New Fiat Strada is just the kind of bakkie South Africa needs
Fiat’s Brazilian division has fully revealed its all-new Strada and it appears to be a far more substantial bakkie than the Palio-based vehicle that South Africans knew in the early 2000s, and most importantly, there’s now a double cab version.
Like the old Strada, the new one was designed in Brazil for the South American market, but given that there is unlikely to be a right-hand-drive version of the new one, the chances of it ever reaching South Africa are slim at best. Like the Brazilian Volkswagen Saveiro, this one is set to remain forbidden fruit for our market, which is currently starved of compact bakkies.
But wouldn’t a unibody bakkie of this size - whether made by Fiat or any other manufacturer for that matter - be perfect for South Africa? Just think of how well it could bridge the gap between the Nissan NP200 compact bakkie and the traditional one-tonners. Such a vehicle won't be a heavy load lugger like the aforementioned ladder-frame one-tonners, but it could prove ideal for tradesmen and small business owners who are looking for something more upmarket and family-friendly than the NP200.
Renault’s Duster Oroch also comes to mind when discussing this gaping hole in the South African bakkie market, and it appears as if RHD availability is also standing in the way of Renault bringing it here.
As mentioned, the new Strada is larger and more upmarket than its Palio-based predecessor, which is still expected to soldier on as a base model, and it’s available in both single cab and double cab variants.
According to the Fiat Brazil website, the single cab has a payload of 720kg and the double cab can handle 650kg, with respective load volumes of 1354 litres and 844 litres for the two models.
The new Fiat Strada is available in three spec flavours: Endurance (base), Freedom (mid-spec) and Volcano (top spec).
The cabin boasts modern infotainment, with a central touchscreen system that’s compatible with Android Auto and Apple CarPlay.
Fiat has not officially announced the engine range, but Motor1 reports that the company will offer a normally aspirated 1.4-litre petrol engine, with 65kW, and a 1.3-litre turbodiesel that’s good for 81kW. There’s no mention of a four-wheel-drive variant at this stage.