ITS MACHO and most importantly the Fiat Fullback 4x4 Double Cab, has the sense of solidity and good build quality double cab you can find in South Africa.
Fully equipped with attractive 17-inch dual-tone alloy wheels and at the front there are bi-xenon headlamps, LEDs and a different grille treatment to what you’d get on other brand, this was worth taking for a test drive.
The driving position of the Fiat Fullback is good, with the steering wheel offering generous rake and reach adjustment, while the driver’s seat features electric adjustment (including height) – considering my body feature- neither of these items can be taken for granted in this segment.
We took it to work by dropping off garbage and unwanted items at the dumping place, and boy it hogged headlines as it clogged 100km/h along the hustling and bustling Louis Botha Avenue.
It claimed to offer a payload rating of 1 000 kg on its 1 520 mm-long loadbed (protective coating applied as standard). It can also tow an up-to-3 000 kg (braked) trailer but the load we had was relatively as easy to go type.
This flagship Fullback is powered by Mitsubishi’s proven 2.5-litre turbodiesel engine that delivers a strong 131 kW and 400 Nm of torque.
Our Brown colour tested unit, also featured a number of the company’s approved Mopar-branded accessories, including a nudge bar, roll/sports bar, rear-step and side steps. Riding on rugged-looking Mickey Thompson Baja STZ tyres, the Fullback got a thumbs-up from nay-sayers in terms of its appearance and roughness.
The Fullback’s cabin is of traditional bakkie in some respects, but there are a number of modern conveniences that add to its lifestyle appeal and general comfort levels. Digital climate control is standard, as are cruise control and the previously-mentioned electrically adjustable driver seat. You also get leather upholstery, which is really a must for a vehicle that’s probably going to be treated a fair degree rougher than most family cars.
Optional is info-tainment system that helps with smart graphics and satellite navigation. As standard you still get a rear-view camera display as well as USB and Bluetooth support, so its’ really up to you to figure out how much having on-board navigation is worth when purchasing your Fullback.
It must pointed out that it has or will get competition from the likes of Izusu, Ford Ranger and of course, Benz X Class that introduced its own this year.
Yep, the only snag it lacks a comprehensive safety package- doesn’t offer an electronic stability system as standard, in addition to its ABS- and EBD-equipped brakes. Still on the subject of safety… it is somewhat disappointing to note the inclusion of only 2 airbags (driver and front passenger) in this model.
But the Fullback, as a product, found it rather more impressive than you’d probably anticipated.
The ground clearance (claimed 205 mm) is nowhere near class best, but the approach and departure angles are good.
The torque delivery is impressive, in most off-road conditions (in 4L) it happily just canters along with almost zero throttle input. If you’re not in 4L, then it may be a bit trickier to apply the right amount of throttle for the prevailing conditions given some turbolag prior to around 1 500 rpm.
A diff-lock button is located on the facia, ahead of the gearlever, to further assist with traction in challenging conditions.
You can still buy one it’s still available although it’s a 2016/17 edition.
The Fiat Fullback Double-Cab 4×4 retails for
R528 900 VAT incl.
It comes backed by Fiat’s 3-year/100 000 km warranty and an impressive 5-year/100 000 km service plan.
Performance 1-10 (6)
Diesel 1-10 (5)