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REVIEW: The never-die Fiat Panda Cross has a bigger boot than you'd imagine

2018-08-11 15:00

Janine Van der Post

Image: Wheels24 / Janine Van der Post

This little car might come as a huge surprise but it blew me away in terms of its practicality, and its ferocious spirit is refreshing. 

The Fiat Panda Cross might be a compact little car but it has the soul of a big Grizzly bear. The 900cc engine is mated to a 6-speed manual gearbox and delivers 66kW/145Nm, along with a claimed top speed of 167km/h.

The automaker claims a combined fuel consumption of 4.9-litres/100km.

Despite its small size, the crossover vehicle can head off-road. You can change driving modes by flicking a dial next to the gear lever. And with its never-die attitude, it's extremely comfortable on gravel roads or a moderate amount of rugged terrain.

You might not be able to fit a lanky adult in the rear but there’s more than enough room for kids. Its most charming feature is its relatively spacious boot for a little car. Because it has a space-saving spare wheel below the vehicle, it frees up more room. 

Luggage space galore!

With the Western Cape suffering a water crisis, collecting water from water points and storing it in the boot of a Panda would be unheard of. However, it's capable of holding about 20x 5-litre water bottles along with a 25-litre bucket. Now isn’t that a treat? There was even room for more kit.

I had thought for sure we would only be able to get only about five containers in the boot at the most, so I was relatively surprised it could handle all of that. A big boot in a little car is always a bonus.


It's a zippy little number and rather agile on the road. Its feisty nature makes for confident overtaking even with only 66kW, but the 145Nm is more than enough for a quick burst to pass at least one vehicle ahead under safe driving conditions. Nor does it seem to tire on a long stretch of road. 

The interior is absolutely adorable and everything has a quadrilateral shape - the storage compartments, the instrument cluster 'dials', the gear lever, the aircon button and audio layout, the window buttons and even the air vents and speakers. It makes the design flow and all matches the shape of the Fiat logo.

And while it's quirky and cute in its own way, it did pose a bit of problem when you're trying to place a large cylindrical 500ml water bottle in one of the squarish compartments.

But other than that, the Fiat Panda Cross is an exceptional city car with a whole lot of form and functionality, definitely, an option if you're looking for a small city car that can double up as a tiny 4x4 vehicle, with a more than sufficient boot, this is a great car to consider. 

The 4WD vehicle is priced from R265 900. 

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