This is Fiat’s brand new Panda Cross, revealed here ahead of its debut at Geneva’s motor show next month.
Based on chunky Panda 4X4, the Cross offers combines torque-on-demand all-wheel drive with electronic stability control, an electronic locking differential and hill descent control to create something with enough high tech gadgetry to render any polo field passable.
Bigger tyres, increased ground clearance and improved approach and departure angles allow more action than the standard 4×4 when the going actually does start to get a bit tricky.
A terrain control selector switches between the choice of three driving modes, from Auto, through Lock 4WD and on to Hill Descent, while the uprated 1.3 MultiJet II diesel engine should offer enough torque to drag you out of most spots.
That 80bhp diesel generates 140lb ft of torque, but for the urbanistas there’ll also be a revised 0.9 litre TwinAir tubocharged petrol engine with 90bhp and 107lb ft of torque. Both engines will return more than 55mpg, according to official figures.
On-road manners are improved by the adoption of a torsion beam layout for the rear suspension, replacing the previous semi-trailing arm setup, which saves weight and provides better ride and acoustic characteristics.
As well as all the plastic bits bolted to the exterior, giving it a tough image you can only pull off in Panda, the interior gets a minor makeover. Unique fabrics and eco-leather complement a new copper coloured dashboard.
Climate control and Bluetooth connectivity is fitted as standard, while Fiat’s impressive City Brake Control system is an optional extra.
The new Fiat Panda Cross is due to go on sale in the autumn with pricing, final UK equipment specifications and technical details to be announced closer to its launch. Expect to write a cheque somewhere just shy of £15,000 if you want one.