A new chunky version of the Fiat Panda 4×4 will make its debut at the Geneva Motor Show next month.

Dubbed the Fiat Panda Cross, the new model features rufty-tufty styling, bigger tyres and increased ground clearance.

Four-wheel-drive is provided by a Torque on Demand system which uses both an electronic locking differential and the functions of the electronic stability control to help provide the greatest traction in any given circumstance.

The system is governed by a new Terrain Control selector which offers three modes: Auto allows the system to automatically apportion drive between front and rear axles as required; Lock is designed for off-road use at speeds up to 30mph; and Hill Descent which controls the vehicle’s speed during steep descents.

The larger tyres – 185/65R15 – allow for an increase in ground clearance to 16cm for the diesel model and 15cm for the petrol, while its approach and departure angles increase to 24 and 33 degrees respectively.  Its break-over angle improves slightly to 20 degrees, and the Panda Cross can climb a 31.5 degree (or 70%) gradient.

Two engines are available: a 0.9-litre TwinAir petrol which receives a 5hp power increase to 90hp with 145Nm of torque, plus a 1.3-litre MultiJet II turbodiesel with 80hp and 190Nm.

The diesel is the more frugal of the two, recording 60.1mpg and CO2 emissions of 125 g/km, with the TwinAir petrol achieving 57.6mpg and emissions of 114 g/km.

The new Panda Cross should be easy to identify, with a new front bumper, lights and titanium-coloured skid plate.  From the side, there’s a prominent side moulding with the Cross logo, chunky wheel-arch extensions, titanium-finish roof bars, and new 15-inch alloy wheels.

The rear also gets a new bumper with its own skid-plate, new lights, and red-painted tow hooks.

The interior sees a new copper fascia, part eco-leather seats, and a range of electro-gubbins such as climate control and City Brake Control.

UK pricing has yet to be confirmed, but the new Fiat Panda Cross is expected to go on sale in the autumn.