I'd not be at all surpized if i winched my truck to the top of a mountian in Romania only to find an old bloke at the top filling his ford fiesta with firewood to sell in town . Who buys a modern Rangerover because they are interested in its offroad capabilities . The Panda driver was likely just a better driver more familiar with the road and conditions .
Round here i've seen Kangoos/berlingos with ATs on the front axel going places that a lot of kitted up French 4x4s would think twice about.We tend to get a fair few well prepared 80s /90s here in the summer much to the bemusement of the locals in their aforementioned Renaults/Citroens -"what's that box on the roof for ?" me - it's a fold out tent "why don't they go to Juan's tourist apartments , big screen , hot shower....."
Mass is the enemy...... not that I'm given to defending Range Rover drivers .
Tyres also....the RR is on wide low profiles the Panda a narrow section that will tend to bite through the snow...... we ran 145 or 165 section snow tyres on 350hp Rally cars ...... the RR is just polishing the surface .
I have spun 14 tons of Case Magnum tractor 360 degrees on the road on packed snow despite having proper off road tyres .... I have also slid downhill at an ever increasing rate in a Tank on ice and snow ..... gravity has no respect for AFV's ;-) .
Some of us are old enough to remember Haflingers and their remarkable ability's at AWD club events ( right until it fell over ) ..... the Fiat Panda is in the same mould .
More than 30 years ago i drove a Datsun Cherry 20 miles home when every road was closed because of snow , very quickly i worked out it was fwd so picked a gear and speed all on B roads and only once did it let go on a long left hand curve with a natural incline wanting to take me down the hill , a little throttle she dug in and on i went . The only bump when i got home i decided to parked bumper to hedge and the hedge stopped me without damage . I knew the roads was more likely to be bouncing a bike full throttle from dip to ridge on the same route when the weather was good .
Steve, the Spanish Pyrenees are superb. Sorry, but my experience is that the Spanish side is nicer than the French side especially as you get close to the Med. The pass is fun, yes. Pretty picturesque but not really challenging. I towed my trailer up there and as I said, there was a procession of Twingos, Berlingos and Transits. So like a good rough greenlane. Views over the top into Andorra are fantastic. Real test of your brakes going down the other side. Fuel is the only cheap thing when you get there.
Just to add to a couple of posts . Friend and i were also on the smugglers pass in Andorra, We camped at La Massana. We got back down in my old Nissan Navara With the Brakes and clutch on fire.. Only to be Passed by 4 blokes in an old Renault TL 20 Loaded up to the nuts with goods.. Fantastic Country Andorra.... When i lived in Danmark i went every where in winter in my old Saab 99 with winter tyres on ... Never any issues, The first vehicle i came across in the snow one morning was a Hi Lux on its roof!
Going downhill is the real test when driving in the snow, when ( when eh?) I drive to the Alps so the Duchess can ski I never leave home without snow chains, one chain for each wheel, I have real heavy duty ones, the Bruiser is a tad heavy with all the luggage and extra passengers to chance anything. Also, BFG xAT tyres are snowflake marked so they are a winter tyre. Even with this belt and braces approach I’ve had some twitchy moments. But as said that RR was a tad embarrassing, and if you can afford to own and run a RR you can afford to invest in chains or the “ snow socks” that are available.I wouldn’t want to drive that bend downhill after that RR had nicely polished the snow into ice.
Snow socks are a revelation. I used them on the fully laden works Transit back in 2015. I needed to get up a 1:10 hill and after seeing cars and a bus stuck, decided to fit them. With a bit of a run I sailed straight up, to the utter amazement of bystanders.
Once back on gritted tarmac I neglected to remove them immediately and they were completely shredded in less than a mile so you have to be selective with their use. A bit of a faff to fit in a blizzard but well worth the cost and effort IMO.