• V8 powertrain extends market potential
• The volume aim is 15,000 Volvo XC90 V8s a year
• 75 percent of production to North America
A Volvo XC90 with V8 power under the bonnet not only puts added performance on the tarmac – it also sharpens Volvo’s competitive edge in the tough SUV segment.
In the USA, about 30 percent of all SUVs sold in the premium segment have V8 engines.
This means that five- and six-cylinder versions of the Volvo XC90 have thus far only exploited 70 percent of the market potential – yet still achieved a resounding success.
The 30 percent gap has now been covered.
“Our V8 package feels immensely solid. When it comes to power and performance, we’re in the same class as the very best in the segment. What’s more, we’re sure that a large proportion of these customers will appreciate the fact that the power and driveability can be combined with high safety and good environmental properties. It’s important that we can launch a V8 without compromising on our core values,” says Volvo Cars President and CEO Hans-Olov Olsson.
Powertrain with compact V8 and technological breakthrough
Most of the attraction behind the new Volvo XC90 V8 lies in the powertrain, that is to say the engine in combination with a compact new six-speed automatic transmission and the world’s first system for All Wheel Drive with Instant Traction™, which gives enhanced grip on poor surfaces.
Thanks to intelligent engineering, the engine is the most compact on the market – making it possible to install the new engine transversely within the existing crumple zones.
From the environmental viewpoint, this is the first launch of a petrol V8 that meets the American ULEV II vehicle emissions standard..
Spotlight on driving characteristics and performance
The excellent safety and environmental properties add a healthy measure of extra spice to a V8 market where buyers often base their choices on emotional arguments such as driving pleasure, power – and even engine sound.
In the world of V8 development, engine sound is a science in its own right. A traditional American V8 has a throaty offbeat growl, while Europeans favour a slightly smoother, sportier rumble.
“Our V8 has what it takes to attract American buyers. That classical V8 throb is there, but it’s overlaid with a more sophisticated touch that clearly announces that this is a European premium SUV,” explains Hans-Olov Olsson.
Three-quarters to North America
Volvo Cars plans to sell 15,000 Volvo XC90 V8s a year, with 75 percent of total production going to North America.
The USA is without comparison the largest V8 market, followed by Canada and Mexico. Germany takes fourth place and Japan comes in fifth.
Sales will start in the USA in early 2005, after which the Volvo XC90 V8 will be introduced gradually on other markets.
Award-winning sales success
The Volvo XC90 has been an enormous sales success for Volvo Cars. The original production volume of 50,000 cars a year has been successively increased, and since spring 2004 annual XC90 production in the company’s Torslanda factory in Sweden has been raised to 90,000.
What is more, the Volvo XC90 has received more international awards in a shorter period of time than any other Volvo.
“When we introduced the Volvo XC90, we claimed that we were the first manufacturer with the next-generation SUV. Now we know that our customers share that view. The combination of a compact SUV with up to seven seats, a high level of safety, the driving properties of a passenger-car, and competitive environmental properties, has helped make the Volvo XC90 one of the automotive world’s most highly acclaimed models,” says Hans-Olov Olsson.
The Volvo XC90 V8 will be offered only in left hand drive version.
The arrival of a common rail diesel engined version of Kia’s rugged yet stylish all-new Sportage completes the model’s UK line-up and presents the small SUV market with its most attractive and challenging vehicle.
In a market sector that continues to see healthy growth – despite the whines of the anti 4x4 brigade – Kia can now provide the growing number of mid-range car buyers with an all-weather, all-terrain alternative to the traditional medium-sized saloon or hatchback.
And with prices starting from just £15,695 the Kia Sportage diesel range will significantly challenge many of the established names in this sector.
Kia’s own research prior to the introduction of the new Sportage range in January 2005 discovered that many car drivers would like to trade up to an SUV but felt that ‘real’ 4x4 motoring was out of their reach. But, initial sales of the new diesel-engined Sportage’s petrol stablemates have shown that those motorists see Sportage as the answer to their aspirations.
