2020 Fiat Panda Cross Hybrid Review

What is this?

An electrified version of the Fiat Panda Cross: a compact, cuddly Italian hatchback that seems bent on trying to convince anyone who applauds it as a proper, muddy SUV.

Just not really. It may have a lot of black plastic livery and a slightly higher ride height, but underneath is a front-wheel-drive city car, slightly bulging. But we already knew that. Even more important is the fact that the new Panda Mild Hybrid represents the first phase of Fiat’s quest to redefine itself as the maker of electrified small town cars.

Of course, being a mild hybrid, it appears to be more of a temporary dip in the toes than a direct dive in the waters of Lake Electrification. But you have to start somewhere, and in any case, the all-electric 500e which is expected to be unveiled at the Geneva Motor Show in a few months, will soon follow. time. So it’s not as if Fiat lacks intent on this front.

Launched alongside the new 500 Mild Hybrid, the Panda Mild Hybrid uses the same 1.0-liter three-cylinder petrol engine and 12-volt belt-integrated starter alternator as its younger brother. This harvests kinetic energy during braking and deceleration, which is stored in the 11Ah lithium battery. This allows the engine to shut down to conserve fuel when cruising or at a standstill, and can also be used to aid in acceleration. Overall, the Panda Mild Hybrid makes a relatively modest 69 horsepower and 68 lb.

How does it look?

In a more sedate city, the Panda is easy enough to operate, with the electrical engineering providing a negligible level of extra twitching to help you move smoothly.

After this point, the powerlessness of the panda becomes more apparent. Really keeping your footing is needed to get the car up to speed, to the point where you often find yourself driving for long stretches with the throttle completely flat. Doing so is so much fun – in part because the Panda’s engine looks ready to smash – but also because you’ll never be in any major danger of significantly exceeding the speed limit.

However, driving this way is not likely to benefit your fuel consumption. We saw a fuel economy figure of about 35 mpg at the conclusion of our era with the car — fairly far from the WLTP rating of 49.6 mpg.

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