Fiat Panda 4x4 Antarctica review

24 May, 2014 7:00am Jonathan Burn

The Fiat Panda 4x4 Antarctica is surprisingly capable on rough terrain, but it's also pretty slow

For: 
Lots of kit, smart looks, fuel economy
Against: 
Sluggish performance, better value alternatives

Verdict

3
With its raft of extra kit, the Antarctica certainly appeals, especially as it only adds £700 to the price of a standard Panda 4x4. There’s no denying its ability off-road, and for customers who need that, the Antarctica is a good choice. For most buyers, though, the rugged-looking Panda Trekking is better – it’s lighter and £3,050 cheaper.

It's been 30 years and over 500,000 sold since the Fiat Panda was first introduced, and to 
celebrate, Fiat is offering this Panda 4x4 Antarctica special edition.

The Panda 4x4 Antarctica is packed with added kit, such as diamond-finish 15-inch alloy wheels, privacy glass, air-con, a white and black colour scheme, plus orange detailing and – of course – a penguin decal. All extras are included for a £700 premium over the standard Panda 4x4.

But cramming an all-wheel-drive system and heavy diesel engine into a small city car impacts performance. At 1,115kg it’s the heaviest Panda in the range, and also the slowest, with the 0-62mph dash taking a leisurely 14.5 seconds.

Fiat Panda 4x4 Antarctica rear

Like the normal Fiat Panda, the high driving position means visibility is great and the Panda is easy to park thanks to the short overhangs and light steering. The interior also gets the 'rounded square' appearance from the normal Panda and a clean layout.

Chunky switchgear and bright fabrics add to the fun feel of the Panda, but sadly, some of the materials seem cheap. It can't match the similar sized Volkswagen up! in that area.

Fiat Panda 4x4 Antarctica dash

The Panda 4x4 Antarctica is surprisingly capable on rough terrain, thanks to tuned suspension, a locking differential and mud and snow tyres.

The rattly 1.3-litre four-cylinder diesel engine is a bit intrusive, but the soft ride and light controls make it a lot of fun around town. If it was our choice, though, we’d forego the diesel and choose the quicker TwinAir instead.

Disqus - noscript

Why not just say "sadly, some of the materials seem cheap" and leave out the gratuitous VW puff. This sort of thing, along with the "plug" button in the menu bar, where it has no business to be, devalues the review and AE for that matter. After all, they might actually be right!

What about a turbocharged small petrol engine and 4x4 ?

Materials are fine, in fact much better than the up in some trim specs. But this is auto VAG press.

"better value alternatives available"? Who else makes a 4x4 of this size?
Why not name these "better value alternatives", AE? It would be of more interest to readers in the market for a small 4x4 than hearing once again how some random Volkswagen model has super plastics...

Yes, I value the feel of slightly squishy plastic dashboard (which of course I touch all the time when I'm driving a car) way over how it actually looks. This car looks chunky and wholesome, unisex and relatively cool, whereas the Up! looks like a care in the community bread bin, no offence intended to bread bins.

I like it. It's unpretentious. VAG products are the emperor's new clothes.

Key specs

  • Price: £15,845
  • Engine: 1.3-litre 4cyl turbodiesel
  • Power: 75bhp
  • Transmission: Five-speed manual, four-wheel driv
  • 0-62mph: 14.5 seconds
  • Top speed: 99mph
  • Economy/CO2: 67.3mpg, 125g/km
  • On sale: Now
AEX 1,341
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