It's Time for Fiat to Offer a Lifestyle Pickup?

2012_Fiat-Strada II
The timing could be perfect for a small and efficient pickup truck, and some are looking to Chrysler to make it happen. We reported several months ago that the Fiat Strada would be an interesting choice if Chrysler wanted to fill the void left by the Dodge Dakota, especially since so much has changed in the small-truck market.

Larry Vellequette, the Automotive News journalist who knows Chrysler better than anyone, seems to be suggesting the same thing in his latest blog (subscription may be required to view). He points out that this little car-based trucklet could be exactly what either Jeep or Ram could use to satisfy all those lost sales that Ram (or Jeep) buyers have been waiting for.

Vellequette also likes the fact that a front-wheel-drive compact vehicle that still gets good fuel economy, whether it's gas or diesel, has a place for many buyers. "If Chrysler were to drop its 160-horsepower, turbocharged 1.4-liter in there and maybe a little Jeep powertrain magic, it would make the Strada a very interesting little vehicle in a segment where it would stand almost alone," he wrote.

We're right there with you, Larry, but it's going to have to be something much better than the Dodge Rampage. Keep sounding the alarm.

Rampage II

2012 fiat-strada 3 II


That's all the pickup a 16-21 year old should be allowed to drive unless they are on the farm or in the military.

Wouldn't the so called chicken tax would have to be repealed in order to bring these in?

LOL good luck selling that.

I'd have to wait to see how it did in three-year reliability tests, and I suspect many other potential buyers would do the same. That would hurt Fiat's chances in the US market. Maybe if the 500s turn out to be reliable, it would rebuild the brand's rep.

Now a small diesel PU from Jeep would be another matter. Lifestyle? Frankly, many of us with rural land need some combo of good MPG and ruggedness and with a bed big enough for 500 lb loads. Then we'd reserve our US-built "big dogs" for the rare times we trailer big equipment or run a lot of bulk goods.

So as much as I like the styling of this little Fiat, it looks like nothing rugged that could do any work.

@Big Bob, what makes a 22 year old so different?


@Big Bob,

My 17 year old son has a 2003 Dodge Ram 1500 4x4 Hemi,my daughter had a 98 Ram 1500 ,until she(with alot of help from myself) bought her 2011 Challenger R/T (were looking at the 6 cyl SXT but $1200 more bought he Hemi R/T),why should they have owned a small death trap of a truck ??

What are you talking about..When I grew up in the late 70's early 80's I was 16 and owned a 1969 Plymouth GTX with a 440,3.23 sure-grip, the track it would run 12.60's all day long and it was bone stock engine besides duel point distributer,re worked carb,275 60 series rear tires and traction bars (little good traction bars did still spun like crazy.

Many of my 16 year old friends owned more powerful vehicles than 99% of cars/trucks that are out today.My best buddy owned a 428 Mustang,another had a LS-5 454 Chevelle then a Stage 1 455 Buick,a few had 340 Darts,383 Charger ,440 Charger and my uncles untouchable 426 Hemi Challenger that was spinning throughout the 1/4 mile he went sideways shifting from 2nd gear into 3rd !! ..they all blow the doors off any new truck today and most new cars..Even the full size Park Lane's Galaxies,Buicks,New Yorker's,Newports,Polara's,Fury's with big blocks ran in the 13's in the 1/4 when they could grab enough traction !!

My uncle owned a Chrysler-Plymouth dealer,so many of my friends bough used vehicles from him and worked for him,hence the large amount of Chrysler products we had..My cousin had a new Volare with a 318 4bbl,no spark control computer(lean burn) that would run low 15's with a 318 !! Non hi po low compression,minus the smogger computer and smog carb in 78 !!

Sure a few guys crashed them,but a buddy died in a 1966 Volvo that was a turd you know 25 sec 0-60,it doesnt matter how big,how powerful,how fast or slow a vehicle is many young people will still crash as well many middle aged people and old people !! When I was a kid I hated small cars,I even liked actually love big Imperials,Caddy's and Lincolns..though Imperials out ran and out handled the Caddy and Linc..I drove them all working at the lot in those days..funny when I was 16 my job was to wash/change oil/then tune-ups ect..but ended up going for a 20 minute ride in just about every car,it was good working for my Uncle back then.

