drive and ELD (Electronic Locking Differential) function
The Panda Cross is a vehicle with strong personality, which knows how to win over the most demanding customers, lovers of adventure and life in the open air. For those customers, the new version uses a "Torque on demand" transmission system, with two differentials and one electronically controlled coupling.
This is a permanent all-wheel drive system managed by an electronic control unit which, by analysing vehicle signals, distributes traction on the front and rear axles homogeneously and proportionally according to the road grip conditions. The advantages of this system include fully automatic operation and zero maintenance.
The Panda Cross features the ESC (Electronic Stability Control) system with ELD (Electronic Locking Differential) function as standard. This system provides additional assistance while driving and setting off on slippery terrain (snow, ice, mud, etc.).
A dedicated selector for lovers of off-road driving
As an exclusivity of its segment, the Panda Cross offers lovers of off-road driving the possibility of selecting four-wheel drive through the driving mode selector, according to the driving conditions, with a choice of three modes: Auto, Off-road and Hill Descent Control.
In Auto mode the engine torque is distributed in an optimal manner between the front and rear axles depending on the road surface and the car disengage needs without the driver having to insert traction. In detail, on normal terrain, as in the city or on the motorway, the Panda Cross uses front-wheel drive with 98% of the torque applied to the front wheels. Instead, when the ground becomes slippery, or when travelling over rough terrain, the system automatically distributes the torque according to the needs, thanks to the work of the joint which continuously doses drive on the rear wheels.
In detail, the tried and tested multiple-clutch joint, with electro-hydraulic control, transfers up to 900 Nm of torque to the rear (equivalent to the whole torque the engine can deliver) in just one tenth of a second, which means that the car can react practically immediately and handle poor grip conditions.
In Off-road mode, the all-wheel drive becomes permanent up to 50 km/h, to speed up the response of the car, and the Electronic Locking Differential (ELD) is engaged, pre-loading the torque on the rear to achieve a integration of the 4x4 drive more quickly; it prevents ASR intervention, to improve road holding with poor grip conditions and thoroughly use the engine toque, braking the wheels that are losing grip, or slipping more than the others, and thus transferring the drive to those with the most grip. In this way it optimizes the traction on uneven terrain.
For optimum handling of particularly steep hill descents or when going down extremely bumpy routes, the HDC (Hill Descent Control) mode keeps the car at a constant speed during a descent, acting independently and separately on the brakes. In this way, the system supports the driver by helping to tackle steep slopes in less than optimal conditions by acting only on the brake and the accelerator. In addition, the Hill Descent Control also ensures a constant attitude of the vehicle on terrain with differentiated grip, avoiding yaw motions. Integral part of the ESC system, the HDC function comes into action automatically when the speed drops below 25 km/h and remains in standby mode up to 50 km/h.
To ensure maximum grip on any road surface, the new model benefits from All Seasons 185/65R15 M+S tyres, larger than those of the Panda 4x4 - developed specially to ensure optimum drivability and traction on snow-covered roads, along with extremely responsive steering, for driving pleasure on wet and dry surfaces, as well as excellent off-road performance.
The suspension system of an all-wheel drive car has two main tasks to fulfil. It must ensure all typically two-wheel drive features such as passenger comfort, handling, road hold and safety, and at the same time it must provide better characteristics for tackling any type of terrain, particularly off-road. Engineers worked to reach both objectives. Levels of absolute excellence have been reached with a particular eye to comfort and off-road performance. For this reason, two tried and tested layouts were chosen: an independent MacPherson arrangement at the front and an interconnected wheel with torsion beam layout at the rear, specifically developed for the all-wheel drive version. With respect to the semi-trailing arm solution of the previous generation, the rear suspension is lighter and provides better ride and acoustic comfort with the same off-road performance as before.
Typical angles and off-road capability
Starting from an excellent base, since the Panda 4x4 is the only city car to have ever received an award as SUV of the year, the new Panda Cross is characterized by few technical interventions aimed at improving its off-road capabilities. First of all, the height from ground is increased to a total of 161 mm for the TwinAir and 158 mm for the MultiJet verison by redesigning the front and rear bumpers and using specific springs and 10 mm larger tyres. Even the off-road typical angles are better than those of the Panda 4x4: the approach angle is 24°, the exit angle 34° and the ramp angle is 21°. These values are very close to those of a pure off-road and higher than those of the leading SUVs on the market. And in fact, the Panda Cross may even exceed a maximum gradient of 70% and a lateral gradient of 55%.