Designed to provide safe and economical on-road characteristics with the ability to handle demanding conditions away from the highway, the Sportage is set to take on the established hierarchy as well as offering a real SUV alternative to saloon and hatchback drivers.
Kia Motors (UK) Limited Managing Director Paul Williams said: "Although the Sportage name has a long heritage with Kia, the all-new Sportage really does give demanding motorists a real choice that no-one else in the market is offering.
"At just over 15 and a half grand the new Sportage 2.0 CRDi XE provides a realistic alternative to the family motorist who is currently driving one of the mainstream diesel hatchbacks from Ford, Peugeot, Renault or Vauxhall and would like to graduate to SUV motoring. And with the 2.0 CRDi XS costing just £17,195 there isn’t a traditional compact SUV that comes anywhere close!" he added.
Williams also pointed out that the new Sportage diesel will come with automatic transmission alternatives for just a £1,000 premium – a feature that several direct competitors currently do not feature and where it is offered it is often an even higher priced option.
He said: "Although we do not see the existing 4x4 competitors as our primary targets, the motorists who will choose to buy Sportage have told us it is the cost of these vehicles that keeps them out of SUV ownership.
"Kia’s philosophy is to provide the very best products at the very best price and that is why we believe we will enable a whole new generation of motorists to join the SUV club with Sportage. And I do not believe there is a better all round product in the market than the new diesel Sportage. Its blend of diesel economy and flexibility coupled to an intelligent four-wheel-drive system and high off-road ability makes diesel Sportage the intelligent choice for anyone looking for a vehicle that will enable them to live the lifestyle they choose.
"This is a serious compact SUV – not a look-alike with just two-wheel drive – but its value is outstanding.
"No-one needs to give up luxury or even basic safety by choosing Sportage as even the lead-in XE model comes with six airbags, an MP3-compatible CD-radio, air-conditioning, electric windows and all the other standard features Kia has become renowned for," he added.
The four-model diesel Sportage range comes with an impressive standard specification and starts with the 2.0 CRDi XE manual at £15,695 on the road. In automatic form the XE costs £16,695. The higher-specified XS manual has an on-the-road price of £17,195 and the automatic version is priced at £18,195.
The diesel-engined Sportage is powered by a Euro III compliant, four-cylinder, 16 valve 1,991cc common rail diesel engine that produces 111bhp at 4,000rpm and 245Nm of torque at an impressively low 1,800rpm.
The power unit is coupled to either a five speed manual transmission or a four-speed automatic and delivers its power to the road through an electronically controlled four-wheel drive system that in most conditions utilises only front- wheel drive but on sensing loss of grip automatically diverts up to half the drive to the rear wheels as well.
The Sportage has a solid and controlled stance on road and off-road thanks to its monocoque construction and the fully independent suspension. The front is controlled by a MacPherson strut and coil spring arrangement with an anti-roll bar and at the rear the Sportage rides on an independent dual link and coil spring arrangement, also with an anti-roll bar.
Secure braking is provided by front ventilated discs and solid rear discs and a four-wheel, four-sensor, four-channel anti-lock braking system with electronic brake force distribution.
A highly class competitive insurance group of 9D for all four diesel Sportage variants reinforces Kia’s focus on security and every Sportage comes with a large-capacity lockable glove box, remote central door locking, an electronic engine immobiliser and a perimeter alarm.
The new Unimogs, which were developed as all-terrain implement carriers, now have a range of additional built-in safety factors for off-road operations, along with a pick-up hitch, rear linkage and options for front and rear Power Take-Off.
Mark Hopkins, Director of Unimog in the UK, said the new agricultural specification Unimog had undergone and passed the rigorous Silsoe Testing standards. A special steel frame had been designed, manufactured and fitted to his specifications so that the cab area now meets OECD Code 4.
“Health and safety was the prime motivator,” Mark says. “Even with the renowned rigidity and durability of the Unimog range, it was important that we were able to offer a vehicle to the agricultural industry designed for its purpose. The rollover protection frame is wrapped around the existing, modern, single mould cab. This not only allows the cab to tilt, but it also provides more areas for hanging attachments as well as retaining the inherent comfort of the cab.
