Fiat Fullback LX

Auto

Fiat Fullback Cross, 2017, front
Fiat Fullback Cross, 2017, front, off road
Fiat Fullback Cross, 2017, side, off road
Fiat Fullback Cross, 2017, side, static
Fiat Fullback Cross, 2017, rear, off road
Fiat Fullback Cross, 2017, interior, auto

A FULLBACK that's tough with a touch of class sound's like something a football manager would dream of - but this one is made by Fiat and is a hoot to drive.

It's a pick-up truck that simply can't be ignored thanks to in-your-face alloy wheels and aggressive styling which is catnip to neighbours and passers-by.

Leave extra time for a journey as someone will always want to waylay you for more information about the beast.

The ‘made by Fiat' tag needs qualification though as the Italian motor manufacturer's off-roader is based on Mitsubishi's best-selling L200 pick-up. Model sharing is becoming the way of the modern motoring world - in this case saving Fiat millions of pounds in development costs.

So, making use of Mitsubishi's considerable expertise, the Thailand-built Fullback gives Fiat a top player in a sector of the market rapidly expanding due in no small part to company car drivers looking to take advantage of tax regulations that make a pick-up option desirable.

While the L200 is the foundation for the Fullback, Fiat tweak it with cosmetic design changes and upmarket bits and bobs that gives it a fresh feel.

Looking at the uncompromising exterior, it would be no surprise to find a cabin focused more on practicality than comfort.

But the Fullback is a fully paid-up member of the lifestyle trucks brigade - so the interior of the double cab is pretty plush. It is also spacious and airy with comfortable seats and plenty of leg and head room for all. Cubby holes are surprisingly limited but there is a storage compartment between the front seats as well as door bins and a glovebox.

The great thing about driving a pick-up is the rest of the motoring world tends to give you plenty of respect and room to manoeuvre. That coupled with a go-anywhere mentality, brings a touch of adventure to the most mundane of journeys.

The 2.4-litre engine, linked to a five-speed automatic gearbox, is smoother and more refined than you expect and also pleasingly easy on the fuel gauge.

There are two power options, 148bhp or the 178bhp I drove which delivers around 35mpg and emissions of 196g/km. This four-cylinder unit is more than capable of handling the hard-top flat bed's considerable load capacity - which is a top attraction for families with bikes or surf boards to transport.

While the steering isn't the sharpest in the world, it is well-weighted and at the end of the day this is a pick-up, not a sports car.

Corners are negotiated without fuss, while the Super Select 4x4 system gives plenty of grip with the choice of two or four-wheel drive on tarmac plus an off-road option.

The pain of parking such a big vehicle is removed thanks to a rear view camera and parking sensors.

You would expect this beast to take the many humps and hollows littering our roads in its stride and this the Fullback does indeed do, although the ride can be a bit bouncy.

A price-tag just north of £30,000 is competitive, especially as the LX model includes a raft of goodies such as a 7.1-inch colour touchscreen - offering access to sat nav and DAB radio - as well as air con, dual-zone climate control and automatic lights and wipers.

FAST FACTS

Fiat Fullback LX Auto

Price:£30,943

Mechanical:178bhp, 2,442cc, 4cyl diesel engine driving four wheels via automatic gearbox

Max Speed:110mph

0-62mph:9.8 seconds

Combined MPG:37.7

Insurance Group: 13

C02 emissions:196g/km

Bik rating:37%

Warranty:3yrs/120,000 miles

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