Readers of a certain age might remember the original Fiat Panda 4×4. It was launched in 1983 and really did look like a box on wheels. Designed by Giorgetto Giugiaro – he styled the Ferrari 250 Berlinetta Bertone – it had the aerodynamics of a breeze block.
That first effort featured a noisy 43bhp engine and was the first small, transverse engined car to be fitted with four-wheel drive. And while people laughed, the Panda 4×4 was astoundingly good off-road and achieved something like cult status.
Surely it couldn’t have been that good? Well, competitors tackling the Mongol Rally still search high and low to find one for the drive to Mongolia. Unstoppable, crazy suspension but just what you need for driving across a ploughed field.
This latest model was launched two years and I can tell you that after only a handful of miles, it is also a very fine little car. Yes, it’s small on the inside and the styling may not be to your taste but it has one major plus in its favour, one you won’t buy with a Range Rover or BMW X5. It’s bloody good fun…