2017 Fiat Professional Fullback Review

Fiat Fullback driving front3 II

By Ben Harrington

Fiat is a marque you'd be forgiven for not instantly associating with mid-size pickup trucks. And yet, here we have the Italian manufacturer's entry into the one-ton (meaning it can carry about 2,000 pounds) pickup class, the global 2017 Professional Fullback.

If you happen to be a connoisseur of mid-size pickups sold outside the U.S., this vehicle may look familiar to you, and there's a good reason for that. Fiat and Mitsubishi signed a manufacturing agreement a couple of years ago; the Fullback is the first pickup fruit from that collaboration.

Exterior

Essentially, the Fullback is the well-established Mitsubishi L200 (one of the more popular mid-size pickups in the world) with a couple of subtle alterations, such as Fiat badging.

The Fullback's grille is pretty much the only other component you'll find that differs from the L200. It's a horizontal, subtle affair that some customers may prefer over the Mitsubishi's vertically slashed front end.

At more than 17 feet long and more than 70 inches wide, the Fullback is a big vessel to drive. Regular United Kingdom parking spaces stand no chance of accommodating it. A backup camera comes as standard on higher trim levels of the Fullback, but optional parking sensors cost around $300 (at current exchange rates). Considering how essential they are and how much equipment the Fullback comes with, making parking sensors optional seems quite odd to us.

The obvious advantage of the Fullback's size is not only its bed, which is an ample 60 by 58 inches that easily swallows a Euro-style pallet. It also provides plenty of space in the cabin, especially in the backseat; colleagues and children alike will thank you.

Interior

Fiat Fullback interior II

Interior trim and refinement is more than satisfactory if you look at it from a work-truck point of view. The four-wheel-drive high-low gear selector is now a simple click wheel, so no need to wrestle with a second gear shift lever in the console. Plastics are rugged, as you'd expect in this type of vehicle, and slightly lacking in imagination when compared to other Fiat models.

One area where the Fullback is a let-down is its infotainment system. LX models have a Kenwood touchscreen that's fiddly and difficulty to use. Anyone trying to pair it to a smartphone is out of luck; the system doesn't recognize them and can't even charge them.

Powertrain/Capacities

Fiat keeps things simple with the Fullback: There are only two trim levels, SX and LX. The SX is powered by a 150-horsepower, turbo-diesel 2.4-liter inline-four mated to a six-speed manual transmission. The more expensive LX has the same engine, but it produces 180 hp and can be mated to either the six-speed manual or a five-speed automatic.

The engine is an all-aluminum turbo-diesel producing either 280 or 317 pounds-feet of torque, depending on which trim you order. Maximum towing capacity is more than 6,000 pounds in the LX in addition to the 2,000 pounds that can be carried in the bed.

The 180-hp Fullback returns 39.8 mpg on combined city/highway driving with the manual. On a full tank, Fiat claims a factory-estimated range of 650 miles from its 19.8-gallon tank; however, if you do the math using the 39.8 mpg figure, the range is nearly 800 miles.

Unfortunately, the downside of an all-aluminum engine, from our experience, is the noise. The Fullback's cabin is well-insulated, but when standing outside the truck, you can hear the diesel rattle, making noise that's reminiscent of older technology. While the sound does dissipate as the engine warms up, we'll never describe it as refined.

How It Rides

Fiat Fullback load bed II

With the bed empty, the Fullback does an admirable job of keeping things level thanks to some serious chassis stiffening and an up-to-date 4WD system taken from Mitsubishi's global Shogun SUV.

The Fullback excels at handling and ride. It's stiff without being harsh, so there's no wallowing around corners, and it soaks up bumps without bouncing around — even with a load. Long road trips are as comfortable as traveling in a large sedan.

Pricing

Prices for the Fullback in England range start at $33,765 for the SX and $37,030 for the LX, based on current exchange rates. That's comparable to its L200 sibling, but the Fullback offers fewer choices.

Additionally, where Mitsubishis come with a five-year warranty, the Fiat gets just a three-year program. It seems like a bizarre way of selling two virtually identical vehicles, but that's possibly offset by more attractive finance options.

Cars.com photos by Ben Harrington

 

Fiat Fullback static front II

Fiat Fullback static rear II

Fiat Fullback badge II

Fiat Fullback buttress II

Fiat Fullback down hill rear 2 II

Fiat Fullback off road side II

Fiat Fullback rear seats II

Fiat Fullback water splash II

 

Comments

As I've stated many times on this site; the US Ranger is going to blow away the mid-size competition;

http://www.msn.com/en-us/autos/autos-trucks/spied-2020-ford-ranger-raptor/ar-BBDgOfn?li=BBisPVf&ocid=spartandhp

the US Ranger is going to blow away the mid-size competition

@Lionel

Is that a joke???

There is no US Ranger yet.

When? Maybe in a couple of years, assuming Ford is still making trucks by then.

Honestly, that Fiat looks like something you'd take for birth control.

the US Ranger is going to blow away the mid-size competition
@Lionel
Is that a joke???
There is no US Ranger yet.
When? Maybe in a couple of years, assuming Ford is still making trucks by then.

Posted by: papajim | Jun 27, 2017 7:50:46 AM

@papa jimbo; it's no joke old man so get ready to be rocked by Ford's new US Ranger...it will mop the floor with all mid-sizers including the current sale leader Tacoma...

Too big, though I admit there's some things I like about it--like the more aerodynamic look. Here in the US it would probably be marketed as the Ram 1200 (which FCA dealerships won't admit nor deny may be headed this way.) The Brazilian Fiat Toro is the same vehicle with a split rear gate and the reviews for it seem pretty good. https://youtu.be/NFcZ4wJB-DU

"I wouldn't want to be near any roads where that thing is pulling 6000lbs or hauling 2000lbs in the bed."
---- Posted by: Ken | Jun 24, 2017 9:51:20 AM

Why?
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"What would you do with a truck that small? The bed is useless and the backseat is too small to haul any people. I an seed a regular cab or extended cab with a longer bed."
---- Posted by: Joe | Jun 24, 2017 12:00:06 PM

Clearly you don't know what you're talking about. This thing is hardly any smaller than the current GM C-twins.
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"Roadwhale, call home!!!"
---- Posted by: papajim | Jun 24, 2017 4:29:51 PM

Don't you mean, "Call Fiat"? I have. Check my previous post in this forum.
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"This truck is still too big for our needs."
---- Posted by: Road Whales Inc. | Jun 25, 2017 10:16:35 AM

Too silly. You mind if I sue you for trademark infringement? There's a reason I put the ™ on RoadWhale™.
================================

"Not sure what 'professional' covers as that looks very light duty. Maybe it's a professional level grocery getter."
---- Posted by: Ken | Jun 25, 2017 10:18:33 AM

More like a professional grade, light-duty truck such as what Orkin used to order. Believe it or not, some companies really don't need huge, heavy-capacity pickup trucks for their work; they just need a rig large enough to carry some gear and simply wash out if something spills. In some cases, full-sized trucks are a hindrance, not a help.

"To my knowledge, --- although I do have a fading memory --- I never was, am, or will be "Denvermike". I do remember some of his well thought-out comments on TTAC, however, and can only wish him well..."
---- Posted by: NMGOM | Jun 26, 2017 10:38:00 AM

Well thought out? That's a laugh. He was so opinionated that he refused to see reason even when proof was put in front of his face. Even the links he used to support some of his comments tended to refute them instead. Rarely did he introduce anything relevant to these forums or on TTAC.



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