“Our target market is the agricultural contracting industry. We have recognised the trend for farmers to combine haulage activities with their agricultural expertise, and we now have the ideal vehicle for their business.”
The new Agricultural Specification Unimogs U300, U400 and U500 incorporate a range of optional benefits previously unavailable on Unimogs. These include VarioPilot – the ability to switch driving position from right to left or left to right to suit conditions in less than a minute – and a new auto-shift gear box.
The U400 and U500 are also available with Central Tyre Inflation, a system developed by Mercedes-Benz to deflate or inflate all the tyres from within the cab. This allows the Unimog to spread its load by widening the ‘footprint’ off-road and then re-inflate for driving on roads.
Emissions and noise levels have been checked to ensure that the Mercedes-Benz Euro 3 diesel engines are as environmentally friendly as possible. The U300’s four-cylinder engine produces up to 180bhp; with the six-cylinder U400 and U500 producing up to 231bhp and 279bhp respectively. The agricultural specification also has 16 forward and 16 reverse gears.
“This may be directed towards the agricultural industry, but it is still a Unimog with all the benefits that involves,” Mark Hopkins adds. “We are now able to offer a modern, comfortable, easy to drive and operate vehicle that has the ability to work as hard for agricultural contractors as it has proven to do for a wide range of other industries.
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Los Angeles: 4-Wheel & Off-Road magazine has named the 2005 Jeep Grand Cherokee the winner of its coveted 4x4 of the Year competition. This is the 23rd year of this enthusiast magazine's in-depth competition of new vehicles, and the tenth time that a Jeep vehicle has taken home the award.
"This award is unique because it pits all eligible four-wheel-drive vehicles against one another," said Rick Pewe, editor of 4-Wheel & Off-Road. "We do not separate trucks from SUVs, or fullsize vehicles from compacts. We compare all eligible vehicles and name one winner which we feel is the best 4x4 for that model year." A vehicle from nearly every category has won this award in the past 23 years.
The Jeep Grand Cherokee topped the field of nine competent competitors and ranked above most competitors in almost every category of this year's in depth test, which ranges from the mountains to the deserts. The grueling 1,000-mile test allows the judges to evaluate the performance of each vehicle's suspension, engine, transmission, and transfer case along with the style and creature comforts each vehicle provides.
"The Jeep Grand Cherokee continues to build on its heritage in the off road marketplace. This is the 7th time the Jeep Grand Cherokee has won this award, proving it is the leader in off-road capability. The advanced four-wheel-drive traction control system left many competitors in the dust, and the refinement in ride quality and off-road capability pushed the Jeep Grand Cherokee into the winners circle," said Pewe.
Competitors in 4-Wheel & Off-Road's 2004 4x4 of the Year were the Dodge Dakota, Nissan Frontier, Dodge Power Wagon, Toyota Tacoma, Land Rover LR3, Jeep Wrangler Rubicon Unlimited, Nissan Pathfinder, Jeep Liberty Diesel, and the Grand Cherokee.
To be eligible to compete, a vehicle must have improvements that will make it perform significantly different than the previous model year. Vehicles must also be available for sale before January 15 of the model year, have a production run of at least 2,500 units, and have a two-speed transfer case.
4-Wheel & Off-Road is published monthly by Primedia and is sold worldwide. The complete test results and vehicle evaluations for the 2005 4x4 of the Year competition will be in the February 2005 issue, on sale December 28, 2004. Information on the test is also available on the 4-Wheel & Off-Road Web site, www.4wheeloffroad.com.
The new Fiat Panda 4x4, a four-wheel drive version of Fiat Auto’s multi-award winning European Car of the Year 2004, goes on sale here on Saturday 5 February.
The Fiat brand has been synonymous with Europe’s most affordable 4x4 since a four-wheel drive system, developed in conjunction with Steyr-Puch, was installed in the first, Giugiaro-designed Panda in 1983. This model’s mechanical simplicity, durability and off-road abilities quickly found universal favour, and notably with rural communities, postal services and telephone and electricity utilities across continental Europe.
