Fiat Panda 4x4: Winter Car of the Week

The Fiat Panda 4x4 is CarBuyer's first Winter Car of the Week

The Fiat Panda 4x4 hatchback may not seem like an obvious choice of car for tackling the worst of winter, but it combines a practical body, with cheap running costs and four-wheel drive.

The Panda puts plenty of more expensive SUVs to shame thanks to a raised-ride height and clever four-wheel drive system – making it perfect for tackling slippery winter roads and tough off-road conditions – the car’s even used in Italy to police the country’s ski resorts.

It comes with two engine options – a petrol engine priced from £13,950 and a diesel version that costs around £1,000 more.

Surprisingly, the petrol car is the one to go for thanks to its low running costs and decent performance. It'll do 0-60mph in 12.1 seconds, cost just £30 per year to tax and manage 57.6mpg in fuel economy. Although, it’s worth noting that the official mpg figures are notoriously hard to replicate – especially if you're tacking tough wintery conditions like snow or ice.

Opt for the more expensive diesel and economy rises to 60.1mpg, but road tax costs significantly more at £125 annually. The diesel is also the noisier car of the two and isn’t quite as quick, managing 0-60mph in 14.5 seconds. Both models offer a very comfortable ride, while their upright driving positions mean you have excellent visibility of the road ahead and when parking.

The Panda’s small proportions hide quite a spacious interior, with plenty of headroom all-round – although legroom for adults in the rear is tight. Nonetheless, the four-wheel-drive Panda has 15 separate cubbyholes and a reasonable 225-litre boot.

Standard equipment includes air conditioning, electric windows and mirrors, a USB port for charging electrical items, an MP3-compatible stereo and 15-inch alloy wheels. Fiat also offers the Panda 4x4 with a care package that includes a four-year warranty, roadside assistance, servicing and a set of winter tyres.

For our guide to the best cars for slippery conditions, visit our 10 best cars for winter page, or for the full Fiat range, visit the CarBuyer Fiat reviews page.

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