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This is the brand new Fiat Panda Cross.

It’s based on the Panda 4x4, but gets a suite of extra off-roading ability to ensure those cityscapes/Himalayas are traversed with much ease. Stuff like oversized 15in tyres (bigger than the ones on the Panda 4x4), and a revised suspension setup to provide better comfort and improve its off-road performance.

You also get the same ‘Torque-on-Demand’ transmission system as in the standard Panda 4x4, which uses two differentials and an electronically controlled coupling to maintain torque during ‘difficult’ driving. The sort when you’re sliding backwards off a muddy cliff and into oblivion.

It’s activated by a ‘Terrain Control’ selector that offers up three modes: auto, lock (optimised for off-road by braking slipping wheels) and hill descent. Ground clearance on the new Panda Cross has been improved by 16cm, there are better approach and departure angles, and two engines on offer: the 0.9-litre TwinAir turbo with 90bhp and 107lb ft of torque, and the 1.3-litre MultiJet II diesel delivering 80bhp but a more generous 140lb ft of torque.

No doubt you’ve noticed it looks a bit different, and your noticement is correct: the Panda Cross gets wheel arch extensions, new side mouldings and roof bars, new 15in alloys, a revised rear bumper with under-body protection, a new rear light cluster, new tow hooks and a new dashboard finish inside.

Prices will be confirmed closer to its autumn on-sale date, but expect a slight premium over the current Panda 4x4, which costs a whisker under £14k for the TwinAir version.

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