I guess I got carried away but my question stands..Why do you think young people have to have a small vehicle ?? They are better off driving a full size truck as the full size gets the same or better mpg then small compact trucks,take in point the F-150 is better on gas than the Ranger..

Is this a joke? Bring on the next Real Dakota. Or even the Chevy Colorado.. I'd even take the Tacoma over this pile.

That's all the pickup a 16-21 year old should be allowed to drive unless they are on the farm or in the military.

@bogbob, whatever dude. Who are you to say what people should and shouldn't drive? The Govt.??? Oh ya, I forgot you're a GMC (Govt.MoCo) Fanboi.

BigBob, who are you to tell people what to drive? You must love Obama. The GMC messiah.

You must love Obama. The GMC messiah.

-Precisely why I'll NEVER own anything with a GMC badge. The Sierra, Yukon and the rest might as well have never been born as far as I'm concerned. What a pathetic brand.

Subaru tried this with the outback, didn't sell worth crap and it was more substantial then this thing.

A diesel would be a good fuel efficient option. Would need more seating space though. I guess even an extended cab would be enough for many.

I would rather have a Jeep pickup . . . all of their concepts are amazing, and yet they have been talking about making one for years.......

It looks dumb but I like the diesel engine .
The brownish/silver looking one in the picture doesn't look that bad...

Sorry if you want to make something like this its going to have to be like the sweet rampage concept they previewed in 2006. This isn't going to do anything. If this is the best they can put together they'd be better off buying the Ridgeline from Honda and just updating that.

@Donald- the Baja was just at the wrong time- had it rolled out when gas topped $4, it would have sold like hot-cakes.
Why shouldn't teenager be allowed to drive anything but a 4-cylinder with 2 seats? Because they're f'n stupid, thats why. @Cory- the smaller the vehicle the kid is driving, the less likely they'll be to get over-confident.
@Farmville- look up some of the off-road testing on the strada- even with just FWD, it goes some surprising places. Also, it shares its basic structure with the Doblo commercial van, which has a 2200# payload. So, it could well be made to carry 2 people and 500# of stuff w/o breaking a sweat.

A truck like this would have a very limited market. The fact that it is front-wheel-drive is a big turnoff to me; add in to that the questionable reliability of Fiat products, and you're not apt to see many of these things on the road. The price would need to be dirt cheap to entice buyers, but even that's an iffy proposition.

The regular cab 4cyl 5 speed mini trucks from several years ago were perfect "first trucks" for many teens. They were cheap to buy and insure,safe and reliable, they got good fuel economy, they weren't powerful enough to get a kid in too much trouble, and would only comfortably seat two or three. Studies show that the more of their friends that teens put in their vehicle with them, the more reckless they will drive. I think a vehicle like this makes lots of sense.

I think it would sell better if they put a Ram emblem on it and call it the D50 like they did with the rebadge Mitsubushi truck they had in the early 80's. Not every body needs a stump puller, just something to haul a few things in now and then

@johnny doe. If that thing had a bowtie in the grille you would be bragging on it and saying how chebby was starting a new market and Ford loses again. What a Dumb@SS!

sigh ... I sure do miss the Dakota.

@ KW Whats you're problem, even if this was a chevy I would say the same damn thing. Talk bout trolls I never even said anything bad and you're up my A@# like no tomorrow grow up.

This isn't that bad looking, but I think being only fwd will make poeple think of something else to buy. It does look carish but over all it probably would do its job just fine. It will probably cost alot so most people will just buy a fullsize truck which was why I said LOL good luck selling that.

I'm inclined to side with Big Bob. Cory must of got lucky if only one of his friends died in a car with everyone he knew was in a muscle car. Of course the only death turned out to be in a Volvo. A while a go there was a study released that said young adults are "more at risk" in full sized pickups than in cars. I'd have to say that same logic extends to performance cars.
Rvbsmart made a good point - more teens in a car equals more trouble. I agree with Mr Knowitall as well. You put a young male in something with power, and that makes him more likely to trip over his testosterone filled testicles.

