Girls with Fullbacks? Of course I mean the tough @fiat_sa Fullback. 😅 I’m out and about exploring Jozi in the comfortable Fullback. @phumemkhungo #fiat #fullback #fiatfullback #bakkie #ute #pickuptruck #italiancar #italian #italy #city #durban #pe #capetown #pretoria #workhorse #power #instacar #carsofinstagram 📸 @phumemkhungo
By Phume Mkhungo
The Fiat Fullback plays in highly competitive segment that everyone wants a piece of. As I am writing this piece, the launch of the Mercedes Benz X-Class is imminent in South Africa and I woke up to news that Land Rover are considering building a Defender based bakkie that will compete with Mercedes Benz. This is strange as I thought there had been likes of Land Rover 110 pickup before. Anyways, back to the Fiat Fullback which was actually brought by Fiat to the market precisely because they wanted a slice of the bakkie cake.
Instead of starting from scratch, Fiat decided to base their bakkie on the previous generation Triton. This was not a bad call because the Triton is a tried and trusted bakkie. Apart from looks, fiat also decided to borrow the 2,5 D-iD engine from the Triton. In 2017, Fiat also decided to add to the mix the 2.4 D-iD engine with the same power output of 133kW/430Nm as is found in the Triton.
Since the Fullback is not that known in the local bakkie scene judging by the sales, it is worth pointing out that Fiat has invested quite a bit into the Fiat line-up. There are both single and double cab options on offer. The single cabs are only offered in 4×2 whereas the double cabs are available in 4×2 and 4×4. The single cabs run on either a 2.4 petrol (97kW/202Nm) or 2.5 turbo-diesel engine (110kW/324Nm). The double cabs run on diesel engines with vary degrees of power output. The 4×2 SX’s 2.5 turbo-diesel engine produces 110kW/324Nm, the 4×4 LX’s 2.5 turbo-diesel manual engine kicks out 133 kW/430 Nm and the 4×4 LX’s automatic 2.4 turbo-diesel automatic engine fires 133 kW/430 Nm. The latter is the sweet spot in the range in our humble opinion.
Whilst sales may be slow, the Fiat bakkies offer creature comforts which you would necessarily expect to find in bakkies. In the 2.4 petrol, you will find power windows, central power locking, ABS with EBD and a rubberised load bin. It gets better in the 2.5 4×2 SX with standard features like leather seats, cruise control, electric windows, remote keyless entry, steering wheel controls, 17-inch alloy wheels, tow bar, rubberised load bin, two airbags and ABS with EBD on offer. The LX versions add standard features like bi-Xenon headlights, Bluetooth, automatic air-conditioning and a reverse camera to the long list of specifications on offer on the SX versions.
The interior of the Fullback seems a bit dated as it is mainly based on a car that the market is familiar with. That does not mean it is not built to last or doesn’t look good. It does. The generous screen offered as part of the infotainment does try to bring a modern feel to the car. Modernity is relative and not necessary to of mind of a typical bakkie buyer. The cabin is overall roomy with generous legroom for all occupants. The standard rubberised in our test unit was beneficial as it meant the bakkie was ready for duty without extra cost involved. The power delivery in our test 4×4 LX with the 2.4 turbo-diesel 133 kW/430 Nm was good. Take off never felt like a chore and overtaking was hustle free. Two things worth mentioning is that the Fullback offers a decent ride quality from a driver and passenger perspective. The harsh Jozi roads were barely translated into the cabin. The other point is how frugal the 2.4 motor is. Fiat claims 7.8 L/100 km. We found ourselves doing less than that at certain instances and overage were around that claimed figure.
The bakkie segment is highly contested with many good players. In fact more good players are coming for this segment. Fiat’s first attempt is decent and should not be disregarded without a test drive in your shortlist when you are considering investing in the segment.
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