Pick-Up Review: Fiat Professional Fullback LX

Sport is strongly linked to the all-new Pick-up from Fiat Professional. Sure, its name – Fullback – is a giveaway, but also the Italian brand has generated huge publicity among the motorbike fraternity in sponsoring the FIM Motocross MXGP World Championship.

It is not the first time that Fiat has produced a Pick-up. In certain markets across the globe, the Strada compact open-back continues to sell well in left-hand drive form. Meanwhile, North American  manufacturer RAM, the sister brand within the Fiat Chrysler Automobiles Group, exhibited the latest of all-mighty RAM 1500, 2500 and 3500 models at the recent Geneva Motor Show, with a view to upscale its presence in Europe.

In the mainstream 1-tonne (medium) sized marketplace, the Fiat Fullback will compete against well established players such as the Toyota Hilux, Nissan Navara, Isuzu D-Max and Mitsubishi L200. And if the newcomer looks like the L200, well then, top marks for spotting the similarities, as it is actually the Japanese manufacturers’ latest version, with the Fiat logos the only significant difference between the two.

At launch during the Dubai Motor Show, Domenico Gostoli, Fiat Professional President said that the company is making another leap forward with the Fullback, and with it completes its current extensive range of products and services tailored to meet the needs of professional customers. “Robust and reliable, just like its namesake from the field position in rugby, soccer or American football, the Fullback range is ready to take its place in the medium-duty pick-up trucks segment. In short, the new Fullback is ready to take on any challenge, hence its name, the last player in defence and also a defender in attack – which denotes a player who is capable of dealing with any situation,” he said.

Available in Ireland in Double Cab form, its dimensions are as per the Mitsubishi L200, with a payload capacity in excess of one-tonne. For Europe, two power outputs stem from the newly developed 2.4 litre aluminium turbo – 150 and 180hp, combined with a new 6-speed manual gearbox or five-speed automatic transmission with sports mode. What’s important in this sector too is towing capability, and the Fullback would do well in a tug-of-war competition pulling away with 3.1 tonnes gross.

As a roomy 5-seater, two trim levels are on sale, SX and LX and even with the entry-level specification, it is well equipped. The model featured here, now run by Fleet Publications, is the LX, with MOPAR hardtop and towbar. On board, there is a touch screen audio system with Sat-Nav, rear view camera, Bluetooth and USB connections. Keyless starting and auto-climate control system as well as all-leather seats and steering wheel, add to a luxury feel.

Within weeks of acquiring the Fullback, the 4WD system was tried in all forms. Options include 2WD and 4WD High range plus 4WD High and Low with CD (centre differential lock), all operating simply through a dial selector in the centre console. Other beneficial fittings cover the safety side from Trailer Stability Assist, Lane Departure Warning and Hill Hold.

Naturally the Fullback spends the majority of its time on tarmac roads and here, thanks to a well balanced and designed suspension system, life behind the wheel is pleasant. There’s a notable absent of any giddiness, which vehicles of this type tend to suffer from. Power from the 180hp 2.4 litre common-rail is more than sufficient for any requirements.

With the MOPAR factory approved hardtop, a large dry load is guaranteed – an investment worth its value in the Irish climate.

Final words from Domenico as he described the Fullback as the new ‘Work Hero’; “Created for the real need of business customers, but capable, if needed, of also meeting the needs of daily life with a roomy comfortable cabin.”

Spec Check 

Make/Model Fiat Professional Fullback LX
Cab type Double Cab Pick-up 4WD
Engine 2.4 litre aluminium direct-injection diesel Euro 6
Power 180hp @ 3,500 rpm
Torque 430Nm @ 2,500 rpm
Max speed 111 mph/170 kp/h
Transmission 6-speed manual
Fuel tank 75 litres
Dimensions Length: 5,285 mm

Width: 1,815 mm

Height: 1,780 mm

Overhang: Front 865mm / Rear: 1,420mm

Cargo bed length: 1.52m

Kerb weight 1,860kg
GVW 2,910kg
Payload 1,000kg
Trailer weight 3,100kg (braked)   750kg (non-braked)
Suspension Front: Wishbone/coil springs

Rear: Rigid, leaf springs

Brakes 16” Ventilated Disc
Turning circle 5.9m Radius
Extras MOPAR hardtop with side pop-up windows – Towbar