It appears Fiat is developing a midsize pickup truck that slots above its compact Strada pickup. The news comes as our spy photographer captured these shots during a recent cold-weather test session. What’s more, it’s very likely Ram is in the mix, helping its Italian brother develop a strong competitor against the global Chevrolet Colorado, Ford Ranger, and Toyota Hilux.

The general suspicion is this vehicle is the production version of the Fiat FCC4 concept seen at the 2014 Sao Paulo Motor Show. That far-fetched concept was more of a design study, so expect if any of its wild features make it to production, they will be heavily toned down. I say Fiat’s truck will fall in line with its competition in the design department.

Regardless of looks, the main question at hand is whether Ram will take advantage of the partnership and bring the truck to the U.S. The midsize Dakota has been dead since 2011, leaving Chrysler out of the midsize truck fight. So will Ram bring back the Dakota? Keep reading for more speculation.

Continue reading for the full review

  • 2017 Fiat/Ram Pickup
  • Year:
    2017
  • Make:
  • Engine:
    inline-4(Est.)
  • Transmission:
    six-speed automatic (Est.)
  • Horsepower @ RPM:
    177 (Est.)
  • Torque @ RPM:
    295 (Est.)
  • Energy:
    turbodiesel (Est.)
  • Displacement:
    3.0 L (Est.)
  • 0-60 time:
    10 sec. (Est.)
  • Top Speed:
    115 mph (Est.)
  • Layout:
    Front Engine, AWD w/ Low Range (Est.)
  • Price:
    26000 (Est.)
  • Price:
  • car segment:
  • body style:

Spy Shots

March 25, 2015 - First testing session

2017 Fiat/Ram Pickup Exterior Spyshots
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2017 Fiat/Ram Pickup Exterior Spyshots
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2017 Fiat/Ram Pickup Exterior Spyshots
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Exterior

2017 Fiat/Ram Pickup Exterior Spyshots
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2017 Fiat/Ram Pickup Exterior Spyshots
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2017 Fiat/Ram Pickup Exterior Spyshots
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There’s a lot of camouflage on this prototype. Barely any distinguishable feature sticks out beyond its general shape. Even that is hidden with the camper shell riding over the cargo bed. Nevertheless, there is much to see.

First, its size. Judging by the wheels and the surrounding landscape, the truck appears to be roughly the same size as the 2015 Chevy Colorado. Four large doors dominate its flanks while a large grille with openings above and below the bumper keep the internals cool. The grille appears to have chrome horizontal bars as decoration.

Around back, high-mounted taillights and a euro-style, non-step rear bumper show this test mule’s intended target audience. The bed appears to be rather small, perhaps the same size as the Toyota Tacoma’s.

Structurally, the truck rides on a unibody-style platform, evidenced by the lack of gap between the cab and bed. The continuous pinch weld is clearly seen running from under the doors and curving into the rear wheel well. This indicates the truck will be focused on more light-duty tasks rather than competing for towing titles or maximum cargo weight.

Interior

From the shots our spy photog was able to snap, not much of the interior is visible. However, it’s easy to speculate any vehicle co-developed between Fiat and Ram would have respectable interior adornments. Expect seating for five with a front center console perhaps housing the ZF eight-speed transmission’s rotary shifter. Perhaps FCA’s award-winning Uconnect system will dominate the upper dash while TFT displays in the gauge cluster keep the driver alerted of vehicle conditions.

Drivetrain

2017 Fiat/Ram Pickup Exterior Spyshots
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As with the interior, there are no shots of the engine bay. Nevertheless, let the speculation continue! Since Fiat has a slew of four-cylinder diesel engines on hand, it’s fair to guess one of them is used in this application. Those engines range from the 2.0-liter MultiJet with 115 horsepower to the 3.0-liter MultiJet with 177 horses and 295 pound-feet of torque.

The U.S. already has that 177-horse 3.0-liter I-4 thanks to the Ram ProMaster, Ram’s version of the Fiat Ducato. Also powering the ProMaster is the 3.6-liter Pentastar V-6. In that application, the gas engine makes 280 horsepower and 260 pound-feet of torque. In other applications like the Ram 1500, the Pentastar makes a respectable 305 horsepower and 269 pound-feet of torque.

Of course, the most desirable engine any U.S. buyer would long for would be the 3.0-liter EcoDiesel V-6. With 240 horsepower and 420 pound-feet of torque, the turbodiesel would make this midsize truck a powerhouse that also got great fuel economy.

Transmission wise, the Fiat/Ram truck could make use of the ProMaster’s 62TE six-speed automatic transmission or perhaps the ZF eight-speed automatic. For global applications, expect Fiat to offer a six-speed manual transmission as standard equipment.

Suspension, Frame, & Brakes

2017 Fiat/Ram Pickup Exterior
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Remember that pinch weld running from the cab to the bed and how that indicates this prototype truck is riding on a unibody platform? Well rumors suggest the platform is borrowed from the Fiat Freemont, a.k.a. the Dodge Journey. If this is true, expect some heavy structural reinforcements to be in place.

Now take a gander at that rear suspension. The unusual independent design utilizes coil springs and rear-mounted shocks, along with a forward-facing trailing arm. Diverting power to the wheels are half-shafts connected to a center differential. That rear diff appears to be the same unit found in AWD Freemonts and Journeys, though likely with some substantial reinforcements. Still at the rear, those brakes are old-school drums. A five-lug bolt pattern further suggest light-duty capabilities.

Expect an independent suspension up front with MacPherson struts doing the dampening while disc brakes handle the braking. Expect a part-time 4WD or perhaps an full-time AWD system with a low range to be offered as optional to a standard 2WD configuration.

Prices

2017 Fiat/Ram Pickup Exterior Spyshots
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Like much of this truck, there’s not much word on pricing. However, it’s expected Fiat would stay competitive against the Colorado, Ranger, and Hilux, so pricing should start around the $25,000 mark and rise toward the mid $30,000s.

Competition

2015 Ford Ranger

2015 Ford Ranger High Resolution Exterior
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Read our full review here
The updated Ranger will be a main force against the Fiat/Ram midsize truck, however the Ranger is more suited for rough and tumble duty thanks it is ladder frame construction and solid rear axle.

2016 Toyota Hilux

2016 Toyota Hilux Exterior Spyshots
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Read our full review here
Also new on the horizon is the updated 2016 Toyota Hilux. Like the Fiat/Ram, details are still scarce on the Hilux, but the truck is expected to keep its body-on-frame design and laundry list of powertrain options. Like the Ranger, the Hilux is more of a scaled-down version of a full-size truck rather than an up-sized crossover.

Conclusion

2017 Fiat/Ram Pickup Exterior Spyshots
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It’s hard to be certain of details surrounding the production and distribution of this Fiat truck, but the fact remains that Fiat seems set on breaking into the midsize truck market. Whether that will include North America is still in question. While it might be natural to want a new Dakota, it’s hard to imagine the U.S. truck market taking seriously a unibody truck, especially if it tries to pass as a Ram. Consider the Honda Ridgeline, for example.

With the help of Ram and the grand resources at FCA, Fiat should have all the tools it needs to build a competitive truck that appeals to those who might otherwise drive a crossover. While it might work in other places around the world, it’s hard to imagine the average U.S. truck buyer picking this over its growing competition.

  • Leave it
    • * Likely less capable than competition
    • * Car-like rear-end setup
    • * Still tons of unanswered questions
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