• Is the new Fiat Fullback Cross Truck Hinting at the Next Ram Dakota for the USA? [Op/Ed]

    Recently unveiled at the 2017 Geneva Motor Show, the Fiat Fullback Cross is a beefed up version of the Mitsubishi L200-based pickup truck. This, the newest version of the Fullback, is aimed at the active lifestyle-type, hence the “Cross” in the name and extra macho updates. The Fiat Fullback Cross comes with a 2.4-litre common rail turbodiesel engine and develops 180hp that makes about 317 lb-ft of torque. You have two transmissions choices, a six-speed manual or a five-speed automatic.

    The Fiat Fullback Cross comes with an electronic selector allowing you to trigger all-wheel drive (AWD). There are four modes you can select from. There is a central differential, that works with three electronically controlled clutch modes which manage torque to the wheels.

    Why is it a potential basis for a Ram Dakota? Unlike the car-based Fiat Strada, this is the only other vehicle in the FCA arsenal that can go toe-to-toe against midsize trucks from Toyota, Nissan, Honda, GM and, soon Ford. The Mitsubishi-sourced turbo-diesel makes more torque than the V6 engines used in many North American-sold mid-sized trucks, but well under the baby Duramax diesel used in the GM twins.

    The Fiat Fullback Cross is based on a popular truck platform that’s well regarded in Europe and Asia. The bottom line is, this is the closest FCA can get to producing a mid-sized pickup truck with minimal investment. I would suspect, if they make a go of it, FCA will test-fit their: Pentastar V6, 3-liter V6 turbo-diesel, and turbocharged I4 in this rig too.

    According to FCA, “The Fullback Cross features a wealth of standard safety equipment including ABS with EBD, TSA (Trailer Stability Assist – a system which aids stability during towing), LDW (Lane Departure Warning), seven airbags and cruise control. Bi-Xenon headlights, front fog lights and LED daytime running lights are also included as standard”

    They also come with a leather interior option, a 7-inch touchscreen with DAB CD/MP3 Radio, dual zone climate control, heated front seats, Bluetooth and a USB port. It looks like the unusual flying buttress is a type of tie-down component to boot. They call it a textured black sport bar.

    Is this wishful thinking? The midsize truck market is doing very well in the USA and it’s about to get larger with Ford’s Ranger and the Jeep Wrangler pickup truck. If FCA can (heavily) revise the exterior design and make it affordable, they may have something competitive to sell. We’ll see.

    Speaking of midsize pickup trucks…

    Nathan Adlen
    Nathan Adlen
    Easily amused by anything with four wheels, Nathan Adlen reviews vehicles from the cheapest to the most prestigious. Wrecking yards, dealer lots, garages, racetracks, professional automotive testing and automotive journalism - Nathan has experienced a wide range of the automotive spectrum. Brought up in the California car culture and educated in theater, childhood education, film, journalism and history, Nathan now lives with his family in Denver, CO. His words, good humor and video are enjoyed worldwide.

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    28 thoughts on “Is the new Fiat Fullback Cross Truck Hinting at the Next Ram Dakota for the USA? [Op/Ed]

    1. I really hope RAM brings back the Dakota nameplate through this platform! But as you said with a heavy redesign along with competitive power, payload, and towing.

    2. It looks like it has useable bedlength and a great approach angle and ground clearance.

      The “sport bar” is beyond ugly, impractical, blind-spot-producing, seems like a tacky GM-type add-on, and would fade and then look even worse, but I don’t see Ram carrying that element over.

      I’m almost 100% certain that the Mitsu diesel wouldn’t meet crazy US emissions standards, so I agree with Nathan that we’d be looking at existing Pentastars being used (particularly since FCA doesn’t have any budget for engine development right now).

      I also predict that the advanced AWD system the Euro version has will fail to make it stateside as it is expensive and will be the first victim of making a Ram version cost-competitive against now numerous segment rivals.

      1. Totally agree about the sport bar. Such an ugly thing. I really dislike how some of the GM offroad trucks include it.

      2. @RNUOVR
        It is more the Asian versions. Home market for these is Asia as against Europe.
        European versions of Asian Pickups can be not as exotic

    3. The Mitsubishi Triton/L200 is smaller (especially the bed and cabin width) than the current Toyots Tacoma, Honda Ridgeline, and Ford Ranger.