Back on topic - why won't this sell or not be able to do a day's work? We could be looking at the next Dakota. They've already said it would be unibody. Why turn the Grand Caravan into a truck (persistent rumour) when this already exists.
I'm sure the chicken tax could easily be side stepped. Build it in Mexico with the 500.

@ Lou I think the Grand Caravan would work better as a truck since it has the smaller dimensions, handling, and fuel economy of a minivan (a plus for a mid sized truck). While still being able to have a 1500lb payload capacity and have a bed wide enough for 4x8 sheets of plywood to lay flat (albeit they would either require a folding midgate to fit in the bed completely, or else would need to hang out on the gate. I think a minivan would work well as a fuel efficient truck (ish) vehicle that can move people and cargo particularly well, and can also tow a moderate (maybe 5kish pounds?) load. I don't get the micro truck. I can only see this useful for people who have awkward shaped stuff to throw in a bed that isn't particularly heavy.

I see the minivan with the bed SUT like truck being able to find a solid place in the trucking universe if they can get enough fuel economy out of it. Half ton payload capacities while getting a true combined 20mpg would be nothing to sneeze at. That beats all current half tons by a good 4-5 mpgs. I think they would sell.

@Monty Montgomery They do not have a market in Australia as well. Proton tried it with it's Subaru clone., but it's very poor crash performance had it out of the market very quickly.

I don't think a 16 year old should be driving PERIOD!!!

People said the Transit Connect wouldn't work here as well. The regular cab version of this mini pickup is basically like a Connect with the rear roof removed. Small cargo vehicles do have their place, and there ARE guys out there that don't need to compensate...

@ johnny doe, you don't have to say anything, we all know you and what you are.

for all teenage haters out. iam 33yrs old now my first car was a dodge shadow. what a p.o.s. it was i got tee bone if i had someone in the back set would have got killed. now i will put my son and daughter in a full size truck. not some little ass p.o.s. by the way the one that hit me was older man. its all in the way you teach them. i have had hot rods big ass trucks.
my truck i have now is a ram 4door long bed. at least i now my kids are save and live to drive there 25ft. truck just to piss off aholes like you

@ phillyguy

I completely agree,

As much as it hurts to say it, a dodge grand caravan would meet 99% of my needs. It has all the cargo and towing capacity that ill ever need.

But if the 13 ram with the 3.6 8 speed combo can hit 17~23 in 4x4 trim thats what i'll be getting

The above for Ram
This one for Jeep (check link)

The Regular Cab looks the best. The two "extended" cabs should have four doors, especially the largest cab.

Those plastic non-bumpers and the wheel well arches would have to go. Like the size, as it would fit nicely down narrow trials and get good mpg. A diesel would be a game changer.
Price would be everything (ie made in Sir-Lanka for 10k?)
I'm with other folks; wouldn't want to be T-boned in this.

Who's lifestyle?
Most truck owners lifestyles include driving to work ie:30+mpg
Towing a boat or camper on weekends ie:4X4, tow #5,000
with the family ie: 4 door
Thats my lifestyle anyway.

They should call it an "Alternative Lifestyle" truck.

I honestly think when teens drive, who they drive/ride with and what they drive should be left to their parents. I got my license at 16 and a half, my mom wanted for me to wait till i was 17 but grandpa was watching us for 2 weeks and I was already a better driver so I got my license, and driving around my 5 siblings around in the family suburban was worse than driving any of my friends in terms of distractions, even with just the highschool ones. Thats why i disagree with states saying that teen drivers cannot have friends in the car but can have siblings. the worse drive i ever took was when i was in college and drining home from a ski trip in utah with my brother and two of our friends and my dad, except for my dad we where all college studdents. my dad just watched a Battlestar galctica Marathon on his iphone all the way to pheonix , with my brother and his friend hitting me yelling and carrieing on in a blizard.
I have always primarily driven big trucks, my parents 99 suburban my 05 suburban that i purchased when i was 19 and my Ford Raptor that i purchased when i was 22. alot of kids cannot get big trucks to go really fast like they can to a civic etc when they know that the truck cannot turn quickly and is slow on the get up they will not be as likly to race. (i did race a 4.8 gmt800 tahoe with the 5.7 gmt 400 suburban.)


