After teasing us for several months and having its unveiling pushed back by a few months, the all-new Fiat Strada has arrived. While many people in the United States, Canada, or Europe might not be familiar with the compact little pickup that Fiat and Ram Trucks both sell across several Latin and South American countries, the small pickup plays an important part in both companies portfolios in the markets it is sold. For the past 20 years, the Fiat Strada has been the best-selling pickup in Brazil and the newest-generation looks to continue the tradition.
The arrival of the new Strada highlights Fiat’s specialization as a manufacturer of pickup trucks for all types of use. One of the greatest merits of the project was to maintain the qualities for which the vehicle has always been recognized as versatility, quality, reliability, robustness, and cost-benefit in the use of work, as well as to also serve the consumer who wants a modern, technological and safe vehicle for family and leisure. Therefore, the brand innovates, once again, by presenting the unprecedented Double Cab configuration with four doors and approved for five passengers. Something that has been missing from the current model’s lineup.
With the new Strada and the recently updated Toro (also known as the Ram 1000 in several markets), Fiat has the two best-selling vehicles in Brazil in the light commercial segment. In the important segment of pickup trucks (12.9% of vehicles sold in the country in 2019), the two models combined placed the brand with 41.4% of sales in the category last year. This means that, of ten pickups sold in the country, four are from the manufacturer installed in Betim (MG). The robust numbers of the compact pickup made its production break the record of one million units in 2014. Last year, the model broke its historical sales record with a 58.2% share in the segment.
The look of the new Strada is in line with the successful design of the latest Fiat launches. Even inspired by the elements of the Toro pickup which was the winner of five national and international design awards, including the coveted Red Dot Award, the Strada has its own identity. With Italian influence, to be both functional and emotional at the same time, everything developed was carried out at the FCA Design Center Latam of the Polo Automotivo Fiat, in Betim (MG).
Its strong presence is marked by an elevated front, highlighting the tapered LED headlights with DRL (Daytime Running Light) lights. The optical array produces 1,700 lumens, about 20% more light than its main competitor. Still, at the front, the imposing grille houses the brand’s script logo in the center of the piece and brings the discreet and elegant Fiat flag, which composes the new visual identity that the manufacturer’s cars will receive from now on. The creased hood suggests the strength and robustness that characterize the vehicle.
Strada’s design continues with an ascending waistline, which highlights vigorous square and sculpted side wheel boxes. At the rear, the lanterns work as a signature of the model. Overall, the design gives the new Strada a visual impression of a very striking presence.
The complete renovation of the 2021 Fiat Strada begins with the MPP (which stands for Modular Platform Pick-up) platform, dedicated exclusively to the development of the new truck. With 10% more in torsional stiffness, the model increased its already recognized strength and structural durability. This is due to the use of noble steels in hot stamping and high and ultra high strength steels in 90% of their base (underbody), ensuring more security due to the better integrity of the cabin and greater energy efficiency.
Through the MPP platform, it was also possible to house a new front and rear suspension thinking about improving the vehicle’s comfort and handling. There are new springs, shock absorbers and geometry, as well as a new suspension crossbar and stabilizer bar at the front, and a new rear axle. The new Strada also features a higher ground clearance of 8.4-inches and even better approach and departure angles with up to 24º on entry and up to 28º on exit, which is best-in-class.
In addition, the new positioning of the rear suspension allowed for a greater load width in the bucket. This means that the Cabine Plus models can hold 1,354-liters (or 47.8 cubic feet) of volume, while Double Cab models can hold 844-liters (or 29.8 cubic feet). The load capacity also goes further and ranges from 650 kg (or 1,433 lbs) in the five occupant version to up to 720 kg (or 1,587 lbs) in the entry configuration. That is more load capacity than most of the models of the last-generation Dodge Dakota.
Speaking of versatility, Fiat brought yet another innovation to the new Strada. Cargo handling is now facilitated by the rear cover, which had its handling weight damped by 60% by a new spring system without losing robustness, since it supports loads of up to 400 kg (or 882 lbs). To close the lid, the effort is minimal. The cargo compartment is also modular and received rails for accessories from Mopar, such as dividers and cargo boxes, in addition to having four lower and upper hooks, which make the space ready for different functions. With the lid locking, access to the spare tire, located below the bucket floor is also blocked to free up more space for loading.
The use of the MPP platform allowed further improvements, such as the turning diameter of only 10.7 m (or 35.1 feet), the best in the category. In addition, the new platform houses modern electronic architecture, ensuring new comfort, safety, and entertainment equipment, present only in vehicles of higher segments. The modern MPP platform allows for an architecture with sophisticated equipment. As standard items in all versions, the new Strada received, among other features, stability control, ramp start assistant, and advanced E-Locker (TC +) traction control.
