Have we taken leave of our senses, putting the Panda above the Range Rover as Top Gear’s SUV of the Year? No, because if something isn’t used, it might as well be useless. We’re surely not alone in predicting that you’re more likely to go knocking about in the boondocks in a Panda than you would in a precious new Range Rover. The stakes are lower.
And let’s not patronise the Panda by saying it’s ‘surprisingly’ good off-road. It’s good off-road. End of. Sure, it might not have fancy locking diffs, but there’s a clever electronic traction system, ample ground clearance and a low first gear. Traction on slopes is remarkable, partly because the tyres are suitable and partly because the Panda is light enough that there isn’t much gravitational pull to defy. And it’s so compact it’ll weave between trees and rocky obstacles that defeat the galumphing full-size off-roaders.
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