Today, building on a unique design which combines the road presence and elevated driving position of a small SUV with the space and flexible practicality of an MPV, the new Fiat Panda 4x4 features a variable torque distribution, permanent four-wheel drive transmission system capable of automatically transferring up to 50% of engine torque to the rear wheels.
Employing front and rear differentials and a rear mounted viscous coupling, this robust, low maintenance drivetrain is completely automatic and entirely mechanical, requiring neither driver input nor electronic control, and imbues the Panda 4x4 with outstanding off-road and severe weather abilities.
With modifications to the MacPherson strut front suspension and an all-new, independent rear configuration featuring longitudinal tie rods and a torsion bar, the new Panda 4x4 offers improved wheel articulation in off-road conditions, and an extended ground clearance of 165 mm. This revised and strengthened suspension system affords the Panda 4x4 impressive off-road comfort and performance with minimal compromise to the car’s renowned driving dynamics.
Allied to its increased ground clearance, the new Panda 4x4’s short front and rear overhangs make it ideally suited to the most challenging of off-road conditions, with approach, departure and breakover angles (the maximum angles of incidence that may be undertaken without the body touching the ground) of 24, 42 and 24 degrees respectively. The new Panda 4x4 will also readily climb gradients in excess of 50%.
On the road, new Panda 4x4 augments the levels of traction and stability inherent in its sophisticated, variable torque distribution four-wheel drive system, with ABS anti-lock brakes incorporating electronic brakeforce distribution, and MSR to modulate brake torque whilst changing down.
Within a bodyshell of exceptional torsional stiffness, the new Panda 4x4 offers a fully comprehensive array of both active and passive safety features. It is the first car in its class to offer up to six airbags, whilst front seatbelts with pretensioners and load limiters, three-point rear seatbelts, and anti-submarining seats are all fitted as standard.
Priced at £9195 on-the-road, and fitted with Fiat’s proven FIRE 1.2 litre, 8-valve, 60 bhp power plant mated to a 5-speed manual gearbox, the new Panda 4x4 will be available in one unique trim designation, offering levels of equipment more usually associated with cars of a higher segment.
Electric front windows, remote central locking, Dualdrive electric power steering, twin front airbags and a Blaupunkt stereo radio/CD are fitted as standard. Moreover, the availability of up to six airbags, automatic climate control, parking sensors, a Sky Dome electric sunroof, steering wheel audio controls and a stereo CD with MP3 player, provides the new Fiat Panda 4x4 with a level of on-board sophistication and refinement unparalleled in this class.
Over one million test kilometres, undertaken through some of the world’s harshest terrain, attest to both the new Panda 4x4’s remarkable off-road abilities and the durability of its drivetrain: in Lapland, the new Fiat performed faultlessly in temperatures of minus 40 degrees, maintaining traction and stability on ultra-low friction surfaces, and overcoming snow covered gradients of more than 40%. In the Kalahari Desert, the most mechanically debilitating of unsurfaced roads combined with dust, sand and 45 degree temperatures subjected the Panda 4x4’s drivetrain and suspension to the harshest examination.
Finally, two Panda 4x4s set out from Kathmandu to drive through the Himalayas to the Mount Everest advance base camp, sited at an altitude of 5200 metres. This was the first time that a small off-road vehicle achieved this goal, a feat made all the more remarkable by the absence of any modification to the standard Panda 4x4, except minor engine control unit adaptations appropriate for the quality of local fuel.
Fiat’s new Panda 4x4 may be readily distinguished from standard front-wheel drive versions by a 50 mm increase in ground clearance. In addition, revised front and rear bumper designs incorporate wide, integral body shields which fold underneath the bodywork to afford additional off-road protection. An engine sump guard is also fitted as standard.
In profile, the new 4x4 features large, bow shaped windows linked via blacked out door pillars to the rear quarterlight. This affords maximum glazing to the cabin space, whilst creating a graphic motif unique to the Panda range and hinting at the raised driving position and MPV practicality within. Bespoke, full-length, side rubbing strips further distinguish the 4x4 from front-wheel drive versions, and black aluminium roof rails are fitted as standard.