The Subaru Baja didn't sell well because Subaru never marketed it at all. It was a leftover project from their tie-up with GM. GM asked Subaru to make a truck and the Baja is what they came up with. GM said it was too small, but liked the overall idea so GM came up with the Avalanche.

Subaru took the reigns and decided to build it on their own as a Subaru. They were scared of cannibalizing Outback and Forester sales, so it was kind of just left on its own.

Years after it went out of production, demand for them is quite high and the resale value is insane.

Why shouldn't teenager be allowed to drive anything but a 4-cylinder with 2 seats? Because they're f'n stupid, thats why. @Cory- the smaller the vehicle the kid is driving, the less likely they'll be to get over-confident.

-Then why bother selling cars to anyone under 22? Why not just raise the age of Everything including the driving age itself to 22 while you're at it. Let's take it a step further, if you're not responsible enough to drive, you're not responsible enough to go off to war and die for your country then. Hell, why not just steal a kids entire youth? They might not be responsible enough to live it.. This is completely ridiculous. My friends and I all had Mustangs, Camaro's, Chevelle's and Trucks growing up. We were every bit as responsible as any adult. People can get crazy with their little rice burners. At least in a little larger car or a big truck with a frame, you just might live if someone smashes into you. Moron's with cell phones texting while driving are far more of a danger. I agree with the other train of thought. Who are you? The Big Brother Government?? Mind your own business.

Precisely why I'll NEVER own anything with a GMC badge.

-Exactly. Me neither. My truck will say Ford, Chevy or Dodge on it forever more. I'm not fond of anything that remotely implies the word Government.

They should call it an "Alternative Lifestyle" truck.

-Back on topic, I agree. This 'truck' does nothing for me.

An El Camino/Ranchero/Rampage type of rig would suit me just fine for the majority of the loads I intend to carry. Yes, my big F-150 does the job and I certainly couldn't beat the price, but it's still far bigger than I wanted and gets terrible gas mileage (I'm just glad it has two tanks.)

I wanted the Rampage--but couldn't afford it at the time. When I was ready to buy an El Camino--well, guess what wasn't available? Ranchero? Last one I saw was based on the '70s Torino and while it looked beautiful, I hated the platform--then again, I'm still no fan of Ford's reliability and even now Ford doesn't seem to want to follow up on a 20-year-old safety recall that's on my truck.

Brazil prices for Fiat Strada
R$29.000,00 - R$50.000,00
US$15,200.00 - US$26,300.00

The Toyota/Scion A-Bat is a better compromise/concept and I hope they build it, but I can see there is a market for this type. Nobody is expecting or forcing full size truck owners to switch to a unibody small truck, but many people would like this over hauling stuff in an SUV because they don't want or need a full size truck. The good MPG's, price, and size are all attractive.

Build the driveline mechanically like the old Subaru Brat with a dual range - shift on the fly front wheel / all wheel drive and it will be economical, eminently useful... and bullet proof.

Also, make it a ragtop along the lines of the Fiat 500C... that was a very popular aftermarket mod to mini pick ups back in my day.

Throw in removable jump seats in the bed, again, along the lines of the old Brat and you've got a fun truck and a winner.

Ha okay KW you can troll me I guess since we see you're a GOOF!

Funny, in ireland we remove seats and windows to avoid tax on SUVs. This can halve the cost of a full size SUV.

Small trucks are great, you just need high gas prices too. Appreciate them.

also, cars go a lot faster without their interiors...

the Peugot. 205 vans were seriously quick with amazing ride and handling.

@johnny Troll. Takes one to know one.

