Welcome to the New Year, yes cold snaps, frosty mornings and the threat of snow coupled with minus temperatures make most people start thinking of booking sunny holidays, and who can blame them. Unless you’re venturing out to work it’s very tempting to just stay indoors.
This is the time of year is when the 4×4 brigade drive round with a big smile on their face that they are King of the Road as the weather reports come in of impending doom, in the form of snow blizzards or some wind swept cold beast from somewhere. But they might look all smug in their road going off roaders but have you seen them to try to park at your local Supermarket? Then they aren’t quite so smug.
You see as cars have grown bigger over the last decade due to a combination of design, added safety equipment and people getting bigger, the practicality of getting parked up has not got easier. It has been well documented that parking spaces have remained unchanged since your Grandad’s time when he drove his Austin motor car down to the local disco-tech on a Saturday night in hope of not driving home alone later (Different times!).
So many of these 4×4’s are now the size of a small house and therefore no fun in the reality of modern driving around town or as many of them seem to spend their time, on the school run huddled together like some strange tribe. Theses 4×4’s are just too damn big, so what do you buy? I could shout that the Fiat Panda 4×4 would be top of my list, but the trouble is the Panda is a tad out of date, not exactly luxurious and next to the new Suzuki Jimny just doesn’t cut it. I’m not a fan of the Jimny, it looks like a 90’s Nissan Patrol that has been shrunk, is only a 3 star EuroNCAP (which is pretty poor for a car just launched) and overall on the inside just doesn’t make you feel excited that your driving it. No longer do Fiat do a 500x 4×4 so despite that being a better Crossover than most others, if we are talking 4×4 for the Winter then it is discounted.
FCA have of course Jeep, which is good I suppose but at £29k the Renegade isn’t cheap. No what we need is a pocket-sized off roader, something small, nimble but with the luxuries that modern drivers want. Alfa Romeo will be bringing a baby SUV to the market in the next 12 months but it won’t fit into this criteria.
Right now nothing really hits the mark, and I have no doubt manufacturers are closely watching the success of the likes of the new Jimny to see if they should launch their own version. As for me, well we know a new Panda is due in 2020 we can only hope it retains the 4×4 model and that maybe it grows up a bit without ‘growing up’. In the meantime? Well a 90’s Fiat Panda 4×4 might be fun…or how about a converted Abarth…What do you think?