At the rear, a full height, top hinged tailgate, flanked by high visibility rear lamp clusters, is designed to offer full width access to the loadspace throughout the low-silled aperture.
Life on board
The ultra-compact exterior dimensions of the new Fiat Panda 4x4 – 1.60 m wide, 1.63 m high and 3.57 m long, with a wheelbase of just 2.30 m – belie an exceptionally spacious, flexible interior.
The car boasts an overall passenger room coefficient of more than 68%, one of the best in its class. And, thanks to an optional innovative, split/folding, sliding rear seat the copious luggage compartment may be quickly and easily increased.
The combination of a raised driving position, height adjustable seat, rake adjustable steering wheel and generous glazing offer the Fiat Panda 4x4 driver a comfortable, highly adaptable driving position allied to excellent all-round visibility. Unrivalled driver ergonomics have been achieved through painstaking detailing and the careful placement of switchgear.
Complementing a clear, functional driver’s instrument binnacle, the prominent centre console raises the gear lever to within the closest practical proximity of the steering wheel, allowing for quick, accurate changes with minimal physical effort. Careful consideration has gone into the placement of all other console based functions, with the stereo radio placed at the highest level to offer ease of access with minimal driver distraction.
Extensive cabin storage includes a glovebox, generous door pockets, centre console cup holders and a removable rear parcel shelf.
The seats, produced in accordance with principles developed by Professor Dal Monte, head of the Biometrics Department at the CONI Sport Medicine Institute, are exceptionally comfortable, devoting particular attention to passenger posture and lateral containment.
The new Fiat Panda 4x4 offers a choice of three rear seating solutions; one piece with two places, fitted as standard, and the option of either 50:50 split/sliding with two places or one piece with three places. All variants come with a one piece cushion incorporating an anti-submarining function, and a fully folding backrest for greatly enlarged load carrying capacity.
The one piece backrest can include a third, inertia reel seatbelt, whilst the two place, 50:50 split option offers even greater loadspace flexibility. Also being able to slide, this option boasts the added advantage of rake adjustable backrests and the ability to boost loadspace by 30 litres without the need to fold down either seat back. In all cases, the seat folding mechanism may be operated from inside either the passenger or luggage compartments.
A comprehensive range of accessories includes car mats, assorted loadspace nets including a dog containment screen, a demountable load compartment tray, transverse roof bars and a wide selection of child seats, including a bespoke Kiddy Isofix seat for children weighing up to 40 lbs.
Available in 10 body colours complemented by a choice of durable, grey/yellow or grey/red cabin upholstery finishes which are unique to the 4x4, the Panda is the only car in this class to have 99% of its interior surface lined, setting new supermini standards for quality and comfort.
ENGINE AND TRANSMISSION
The new Panda 4x4 goes on sale in the UK powered by Fiat’s spirited FIRE 1.2 litre 8-valve, 60 bhp engine, which is mated, via a 5-speed manual gearbox, to a variable torque distribution four-wheel drive transmission system.
FOUR-WHEEL DRIVE TRANSMISSION
Fiat’s new four-wheel drive transmission, developed in conjunction with GKN Driveline, is a simple, robust, yet highly effective system capable of mastering severe winter roads, challenging off-road conditions and gradients of more than 50%, with minimal compromise to the Panda 4x4’s on-road refinement.
The system features a front differential allied to a power transfer unit (PTU), a two-piece propshaft, a viscous coupling in front of the rear differential, a rear differential module, and front and rear driveshafts.
The key to the system’s efficiency is the viscous coupling.
How it works
In normal driving conditions, the Panda 4x4 is basically front-wheel drive, with the resultant benefits of fuel economy, tyre wear, etc. The automatic operation of the Panda 4x4 means that without any intervention by the driver, the system will automatically transfer power to the rear wheels when necessary. This is done by the viscous coupling, physically a small cylinder just in front of the rear axle into which the propshaft connects.
