Those in the market for a cheap, four-wheel drive vehicle under $20,000 have a couple of choices, but not many. The Patriot is the bottom end of the Jeep range, but a rather dreadful vehicle. Subaru has a few Imprezas that fit the bill for those not looking for a full-on SUV and Suzuki has the SX4, which is a rather tidy, all-wheel drive five-door hatchback. Unfortunately, the US has not been privy to the Fiat Panda 4x4, which has been around since the 1980s. Rumor has it that we may get a version of this plucky little off roader in the form of a small Jeep, given Fiat's control of Chrysler. In the meantime, it's possible to pick up the first generation Fiat Panda on the cheap, even considering shipping costs to the US. This Panda for sale near Milan, Italy has covered a scant 40,000 miles and would be a great commuting tool for those in colder climates.
Fiat Panda 4x4, 1987 (hence exempt stamp duty), in excellent condition, both mechanical and body. The following components have been replaced due to age: brackets, headsets, tires, battery, belts, etc. Car does not require any additional work, price is negotiable.
The seller is asking the equivalent of about $4,200 USD for this Panda. By the time you factor in shipping and importation fees, you might be hovering around $6,000. That's seems like a lot for a Panda, but considering the utility on tap and exclusivity this car offers stateside, it's a small price to pay. With manually selectable four-wheel drive and a low range first gear, this car offers a curious mix of versatility and economy that is hard to match.