Fiat Toro bakkie headed for SA

2015-11-11 06:01
PHOTO: sourced The new Toro bakkie is to take on best-selling stalwarts such as Toyota’s Hilux and the Ford Ranger, says Fiat.

PHOTO: sourced The new Toro bakkie is to take on best-selling stalwarts such as Toyota’s Hilux and the Ford Ranger, says Fiat.

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FIAT’S Toro (bull in Italian) bakkie, a medium-size double-cab bakkie from the Italian automaker, recently revealed in an official photo from FCA in Latin America, is headed for South Africa.

According to Fiat, its new bakkie is set to take on best-selling stalwarts such as Toyota­’s Hilux and the Ford Ranger.

Fiat South Africa confirms the automaker’s reach will be extended locally with a concerted model campaign from 2016 and beyond – including the launch of “a completely new pick-up in the competitive bakkie segment”.

According to Johan Cloete, newly appointed project manager for Fiat LCV development, the “yet-to-be-named one-ton bakkie” (however, the Toro moniker has been confirmed) will be offered “in single or double-cab variants and powered by petrol or diesel engines” and is set for introduction during the first half of 2016.

The Toro, previewed by the FCC4 concept presented at the 2014 Sao Paolo auto show, will go head-to-head with Renault’s Duster Oroch bakkie, introduced in October in Brazil.

Due to be officially launched at the Dubai auto show later this month, the Toro is rumoured to be based on an extended version of FCA’s Small Wide 4x4 platform which also underpins the Jeep Renegade.

While details are scarce, Fiat Brazil did announce the new bakkie measures 4.9m long – about the same length as the Duster Oroch and about 26cm shorter than a Ford Ranger – can carry up to a one-tonne payload and can seat five “in the comfort of a luxury car”.

Built at the Pernambuco factory in Brazil, the Toro will be powered by a 103kW 1.8-litre E-Torq Flex four-cylinder engine (that can also run on ethanol) mated to a six-speed auto ’box or a 2.0-litre Multijet turbo-diesel delivering 127kW/380Nm of torque paired with either a six-speed manual, six-speed auto, or nine-speed auto.

According to sources, three trims – Urban, Adrenaline, and Country – will be available in Brazil, with the Urban and Adrenaline only offered with front-wheel drive, while the top-spec Country will be offered with either 4x2 or 4x4 configuration.

The Toro is tow-rated for 1000kg and will be available with options such as Xenons and LED driving lights, fog lights, underbody protection, Uconnect and a 13cm touchscreen navigation and infotainment system, rain sensors and a sunroof.

Design highlights are its Cherokee type headlights and vertically split and hinged cargo bay doors, and it’s also the first one-ton bakkie with a unitary construction and fully independent suspension system.

Unlike the ladder chassis and live rear axle systems of its local competitors, such as the Hilux, Ranger, Isuzu KB, VW Amarok, Nissan Navara and Mitsubishi Triton, this should give the Toro good road manners and fuel economy.

The bakkie will follow in the tyre-tracks of the half-ton Fiat Strada sold locally until 2012. No pricing for the local line-up has been announced yet.

The bakkie will further extend the Fiat Professional vehicle­ range that includes the Doblo, Fiorino and Ducato vans, and the Ducato minibus and motorhome chassis-cabs.

Cloete said: “We are serious about the future viability of the Fiat Professional brand in South Africa and believe its presence can be strengthened through the LCV development programme, including the new pick-up.”
- Wheels24.

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