Basically, the viscous coupling consists of a sealed container within which there are a large number of metal discs, fixed alternately to the outer casing and the inner shaft. In order to increase the viscous drag, the discs fixed to the outer casing are perforated, whilst those on the shaft, which are free to slide along it, are slotted. The container is mostly filled with a silicone based fluid.
When there is little difference between the speed of the two sets of discs (ie when all the wheels are turning at the same speed) the viscous coupling has little effect, but if one of the front wheels begins to spin, then the set of discs attached to the casing will begin to rotate much faster than the other discs. This relative motion causes viscous drag to force the other discs to rotate, thus transmitting some of the torque to the output shaft. This is known as the viscous mode.
If the front wheels should spin considerably faster than the rear, the difference in the relative speeds of the discs will cause the temperature of the fluid inside the coupling to rise. This will cause it to expand, which will increase the area of discs in contact with the fluid, increasing the viscous drag and hence the transmission of torque.
Once the fluid expands to fill the coupling, further increases of temperature cause the pressure to build up inside the casing. The presence of the perforations and slots causes pressure differences to act on the discs, and those which can slide along the shaft will do so until they are in contact with the discs fixed to the casing. At this point the coupling acts as a friction clutch, giving maximum torque to the gripping wheels.
When the relative motion of the discs reduces, the temperature will drop, and the coupling reverts to its viscous mode until the wheels all rotate at the same speeds again.
Hence the viscous coupling provides a locking action proportional to the difference in speed between its input and output shafts; the higher the speed difference, the greater the torque transference, up to a maximum of a 50:50 split between front and rear wheels.
In addition to its simplicity, the new Panda 4x4’s durable, low maintenance drivetrain has several further advantages: the system is entirely automatic, requiring no driver input. It is entirely mechanical, requiring no electronic control. It has a benign impact on day-to-day driving dynamics, and provides excellent compatibility with the car’s ABS systems.
ENGINE 1.2 8v FIRE
* 1242 cc
* 4-cylinders, 8 valves
* Power: 60 bhp @ 5000 rpm
* Torque: 75 lb.ft @ 2500 rpm
* Top speed: 90 mph
* Acceleration 0-62 mph: 20 seconds
* Fuel consumption: in town: 35.8 mpg out of town: 48.7 mpg combined 42.8 mpg
* CO2: 156 g/km
This tried and tested unit comes to the new Panda 4x4 with a number of recent refinements to further improve fuel economy without affecting its performance.
The engine is fitted with a sophisticated, Marelli I.A.W. phased sequential multipoint injection. New, convergent / divergent intake ports and new camshaft profiles optimise power and efficiency, and a new active knock sensor manages advance effectively, under all conditions.
Lighter componentry has also improved fuel consumption. In particular, a glassfibre reinforced polymer intake manifold has been developed with U-shaped branches and a built-in plenum chamber; while an auxiliary drive circuit features built-in mountings in aluminium squeeze castings, and an automatic low torque tensioner has also been developed for improved reliability. The mating clearance between crankshaft and crankcase has also been optimised through computerised selection of main bearings.
Quality of life on board has been improved through a special engine installation system which minimises the transfer of engine vibration to the body – a barycentric power unit mounting system consisting of two blocks plus a reaction rod that acts as a link. The new mounts are aligned along an axis that passes through the engine’s centre of gravity to obtain reaction forces with zero offset.
Additionally, the catalytic converter is welded to the side of the exhaust manifold within the engine bay, allowing it to reach high temperatures more rapidly, thus reducing emissions before the engine is at optimum running temperature.
The new Panda 4x4’s 5-speed manual gearbox can transmit torque of up to
14.8 kgm, and features a dual cable external control that filters engine vibrations transmitted to a dashboard mounted gear lever offering outstanding selection quality.
The gear casings, developed using finite element structural computing methods, are light yet display high noise absorption efficiency. Fifth speed and final drive gear sets are machined to a superfinish after heat treatment, to further reduce noise levels. The clutch is hydraulic to promote ease of use, efficiency and low running noise. The new Panda 4x4 5-speed manual gearbox is also equipped with a syringe mechanism to prevent involuntary reverse engagement.
