Italy. Land of pizza, the Leaning Tower of Pisa, the Coloseum, spaghetti, Ferrari and, generally, a whole lot of style, creativity and pizzaz. What the Italians are not so renowned for, is their ability to build rugged and hardy 4x4s. Stylish and cool, yes – but rugged and hardy, maybe not so much.
Here are five Italian 4x4s that mix a measure of style and 4×4/SUV qualities…
1. Fiat Panda 4×4
For the Italians, the Fiat Panda 4×4 is a long-term investment. It makes an excellent proposition as a daily runabout thanks to its compact size and frugal engine. But, most importantly, for the purposes of this comparison, it can go where other fashionably trendy cars just won’t, thanks to its four-wheel drive abilities – making it perfect for conquering the icy European roads during the winter. This nation also has so much confidence in the abilities of this little car that it’s the small vehicle of choice for the Italian army!
2. Alfa Romeo Stelvio
The Italian marque is known for manufacturing some of the most beautifully sculpted vehicles imaginable. And now, there is a crossover in the pipeline, known as the Stelvio. Named after a famous Italian mountain pass, this stallion will likely share a platform with its sedan sibling, the Giulia and as its moniker suggests, it will likely be dynamically beautiful. It will rival the likes of the BMW X3 and Merc GLC and there is even speculation that it can be had with all-wheel drive.
3. Iveco Daily 4×4
There is arguably no other Italian vehicle that quite manages to encapsulate ruggedness and a back-to-basics cool factor quite like the Iveco Daily 4×4. The Daily, which is also a popular bus on local soil, has received quite the extensive bakkie treatment. It now features a passanger cab, some all-terrain tyres and a part-time 4×4 drivetrain, and it sure looks like it can quite litterally move mountains, and if that fails, just stomp over it.
4. Fiat 500 Rally Car
The internet is littered with amateur rally drivers attempting to push their small Italian cars to the absolute limit of physics and 90% of the time it will tumble over or end up in a ditch, just to be rescued by the spectators. It’s quite the entertaining sport. Topling over or ending up in a ditch won’t be on the agenda for the Rally Camp Fiat 500, though. It features a Porsche Cayenne four-wheel drive system, a 2.0-litre Audi engine and state-of-the-art suspension. Not to mention it sprints from 0-100 km/h in five seconds.
5. Iveco Puma 6×6 Army Vehicle
The only thing better than a 4×4, is a 6×6 and once again it was built by IVECO. The Puma is a light armored vehicle used by the Italian army, for well, just about everything. There is a bunch of different variants ranging from an ambulance to an air-defence version, kitted with missiles. Besides the ability to go just about anywhere, the Puma also comes standard with power steering, run-flat tyres and a nuclear defense system.
Image: TTN Ministry
Compiled by Deon van der Walt