I get a laugh from the people (like Big Bob) saying this is all a 16-21 year old should drive. When I learned to drive it was in a 75 Buick Electra 455 and my step dads 74 GMC 2500 454. So my first vehicle was a 69 Chevy 1500 long bed with an oil eating 350, that got changed for a 250 six cylinder. If my dad went to haul hay with his 77 Chevy, I would go with my truck and get a ball. It worked out good as I made money mowing lawns, and the truck hauled my mowers and weedeater. Accidents? While leaving a party (I was sober) I tapped a fender on a Toyota Corolla, with poor back up lighting, but bottom line, my fault, took the responsability for it and paid for a fender, and since my dad had a body shop, he did the work. I did not live with him then, but I paid for his work by hauling hay, cutting grass, cleaning horse stalls, fence work, or just scooping doberman doo-doo in the yard. About a year later I also bought a 76 Monte Carlo 350. True I got 2 speeding tickets, but no wrecks my fault. Later that year, the Buick was traded for a Ford 350 van, the big one. With an a/c unit on top and a 460. I'm glad my parents actually trusted me and gave me a chance to drive something besides little cars. I did get a dirty look when I found out how much torque the 460 had as I passed somebody, on a trip to Iowa. guess I didn't have to floor it? We also (me and my brother a year older) learned how to drive manual shift on out 69 Dart three on the tree. Glad I wasn't sheltered! Oh, and although I had alot of friends that road raced, I myself knew the place to race around the corners was at the dirt track, as my dad took me to tracks.

I learned to drive on a "69 F250 and '68 Galaxie 500, I also can add a few mid '60's B model Mack trucks and a R600 Mack truck to that list. When it came time to own our own vehicles, my brother got a new '79 Chevy with 250 I6, 3 speed auto and 3.05 gears.My dad made sure of that. Great vehicle for a kid. No power, no room , and ultra reliable. My dad trusted me more so I got to keep the '68 Galaxie with 390.

In this day and age of short attention spans, smart phones, mp3 players etc, there are so many distractions for kids, I'd rather see them in something small and economical like this. The big vehicle saves lives idea is just a myth, a carry over from my youth when crumple zones, airbags, ABS, stability control, foot on brake to put in gear stuff didn't exist.

I do think it should be up to the parents to decide, but I've seen more than my fair share of wrecked muscle cars, and 4x4 trucks that were purchased by parents for their kids.

I get a laugh from the people (like Big Bob) saying this is all a 16-21 year old should drive

@TRX4, me too. Let's just shelter our kids from everything. C'mon guys. This reminds me of my loony brother in law who thinks motorcycles should be banned by the Govt. because they're too dangerous. A good point was made about our fine Soldiers as well. If you're old enough to die for your country, you're old enough to do what you want in life as far as I'm concerned. It's called Freedom. You know, what America once proudly stood for?

Precisely why I'll NEVER own anything with a GMC badge.

@MikeH, I've heard that a million times. I'm still of the opinion that GM should have closed. Not because I want them gone, but because the whole Govt. Motors thing wouldn't have been an ongoing issue. You can't have Govt.MoCo. without the GM initials. Chevrolet should have gone on and completely distanced itself from the wreckage. They most likely would have gained sympathy from the public as the last surviving member of something that was once looked upon fondly but fell in hard times. The only reason I can see that it didn't happen was for Buick-GMC. Both of which could easily be covered by Chevrolet anyhow. Ford is far better off without Mercury around. They can make their Ford products nicer now and focus on what makes the money. Ford trucks have no problem standing on their own because they're nicer than Chevrolet's. Something of which Chevrolet could also do. GM was a big mistake in what is essentially the Chevrolet Motor Company anyhow.

Ah, I forgot to comment on the truck here. I can see a market but it would be so small. Functionally this doesn't appear much different than the Ranger or old S-10. They just didn't bring in the money for the associated costs. Overseas I can see it, in America I just can't. At least not at this point in time. The Tacoma works so well because of it's midsize attributes. Something the Dakota should have really gone after but didn't.

Fiat wants to build a FWD pickup! What are they thinking? FWD pickups are not a good choice to do any serious hauling. This is because front wheel traction decreases as the load over the rear wheels increases. RWD, 4WD, or AWD have traditionally been used on pickup trucks because you have good traction with heavy loads. FWD pickups are OK when driving around with an empty bed (most of the time). The best solution would be a drive system with selectable FWD, RWD, or AWD. VW already does something like this with their Amarok pickup with a selectable AWD/ RWD system.

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