Fiat Panda Trekking 0.9 litre Twinair road test

  • Packs rugged 4x4 looks but is front-wheel drive only
  • BIK band 12%, averages 61.4mpg and costs from £27 a month*
  • Clever stability control system means you can off road

The Fiat Panda Trekking TwinAir is the latest incarnation of the Panda.

With its rugged design it looks like a 4x4 but this version is actually a front-wheel drive version of the new Panda.

If you don’t need permanent four-wheel drive, then the Trekking makes a whole lot of sense for a user-chooser. This TwinAir engine emits 105g/km of CO2, trumping the 4X4 TwinAir version which emits 114g/km.

That means the Trekking slots into the 12% BIK band rather than the 13% band that the 4X4 is in - saving you money.

With an estimated P11d value of £13,500 and returning an average of 61.4mpg, the figures on the Fiat Panda Trekking make for good reading. A 20% tax payer will pay £27 a month in company car tax, and if you are a 40% tax payer then you will have to pay £54 a month.

There are certain similarities between the Fiat Panda 4x4 and the Trekking. Both have a raised ride height. They also come with mud and snow tyres and have that rugged design making the car look like a 4x4.

It can cope off-road, too. Fiat has equipped this 2WD Trekking version of the Panda with a clever electronic and stability control system called Traction +. The kit controls the brakes when slip is detected in either of the front wheels and transfers the traction to the wheel with more grip.

This can only be used up to speeds of 18mph, but means you can tackle fairly rough terrain with success. For more extreme off-roading you will need the Fiat Panda 4X4, but the Trekking is able to cope with the majority of conditions that most people will throw at it.

On the road the Trekking fares well. The 89bhp two-cylinder TwinAir engine mated to a five-speed manual gearbox propels the car from zero to 62mph in 11.5 seconds, while it has an achievable top speed of 105mph.

Not everyone will be enamoured with the instantly recognisable whine of the two-cylinder engine but we believe this adds to the character of the car.

Through the corners the Fiat Panda Trekking performs exactly like the Panda 4x4 version. Due to the raised height there is more lean when cornering enthusiastically when comparing to the normal Panda - this is down the 47mm taller stance.

The steering is direct but when out of town it could be better weighted. You can make the steering even lighter to help you negotiate the urban jungle. Press the 'City' button and this makes the steering lighter than normal, making parking easy in crowded city centres.

Just like the 4x4 version the driving position is superb. All-round visibility is good while the cabin is a pleasant place to spend time in. Some of the bright colours will not be to everyone’s taste but they give the car a youthful character.

Standard equipment includes climate control, CD/MP3 radio, 15-inch alloy electric door mirrors, central locking with remote control and rear headrests.

If you don’t need the capability of a serious off-roader then the Trekking model could be the one to choose.

The Fiat Panda Trekking is a better fit for business drivers –it emits less CO2, has a better average fuel economy than the 4x4 version and has that rugged design giving the impression that it is a ‘proper’ 4x4. It’s also around £1,000 cheaper than the 4x4 version, making it a serious contender in this sector of the market.

Fiat Panda Trekking

It's front wheel drive but control system aids grip in slippery conditions

Fiat Panda Trekking

Low CO2 emissions means 12% BIK band plus claimed 61mpg

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*Based on an estimated P11d value of £13,500