Panda Cross is a true off-road vehicle even in the small technical details and protective measures adopted. For example, under body protections with steel shields allow to tackle even the roughest ride, with no damage to the lower mechanical parts. In addition, the intake duct is raised from the ground as much as 739 mm in the diesel version and 711 mm in the petrol version. So the Panda Cross has no difficulty in rather deep depressions, as might happen crossing a ford.
In perfect harmony with the off-road spirit of the new Panda Cross, the customer can rely on the most powerful engines in the range, both equipped with Start&Stop: the turbo diesel 1.3 MultiJet and the petrol 0.9 TwinAir Turbo which, compared to those already available for the other versions, increase power respectively by 80 HP and 90 HP.
The forerunner of a new family of Fiat two-cylinder engines, the 0.9 TwinAir Turbo engine deploys maximum power of 90 HP (66 kW) at 5500 rpm and a torque of 145 Nm at 1900 rpm (constant up to 3000 rpm). In addition, for more "eco-friendly" driving and reduced fuel consumption, you can simply press the ECO button on the dashboard, which limits torque to 100 Nm at 2000 rpm. This engine, in a combined cycle, offers consumption of 4.9 litres/100 km and CO2 emissions of 114 g/km.
Again with a view to respect for the environment coupled with driving satisfaction, the new Panda Cross can be equipped with the 1.3 MultiJet II turbodiesel with DPF as standard, which delivers a maximum power of 80 HP (59 kW) at 4000 rpm and generous torque of 190 Nm at just 1500 rpm. A masterpiece of technology in miniature - complete with all its accessories, it weighs approximately 140 kg - the diesel engine belongs to the second generation of MultiJet power units and is equipped with a fixed geometry turbocharger with intercooler, optimised for torque delivery at low rpm. In the combined cycle, the 1.3 MultiJet II engine records just 125 g/km of CO2 emissions and fuel consumption of 4.7 litres per 100 km.
Specific 6-speed gearbox
Together with the TwinAir Turbo engine, a specific 6-speed gearbox is offered on the new Panda Cross. This gearbox has a short first gear to accentuate the model's off-road characteristics, ensuring optimum setting off during hill starts. The short first gear is also useful in tackling more difficult terrain, as it allows the vehicle to proceed at a very low speed with the engine idling, ensuring the maximum vehicle control typical of off-road models.
Standard equipment and options
The new Panda Cross offers a complete and unique standard equipment. This includes: automatic climate control, CD/MP3 radio with Blue&MeTM system with steering wheel controls, specific burnished 15" alloy wheels, heated door mirrors with electric control, central locking with remote control, rear head restraints, height-adjustable steering wheel, fog lights, leather steering wheel and gear knob, height-adjustable driver's seat, ESC system complete with ELD and All Seasons 185/65R15 M+S tyres. Moreover, a vast range of optional equipment and accessories is available, to further enhance its mainly urban or off-road use as required. These include the heated windscreen, the tinted windows and the innovative City Brake Control system which last year received the 'Euro NCAP Advanced 2013' award.
The Panda Cross offers the innovative 'City Brake Control' on request. This active safety system detects the presence of other vehicles or obstacles in front of the car and automatically brakes if the driver fails to intervene promptly to avoid collision or mitigate its consequences. Winner of the prestigious 'Euro NCAP Advanced 2013' award, the device was designed to assist city driving and always operates when the car speed is between 5 and 30 km/h. Active every time the car is started, the system can be disabled and enabled at the request of the driver.
In detail, the 'City Brake Control' system employs a LIDAR (Light Detection And Ranging) laser sensor, positioned on the upper part of the windscreen, which dialogues with the ESC (Electronic Stability Control) system. Depending on certain parameters (such as road surface conditions, vehicle dynamics and trajectories, position of obstacles and condition of the tyres, etc.), by cutting in the system can completely avoid or mitigate the consequences of a collision.
