Road-train workhorse is well-equipped

Road-train workhorse is well-equipped

A FIAT pick-up? No, never.

Fiat is the home of good-value family cars, cute city cars and zesty convertibles. Honestly, it is true, Fiat have produced a pick-up.

Well, sort of.

The new Fiat Fullback is a re-worked Mitsubishi L200 which means it is about as dependable as night following day. Admittedly, it gets its own grille design and tweaked headlight lamps, but there isn’t much else to tell it apart.

Like the Mitsubishi, the Fullback is a full-fat off -roader with a crew cab which seats five, and all versions are capable of wading through mud, snow or sand without breaking a sweat.

As you might expect, things aren’t quite so impressive on-road, with the Fullback’s ladder chassis frame and leaf springs producing a bumpy ride if unladen. But, being a pick-up, it is likely to be carrying a load in the back, so this will dampen it down. The load bay is a good size – 1850mm long and 1470mm wide – and the maximum payload is 1035kg across the range.

The towing ability is not class-leading but still a very respectful 3.1 tonnes with the 180ps engine. Not only does the Fiat look like being a great workhorse, it is well equipped; with Bluetooth connectivity, DAB radio, side steps and many airbags, all as standard.

My review vehicle was the range-topping LX Automatic which meant it was a very comfortable place to be and if I were a

builder, I am sure I would be very content to sip my Earl Grey tea while sitting on the comfy leather-upholstered heated seats and listening to the six-speaker sound system, or planning my route to the builders’ yard on the seven-inch touch-screen sat nav.

Quite how this vehicle, or any plush pick-up, will look after 10 years of abuse I am not sure. That said, the Fullback is backed by Fiat’s extensive professional dealer network and really is ideal for any builder, forestry worker or site worker who wants a go-anywhere works vehicle.

However, given the fact it is virtually identical – and built in the same factory – as the Mitsubishi L200, the choice between the two will boil down to whichever you can get the best deal on or is the nearest.

To drive? Well, there is no escaping its size. I had a load-bay hard-top fitted, which, on such a large vehicle, made me feel I was driving a road-train at times.

The 2.4 litre Mitsubishi engine is very well-suited and provides an excellent surge through all gears and is very content to stay in high gears without a murmur.

I drove along the A303 to Andover, and although it was a little noisy at the legal speed limit, it was by no means tiring.

Parking problem

Parking can be a problem, especially in supermarket car parks or city centre roadside bays originally designed in the 1960s. The Fullback is more than fi ve metres long and almost two metres wide. This is not a problem exclusive to the Fiat, merely a consequence of the class of vehicle. A reversing camera is standard across the range, but there are no parking sensors, and rear visibility is awkward owing to the huge size of the load bay.

All in all, a very capable vehicle with the added bonus that you can watch people looking at the badgeand mouthing, ‘does that say: “Fiat?”

 

Car Tested: Fiat Fullback LX Auto

Price From: £26,600 (Tested £30,950)

Economy/C02: 37: mpg/196g/km

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