      1. The Triton is within an inch in length and width of the last Ranger sold in the U.S., so it would appeal to those of us who think the current mid-size trucks such as the Colorado are too big.

        2011 Ranger extended cab dimensions: 203.6” L x 69.4” W x 67.7” H

        2016 Mitsubishi Triton extended cab dimensions: 204.5” L x 70.3” W x 69.9” H

      1. It already is! The Ram 1200, however, is sold in the Middle East. It would look better with the cross-hair grille, in my opinion.

    4. I wonder who will be first to market with a barn-door (split down the middle) tailgate? RAM or Honda? Both have teased prototypes, and RAM has a patent, IIRC.

    5. I hope they build this with AoA/AoD and ground clearance numbers that exceed Tacoma, make it look tougher than nails, offer a 5- or 6-speed manual, class-leading payload/towing, and build it all on a unibody platform. That will confuse the ever-living daylights out of the “real truck” crowd!

    6. The market is so primed for a truck like this you would have a lesser wait time ordering a Raptor or Tacoma Pro. Expect to wait a year for delivery after your order.

    7. It’s a fairly handsome truck right now, but would look better with a “Cross hair” grill pasted on its face. Just as long as they stay away from that afterbirth sucker looking face as on the Power Wagon. That grill is downright Uggggly! Every time I see it I get an urge to vomit.
      I did like the look of the tradesman with the “Power wagon equipment package” but haven’t seen much about it since you mentioned it. I would like to know more.

      1. I have found multiple just searching dealer websites. No one really advertises them. Go to a dealer website, set the search for 2500, gas, 4×4, tradesman trim, then go through the pictures of each one. When you find one that has a shot of the dash showing the switches for the sway bar disconnect button by the 4×4 selector, that’s a Tradesman Power Wagon. It’s a cumbersome method, they aren’t super common, but they’re not THAT hard to find either .

    8. I really hope FCA brings the Fullback to America. The Triton/Fullback/Ram 1200 is a true pickup truck with body-on-frame construction and a two-speed transfer case with low range for serious off-roading. The cost of modifying it for the American market should be modest compared to developing a new platform from scratch. The truck could be produced in Nissan’s American truck factory to avoid the Chicken Tax since Mitsubishi is now part of Nissan.

    9. How about moving the rear axle back 12 inches so the rear seat passengers don’t end up with a differential up their poop shute when the truck goes over a big bump.
      This could be a great looking truck if it looked more balanced in the back. Also, as mentioned already, ditch that fugly bed bar.

    10. Lift it 3 inches, move the rear tires about 6 inches toward the rear bumper, put claws on the back for securing cargo instead of that wierd flying buttress, and a tough looking front grill. Then you got something.

    11. Is this a front wheel drive truck Nathan? You mentioned a electronic trigger to go to awd. Not sure what that means? Can you elaborate on this.

        1. Thxs Robert Ryan , but I still don’t understand “electronic trigger” bit. Does thing have a transfer case being 4wd? Looking at this and being small it don’t seem like a vehicle that would have transfer case.

            1. It has a transfer case and electronically locking rear diff in the higher end models. At least that is how it comes in Australia (where it is sold as the Triton) and I would think how it would be sold in North America if FCA decide to bring it there. From Nathan’s article it seems that the European version has a different drivetrain.

    12. Ram D-50 much? For those not old enough, Mitsubishi built a fine compact truck for Chrysler back in the days of big hair and acid wash jeans. With Nissan taking the reigns for Mitsu, long term future of both the L200 and NP300 trucks is probably questionable.

    13. In either 83 or 84 the Mitsubishi Mighty Max was 4×4 of the year. These were simple yet bullet proof trucks. Mitsubishi has gotten so far away from where they used to be…

    14. If this is the best they can do FCA really are in trouble. They need to create desirable product that is original, not derivative badge engineering like this. First they rebadge a Dodge Journey as a Fiat Freemont and now this. Badge engineering failed in the 1980’s and will fail again now.

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