The Strada is the only pickup model in Fiat’s lineup and it’s around from some time now. The latest generation arrived in 2012 while the previous model was launched in 2004. The Strada’s strengths were its affordable price and the generous payload capacity which made it a trustful working partner.
The old Fiat Strada was designed by the famous Giorgetto Giugiaro and borrowed the entire interior design from the Palio. Overall, the vehicle had a pretty conventional appearance, with a generous load bed and a comfortable interior. The vehicle was available in two cab versions namely single and extended, and was powered by either petrol or diesel units.
Compared to the old generation, the new Fiat Strada represented a huge step forward in terms of design and features a more aggressive style and a purposeful look.
The previous model had a more serene character and wasn’t as aggressive as the latest Strada. The long nose was dominated by a small radiator grille that was split in two sections by the company’s badge. Up front there were also two thin headlights which looked pretty well and were nicely integrated into the overall design. We also like the wraparound bumper which featured a curved shape and was fitted with two big fog lamps and a big air intake.
The old Strada had the same exterior dimensions as the new one being 4409 mm long and 1664 mm wide. You had easy access to the load bed, by simply opening the tailgate.
Hop inside and you’ll find a pretty pleasant interior that was borrowed from the Palio. The dashboard has a nice flowing pattern which looked pretty nice, while the center console received a shiny metallic color and gels well with the rest of the cab. Luckily every control is within easy reach and the interior is also pretty ergonomically designed with plenty of storage places and cubby holes to keep your things.
The plastics looked pretty good, but when you’ll tap them with a finger they’ll sound hollow. The build quality was surprisingly good and the fittings seem solid enough to endure the abuse of harsh working conditions without baking down.
We especially like the instrument panel, as despite the old age of the vehicle it looked pretty modern and it’s fairly easy to read too.
The seats were also pretty comfortable offering proper back and under thigh support. Though, they could’ve come with better side bolstering. There were also enough adjustments to help you find your favorite driving position in no time.
Both the gear knob and the hand brake lever have and ergonomic position and fall easy into hand, while the three spoke steering wheel it’s also easy to hold and has a pretty modern three spoke design.
Outward visibility is decent too, thanks to the wide windscreen and the thin A pillars. Though, the door mirrors are a bit small for our tastes, but they’ll do their job just fine.
Engines and performance
The 1.9 liter JTD engine delivers 80 hp @ 4000 rpm with a peak torque of 192 Nm of torque achieved from as low as 1500 rpm. The engine offers enough punch to keep the vehicle nimble, but when fully loaded it will act a bit sluggish. Hold your foot on the accelerator pedal and the vehicle will reach a top speed of up to 163 kmph.
The Fiat Strada was also available with a 1.2 MPI petrol engine or a 1.9 diesel. The petrol unit develops 60 hp at 5000 rpm, while the diesel churns out 63 hp at 4500 rpm with 100 Nm and 117 Nm of torque, respectively.
Fiat Strada Engines Specifications
| Engine || Hp @ rpm || Nm @ rpm |
| 1.9 JTD || 80 @ 4000 || 192 @ 1500 |
| 1.2 MPI || 60 @ 5000|| 100 @ 2500 |
| 1.9 || 63 @ 4500 || 117 @ 2500 |
Ride and handling
The old Fiat Strada was offered with a front wheel drive system which helped it to be easier to maneuver in tight working situations and also gave it a good road-holding. The Fiat Strada had also received an innovative suspension geometry that was designed to withstand high loads and, at the same time, to offer a decent ride quality.
Up front, there was an independent MacPherson strut layout with forged steel lower wishbones and antiroll bar, while the rear suspensions consisted of a live axle with longitudinal single-section parabolic leaf springs.
This setup offers a fairly good ride, as it’s able to keep most of the road bumps and vibrations outside the cab. Surprisingly, the compliant ride doesn’t affect the vehicle’s stability which is pretty good even when the load is not uniformly distributed.
The rear axle is also omega-shaped, with the central portion raised, enabling it to tackle any type of terrain in complete safety.
The vehicle comes with front discs and rear drums and you won’t have any major complains about the brakes. Moreover, the old Fiat Strada was also available with optional ABS and EBD systems for increased safety.
The previous generation Fiat Strada had a few tricks up its sleeve which helped it to keep its head up against its rivals with dignity. Firstly, it handles surprisingly well for what’s essentially a commercial vehicle. The brakes were also quite responsive to once you push past the first inch of light pedal travel. It’s true that over the bigger bumps, the utilitarian suspension reveals some flaws in the Noise Vibration and Harshness department, but otherwise the ride is pretty forgiving.
The interior was pretty comfortable too and despite the cheap plastics, the build quality was decent for a pickup. The old Strada had a pretty affordable price, being also cheap to maintain. The downside is that it wasn’t as reliable as other vehicles in its class.