Fiat has unveiled the 2013 Panda 4x4 and an off-road 'trekking' two-wheel drive model with specially adapted traction control.
The latest in a line of four-wheel-drive superminis from Fiat, the Panda 4x4 features a 'torque on demand' system. It sends 98% of the engine's power to the front wheels until they begin to slip, when an electronically controlled coupling linking the two axles sends power to the rear as well.
The completely automatic system adjusts depending on the amount of grip the front wheels find. The more they struggle, the more power shifts to the rear wheels. An Electronic Locking Differential (ELD) can be switched on manually to ensure that the wheels with the most grip get more power.
The ELD interacts with the Panda's safety systems and can actively boost safety levels, which will be reassuring for drivers concerned about breaking down.
Both models - the turbocharged 0.9-litre TwinAir petrol or the surprisingly gutsy 1.3-litre MultiJet 2 diesel - go on sale later this month.
Copyright Press Association 2013