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Beaut Little Utes

Thanks to rising fuel costs, we’re seeing a greater shift to smaller engines and smaller cars.  The chances of some of the more unusual offerings, in small-ute form, might be a realistic option for Australian buyers.  In the modern requirements for smaller carbon footprints, a small ute is what every business in Australia could do with.  Right?

Smaller utes/pick-up trucks are doing very well in one or two places in the world.  South America has seen a great success in people buying into a little ute – as their benefits have a growing appeal.  Europe is shortly to test the introduction of the Fiat Strada – a very cool mini ute that is surprisingly handy and exceptionally rugged.

The Fiat Strada has had years of success in South America, and Fiat wants to export the Strada ute into other overseas markets.  It is built in South America, and Italy want to bring the little ute to Italy for its own people to enjoy.

Other small trucks, like the Fiat Strada, are very popular in South America.  Peugeot has a ute version of its 206 model, called the Peugeot Hoggar.  The toughened up version of Peugeot’s 206 Hatch is doing very well.  So too, is GM’s Chevrolet Montana.  The Montana has miniature design cues found in the latest Toyota Hilux ute.

Amazingly, the Fiat Strada ute is Fiat’s second-best selling light commercial unit worldwide, after Fiat’s Ducato van.  So, who’s using them?  Florists, garden centres, wineries, the adventure holiday businesses and the farming sector.  They may not take the same weights as the bigger Hilux and Navara utes but, then, most of the time they don’t need to.  They are proving very handy small pick-ups.

The Fiat Strada ute offers a range of body types.  You can have yourself a single cab, an extended single cab or a crew cab version.  The Strada’s payloads range from 630 kg to 705 kg.  These are quite handy weights.  I mean, at least 15 bags of cement can be stacked inside the high sided ute.  Though front-wheel-drive, the Strada provides an electronic differential lock – so you can attack a good bit of off-road terrain, quite easily.

Everybody is going to enjoy the benefits of a smaller ute’s engine, like the one used in the Fiat Strada.  The Fiat engine is a diesel engine that promises to be very frugal, indeed.  It is rated for 5.3 litres/100 km, on average.  The 1.3-litre turbo-diesel is also grunty, offering 71 kW of peak power, and 200 Nm of torque that is available from as low as 1500 rpm.

While you won’t find the Fiat Strada, the Chevrolet Montana or the Peugeot Hoggar for sale in Australia, yet.  It is their success overseas that might just be the catalyst for what the market in Australia needs.  Low carbon emissions and frugal economy … now you can’t argue with that.  All that has to happen now is to build these utes in right-hand-drive format.  I reckon they’d sell like hot cakes over here.