The sophisticated device integrates three functions: Automatic Emergency Braking (AEB), Prefill and Brake Assist. While respecting the driver's wishes, who remains in full control of the car, the AEB activates emergency braking when a collision appears inevitable and the driver fails to react, thereby actually anticipating their reaction. The "Prefill" function, on the other hand, prefills the braking system to provide a quicker response both when Automatic Emergency Braking intervenes and if the driver brakes. Brake Assist, last of all, identifies emergency situations and, if collision is imminent, the system becomes more sensitive, lending power to the braking action to permit a reduction in stopping distance.
Exclusive Mopar®-branded services and accessories
Transforming your car into a unique, personalised item: that's the aim behind the wide, extensive range of accessories and services created by Mopar®, the reference brand for services, customer care, original spare parts and accessories for the Fiat-Chrysler brands in Europe, the Middle East and Africa (EMEA). As well as offering more than 450,000 original spare parts, Mopar also provides the Group's customers, in over 130 countries, with a catalogue that includes nearly 25,000 high-quality accessories.
In particular, there are over 70 special accessories for the Panda model that could be chosen by the customers of the new Cross version, among which the 15" alloy wheels, the mirror caps and the red hub covers, tyre valve caps of tyres with the Fiat logo, bicycle holder and the "personality" interior kit, the handy coat hook and the velvet mats with the Panda logo.
These are top-quality accessories which all perfectly match the technical and style features of the new car for full, complete customisation. Not by chance, Mopar products are unique because they are designed jointly with the design team of the car, a direct link which guarantees top quality, very durable aftermarket products which integrate the car perfectly.
Obviously, the new Panda Cross customers can also count on the wide range of "Mopar® Vehicle Protection" maintenance and assistance services - the only ones guaranteed by Fiat Group Automobiles. With Mopar® Vehicle Protection maintenance and mechanical parts coverage plans, customers can rely on technical assistance available across the European network of authorised Fiat Group Automobiles dealerships and workshops. Maintenance and repair work is performed by highly specialised FGA-trained technicians always using original parts specifically designed for each vehicle.
Present in over 40 countries in Europe, the Middle East and Africa with a portfolio of more than 50 products, "Mopar® Vehicle Protection" has developed an offer which meets every customer's needs: in 2013 more than one vehicle in four will be supported by a Mopar® Vehicle Protection plan.
The range of Mopar® Vehicle Protection services is constantly being updated and offers two levels of protection, named Maximum Care and Powertrain Care, on mechanical and electronic parts, both created to extend the manufacturer's warranty from three to five years and with the most suitable mileage for the needs of customers and their vehicle use.
Mopar® Vehicle Protection has designed two maintenance plans to ensure that the vehicle is always in perfect condition: Easy Pack (includes all scheduled maintenance, from two to five prepaid service coupons) and Premium Pack, in the Gold, Silver and Bronze versions, offer not only scheduled maintenance, but also replacement of the parts most subject to wear that normally have to be replaced during the life cycle of the vehicle.
Other services are also available, designed to guarantee the best driving experience such as seasonal check-ups, which can be purchased individually or in coupon books, to keep the car always in good shape, as well as Free2go + + and Essential Care, which extends the roadside assistance service offered during the warranty period of the vehicle.
FGA Capital financial solutions
FGA Capital - a financial company specialised in the automotive industry - will support the new Fiat Panda Cross with dedicated offers, in line with the model features and with the reference target. If with Panda Cross the Fiat brand presents the most versatile SUV, which can "go and park anywhere", FGA Capital too conceived their offer to allow the customer to enjoy the driving satisfaction of the new Panda Cross "anywhere and in complete peace of mind".
In particular, FGA Capital has designed a product offer that is based on 4 pillars, making it an all-inclusive product, perfectly in line with the premium features of the model: 4 years of Financing, 4 years of Fire & Theft, 4 years of Servicing and 4 years of Warranty. The offer will be initially available in Italy and then the other European markets will be able to adopt it as well.
Finally, FGA Capital is fine-tuning some proposals dedicated to those who have already entered into a finance agreement for the Panda 4x4, who will benefit from an economical advantage by replacing their vehicle with the new Panda Cross.