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…

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.