SUSPENSION AND TYRES
Fiat Auto’s new 4x4 employs a modified version of the independent MacPherson strut front suspension found on front-wheel drive versions of the Panda. At the rear, the front-wheel drive model’s torsion beam axle has been replaced with an independent configuration featuring longitudinal tie rods and an anti-roll bar.
Allied to a bodyshell of exceptional torsional stiffness – 70,500 nm/radiant – and an increase in ground clearance of 50 mm over front-wheel drive models to 165 mm, this suspension system affords the new Panda 4x4 outstanding off-road comfort and performance combined with a level of driving precision, roadholding and ride comfort more usually associated with cars of a higher segment.
As with the front-wheel drive Panda, the 4x4’s front suspension layout features an anti-roll bar connected by rod to the shock absorbers (a first in the supermini category), and a coil spring design that maximises the absorption of minor surface roughness. However, the dimensions of the shock absorber pistons have here been enlarged from 20 to 22 mm to promote off-road durability, whilst new, bespoke coil springs increase both ground clearance and off-road ride comfort.
The rear suspension’s new, independent configuration accommodates the rear differential and driveshafts whilst affording the rear wheels the extensive vertical travel essential to off-road prowess. A rear subframe, fastened rigidly to the body at four points, acts as a load-bearing element for the mechanical components, whilst the longitudinal tie rods are fastened to the frame via two composite rubber and metal bushes per arm.
An anti-roll bar is connected to the tie rods via ball joints designed to offer improved suspension rigidity and improved body stability during cornering.
As with front-wheel drive models, the Panda 4x4’s rear shock absorbers are located beneath the floor to improve comfort without compromising load space.
The new Fiat Panda 4x4 runs on bespoke 185/65 R 14 tyres. Through optimised tread pattern geometry featuring fewer strips, this tyre design offers outstanding handling and traction over snow covered terrain, complemented by first class steering response and driving satisfaction on both dry and wet road surfaces.
Benefiting from 15,000 hours of computer aided design, 80 crash tests, 70 HyGe slide simulations and 140 tests on components and subsystems, the new Fiat Panda 4x4 is one of the safest cars in its class.
Via 240 mm ventilated disc brakes at the front, and equal diameter, solid discs at the rear, the new Fiat Panda 4x4 augments the levels of traction and stability inherent in a sophisticated, variable torque distribution four-wheel drive system with ABS anti-lock brakes, complete with electronic brakeforce distribution, and MSR to modulate brake torque whilst changing down.
An advanced BOSCH 8 ABS system, featuring four active sensors, four channels, an electronic control unit and eight solenoids, is fitted as standard to the Fiat Panda 4x4.
The system is complemented by an Electronic Brakeforce Distributor (EBD) that governs the braking action on the rear axle to prevent the wheels locking and ensure full control of the car in all situations. The system also adapts its operation to wheel grip conditions and brake pad efficiency to reduce pad overheating.
Emergency brake assistance takes the form of Emergency Valve Assistance (EVA); a mechanical system located inside the brake servo.
The MSR (Motor Schleppmoment Regelung) cuts in when a gear is shifted down abruptly under conditions of low grip. The system restores torque to the engine to prevent skidding as a result of wheel lock-up.
A high level of passive safety is provided by Fiat Auto’s new chassis/platform, which was designed to provide maximum torsional stiffness yet absorb impact with maximum efficiency. Moreover, the new Panda 4x4 offers up to six airbags, whilst front seatbelts with pretensioners and load limiters, three-point rear seatbelts, anti-submarining seats, and an FPS Fire Prevention System are all fitted as standard.
The new Panda 4x4 may be fitted with up to six airbags; driver and passenger front and side airbags, as well as two side curtain airbags providing head protection in the case of side impacts. Their operation is controlled by an electronic control unit that evaluates crash severity via a number of sensors located throughout the car.
