Following the world reveal at the 2015 Dubai International Motor Show, the newest addition to Fiat’s Professional range has been launched in South Africa. Reuben van Niekerk reports
Backed by over a hundred years of history and an excellent reputation in the global LCV industry, the Fiat Professional brand has taken a step forward with the launch in South Africa of a bakkie dubbed the Fullback.
With over 80% of light commercial sales in the local market held by bakkies, the Italian brand is hoping that the new model will become a strong contender, citing robust construction and reliability among the derivative’s attributes.
Though directed at the business segment through an understanding of needs of professional customers, the Fullback is also perfectly capable of being used for leisure activities.
The double-cab derivative is equipped with a 2,5-litre turbocharged diesel engine that produces 110kW when fitted to two-wheel-drive models and 131kW in 4×4 models. A single cab, two-wheel-drive, workhorse variant is equipped with a normally aspirated 2,4-litre petrol engine that delivers 97kW. All models are fitted with five-speed manual gearboxes.
In the 4×4 model, the drivetrain is adjusted by an old school, second gear lever, while a button on the centre console engages as diff lock.
Off-road credentials include 205mm ground clearance, a 30-degree approach angle and a 22-degree departure angle on the 4×4 model and a 200mm ground clearance on the 4×2 model.
Suspension is a wishbone setup in front with leaf springs handling the load at the rear. Braking is via discs at the front wheels and drums at the rear.
Talking about handling the load, the Fullback double-cab will carry just over ton in its 1 400mm square load box. The load box of the single cab is a further 825mm longer, measuring 2 265mm.
The latter derivative features electrically powered windows, manual air-conditioning, central locking, 16-inch steel wheels, fabric seats, ABS with EBD and a rubberised load bin.
The double cab 2,5 diesel 4×2 LX comes standard with a rear diff lock, leather trim, cruise control, manual air conditioner, driver and passenger airbags, ABS with EBD, keyless entry, audio controls on the steering wheel, 17-inch alloy wheels, a tow bar and a rubberised load bin.
The flagship double cab 2.5 diesel 4×4 adds bi-xenon headlights, Bluetooth and USB, dual zone climate control and a rear view camera to the list of standard specifications.
There’s a roomy feel to the Fullback’s cab, but there’s a slightly dated feel to some of the fixtures and fittings. Similarly, the ride is very much what one would expect from a bakkie. While not a bad thing, sales topping competitors have done their utmost to engineer the bakkie feel out of latest models.
Single Cab 2,4 Petrol 97kW 4×2 R232 900
Double Cab 2,5 Diesel 131kW 4×2 R402 900
Double Cab 2,5 Diesel 131kW 4×4 R468 900