A Fiat Panda 4x4... up Mount Etna
An epic TG mag adventure from the past 20 years: we drive the Panda up an erupting volcano...
Posted: 15 Oct 2013
There are no barriers, and the lava that surrounds them is as sharp as wit. Walk around on the stuff, and you realise that it's like balancing on the remains of a bonfire. While some is crunchy and brittle, the bits that don't crunch into powder feel like coral, all sharp and fossilised. If you fall over, it hurts. I know. I fell over. It looked like I'd been trapped in a sackful of angry cats.
The Panda doesn't grind its way up the slopes like a traditional 4x4, but scampers. First gear is deliberately low to negate the need for a separate and mostly redundant low-ratio gearbox, and second requires a little speed to prevent bogging down, so the little car bounds up the slopes, bouncing and clawing at the loose surface.