The son of seven-time world champion Michael is edging closer to an F1 drive
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£16,245 when new
In Fiat’s triumvirate of Pandas With Off-Road Pretensions, the Cross is king. Below it lurk the Trekking (which effectively is a standard FWD Panda with chunky tyres) and the 4x4, the all-wheel-drive TG favourite that in 2012, we crowned SUV of the year. The Cross is a Panda 4x4 with a little more where it matters. More ground clearance, more underbody protection - more stuff that makes it better when the going gets muddy. In normal road driving, the Panda is FWD, but Off-Road mode locks it in AWD at speeds of up to 30mph. There’s even Hill Descent Control - a first, we reckon, on such a tiny car.
On-road, it’s a jacked-up Panda, but off it, this thing is just astounding. With a big poke of the throttle, the Panda scrabbles up surprisingly steep slopes. There’s a moment of inaction as the power is meted out, and then an almost turbo-like whoosh as the rear wheels bite and you fly over whatever obstacle it was you were trying to cross.
But charming as it is, the Cross doesn’t make much financial sense. The 4x4 is certainly capable enough, and it’s £1,650 cheaper. That’s where we’d put our money.
£9,935 – £11,235
The first ever Skoda city car is a VW Up in drag. But when the VW is so able, is that such a bad thing?
£8,290 – £14,500
Kia’s all-new Picanto GT Line is a grown-up supermini that hints at more Korean sportiness
£9,125 – £25,585
This is the one they all need to watch out for. VW has finally got serious about the city car