The standard equipment front passenger airbag may be deactivated manually via an ignition key switch on the fascia; a dashboard warning light indicates this condition. Though the seatbelt pretensioner remains active, a rear facing baby seat can therefore still be safely fitted.
Fire Prevention System
The FPS includes a cut-off valve and an inertia switch which immediately shuts down the electric petrol pump. This prevents fuel loss in the case of impact, roll-over or damage to the fuel lines. The fuel tank, located in a protected position in front of the rear axle, is formed in a plastic resistant to mechanical stress and fire. The new Panda 4x4’s interior trim is also flame resistant.
PRICING AND EQUIPMENT
Priced at £9195 on-the-road, the Fiat Panda 4x4 will become available in one unique trim designation, offering unprecedented levels of standard equipment in this segment.
This bespoke specification includes the following:
* ABS anti-lock brakes with EBD
* Remote central locking
* Fiat Code II engine immobiliser
* Twin front airbags
* Four 3-point inertia reel seatbelts
* Electric front windows with driver’s ‘one touch’ facility
* RDS radio cassette with four speakers
* Dualdrive electric power steering
* 'Follow Me Home’ headlights
* ‘Intelligent’ windscreen wipers
* Heated rear window with ‘intelligent’ wash/wipe
* 14" alloy wheels
* Black aluminium roof bars
* Body coloured bumpers
* Front and rear body shields
* Engine sump guard
Dualdrive electric power steering
This innovative, speed-sensitive power steering system comes with two operating modes and uses an electric motor, rather than a hydraulic pump driven by the engine, resulting in a considerable reduction in fuel consumption.
The system offers a choice of two settings: the first ensures maximum feedback and driver involvement, the second lightens the steering to minimise effort, and is therefore ideal for urban driving and low speed manoeuvring.
Pressing the ‘City’ button on the fascia activates the latter mode. But, to ensure maximum safety under all driving conditions, both settings offer identical power assistance over 44 mph, thus ensuring a steering wheel response suited to high speed driving.
The new Panda 4x4’s comprehensive standard equipment package is further enhanced by a range of innovative, safety and comfort enhancing options more usually reserved for vehicles in a higher segment, such as a Sky Dome glass sunroof, parking sensors, side and window airbags, smart windscreen wipers, Follow Me Home headlights and a CD sound system that can play MP3 music files.
Sky Dome sunroof
The Sky Dome, a large, crystal-glass sunroof, occupies nearly 70% of the new Panda 4x4 roof. It consists of two glazed panels – one fixed and one mobile – and two sunblinds that may be independently retracted towards the rear of the car.
Via a button adjacent to the central courtesy light, the retractable glass panel becomes a raised spoiler in the first position, thereafter sliding on aluminium guides to the fully opened position. Releasing the control button stops the movement at any required position. Both glass front panel and sunblind may be fully opened in just seven seconds.
The parking sensor, which is activated whenever the ignition is switched on and reverse gear engaged, consists of four ultrasound sensors mounted in the rear bumper, and linked to an electronic control unit and a buzzer.
The four detectors cover the rear corners of the new Panda 4x4 from a distance of less than 60 cm, and the area immediately behind the car from a distance of less than 150 cm. Proximity information is transmitted to the driver in the form of bleeps at intervals. The bleeps are emitted with increasing frequency, becoming a continuous signal when the car reaches a distance of 30 cm from any obstacle.
Follow Me Home headlights
A practical, safety conscious innovation designed to light the interior of a garage or the path to the front door after the car has been locked, Follow Me Home activates the dipped beams and sidelights of the new Panda 4x4. The driver simply operates the light flasher stalk within 2 minutes of switching off the engine. Each time the stalk is operated, light activation is extended by 30 seconds up to a maximum of three and a half minutes.
Intelligent windscreen wipers
The new Panda 4x4 features two continual and four intermittent wiper speeds. A ‘smart’ washing system simultaneously operates wipers and washerjets with one stalk movement. The same system applies to the rear wiper, which is automatically activated when the front wipers are switched on and reverse gear is engaged.