By Patrick James on 2018-07-14 - The author has been a motoring writer for more than 16 years. Formerly motoring editor at the Coventry Telegraph, he now produces motoring copy, on new car launches and road tests on a freelance basis.
Fiat Fullback Cross
FIAT is rightly famed for its small cars - think of the excellent Fiat 500.
So to see a double-cab pick-up truck sporting the Fiat badge came as a bit of a shock to many people.
Maybe it should not be, because like the sporty Spider, this huge pick-up is based on collaboration with another manufacturer.
While the Spider is based on the Mazda MX-5, the Fullback's DNA is firmly with Mitsubishi and the L200 range a tried and tested winner in this market.
That should also make this a winner with the combination of car-like refinement and standard equipment. There is impressive load capacity, towing capability and a four wheel drive system with rear differential lock which means it can go virtually anywhere.
It does look different however. As ever with the these types of vehicle, styling is now almost as important as off-road capability with people choosing them as lifestyle options.
It's easy to see why. This Fullback Cross offers all the creature comforts of a family saloon, well, nearly all, as well the the legendary off-road expertise of the Japanese firm.
It is definitely eye-catching, gone are the huge barges of yesteryears to be replaced with smart looking styling vehicles, the only real giveaway as to the vehicle's capability is the high ground clearance and clearance between wheel and wheel arch.
The Cross looks sporty and dynamic with a textured black sport bar, front grille with black ingots, a satin silver skid plate, rear view mirrors, handles and 17-inch wheels with matt black finish, bi-xenon headlights and LED daytime driving lights.
This unmistakable look goes hand-in-hand with a lavish standard equipment list including automatic climate control, cruise control, rear parking sensors and camera, electrically adjustable heated leather seats. The centrepiece of the dash is the seven-inch touchscreen which controls navigation, infotainment and Bluettooth connectivity.
On and offroad it has impressive characteristics. Powered by a 2.4-litre 180bhp turbocharged diesel which offers plenty of pace when required and bags of torque. There is the choice of a five-speed automatic or a six-speed manual gearbox with the former available on this vehicle.
On the road it is capable of reaching 60mph in a brisk 11.8 seconds and feel comfortable and stable with responsive steering with an excellent turning circle, while engine noise is pretty muted. There is however, noticeable road and wind noise.
Offroad there are four different driving modest It switches from two-wheel drive mode, ideal for fuel-saving, to all-wheel drive, with a Torsen central differential that automatically shares the torque between the front and rear axles in response to traction needs.
The central differential can be locked for a 50/50 front-rear axle split for off-road use. The system also offers the option of low-range gears and, for the most extreme terrains, mechanical locking of the rear differential. Economy also looks impressive with a claimed 37.7mpg.
The Cross is available in the double cab configuration with a length of 5.28 metres. The wheelbase is three metres. The open bed to the ear can accommodate all sorts of shapes including a full-sized pallet, accessed by the rear drop tailgate, transport up to 1.1 tonnes and tow 3,100kg. Various lashing points mean cargo can be strapped in securely.
Safety features are also impressive with seven airbags, electronic stability control and trailer stability assist for those who will be busy towing and the important, but sometimes annoying lane departure warning. Which you can of course turn off.
Fiat Fullback Cross 4x4
Price: £27,895 ex VAT
Mechanical: 180bhp, 2,442cc, 4cyl diesel engine driving four wheels via 5-speed automatic gearbox
Max Speed: 110mph
0-62mph: 11.8 seconds
Combined MPG: 37.7
Insurance Group: 13
C02 emissions: 196g/km
Bik rating: 31%
Warranty: 5yrs/75,000 miles
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