It is a system aimed at light off-road situations, which helps in maneuvering the vehicle that is on slippery terrain and with the wheel skating. When pressing the TC + button, the equipment transfers more torque to the wheel with greater grip, causing the truck to overcome more obstacles. The function is automatically deactivated from 65 km / h (or 40 mph). The same TC + activates ABS Off-Road, a calibration that improves the braking behavior of the vehicle when it is necessary to activate the ABS on deformable surfaces (sand, earth, gravel, snow), allowing the wheel to lock for brief moments and forming Material “wedges” in front of the wheel. This material improves tire grip and maneuverability, reducing the stopping distance on low-grip surfaces.
Endurance versions are equipped with the 1.4-liter FIRE engine, which delivers 88 horsepower @ 5,750 rpm and 90 lb.-ft. of torque @ 3,500 rpm (ethanol) and 85 horsepower @ 5,750 rpm and 89 lb.-ft. of torque @ 3,500 rpm (gasoline).
The Freedom models feature electric-assisted steering, tire pressure sensors, steering wheel controls, power mirrors, a 3.5-inch thin-film-transistor (TFT) screen, aluminum wheels, and the 1.3-liter FIREFLY four-cylinder engine. The 1.3-liter produces 109 horsepower @ 6,250 rpm and 103 lb.-ft. of torque @ 3,500 rpm (ethanol) or 101 horsepower @ 6,000 rpm and 99 lb.-ft. of torque @ 3,500 rpm (gasoline). All powertrain options are backed with a 5-speed manual transmission.
Another major highlight is the new 7-inch Uconnect touchscreen multimedia center, one of the most modern infotainment systems in Brazil. It brings sophisticated features like Apple CarPlay and Android Auto with wireless projection. It is possible to pair up to two smartphones. The system was developed by FCA in Brazil and is the most intuitive, functional and friendly on the market, significantly improving the user experience with the vehicle, through the functions: navigation via Waze and Google Maps; music (Streaming | MP3); voice recognition (Siri | Google Voice); reading and responding to a “handsfree” message for SMS and WhatsApp, for example; and calendar integration.
The Strada Volcano models add power rear windows, leather/fabric seats, a reverse camera, a leather-wrapped steering wheel, LED headlights, and parking sensors. The versatility of the model is even more evident with items such as longitudinal bars on the roof and protection (santantônio), in addition to the 205/60R15 All-Terrain tires.
In addition to the imposing exterior look and all the technical developments that the new Strada presents, the development of the new pick-up took into account the practicality that customers expect to find in their travels in urban centers. To increase comfort, Fiat is now offering the Double Cab with four doors, as well as room in the rear seat to accommodate three adults in comfort.
The front doors open at 70º and the rear at 80º, facilitating access for drivers and other occupants. The center passenger also has a three-point belt and headrest. Inside, the cabin increased by 30% in volume, and now offers a number of storage compartments, which now add up to 15 liters (or 915 cubic-inches) of useful space for the most varied uses. They are special places for cell phones, bottles, cans, wallets, and other personal items, always in reach by the passengers. In addition to the largest interior space in the category, noise cancelation has been improved, thanks to the MPP platform, which provided the strategic installation of sound-absorbing material.
The new Strada’s safety is guaranteed by the development of the most modern project ever carried out around a compact pickup truck in Brazil. The new suspension ensures optimum stability and handling, steering with progressive electric assistance (more direct with increased speed), LED headlights have been repositioned to help with great visualization, as well as state-of-the-art electronic features, such as controls stability, advanced traction (TC +) and ramp assistant, which facilitates starting on steep climbs.
In addition to this equipment, the new Strada has a reinforced structure, which was systematically tested at the Safety Center of FCA Latam, in Betim (MG). The vehicle was evaluated in conventional crash tests, including an unprecedented lateral impact test against the pole. Four airbags fitted as standard in the Double Cab version and feature front seat belts with pre-tensioners and load limiters, and seats that protect the occupants from the whiplash effect on the cervical spine in accidents.
The 2021 Strada pickup is currently being produced at the FCA Betim Assembly Plant, which also manufactures the Ram 700, Fiat Mobi, Fiat Uno, Fiat Argo, Fiat Fiorino, and the Ram ProMaster Rapid. Pricing for the new Fiat Strada in the Brazilian marketplace is as follows…
Endurance Cabine Plus 1.4 Fire MT5 – R$ 63.590 (or about $11,630 USD*)
Endurance Double Cab 1.4 Fire MT5 – R$ 74.990 (or about $13,714 USD*)
Freedom Cabine Plus 1.3 Firefly MT5 – R$ 69.490 (or about $12,708 USD*)
Freedom Double Cab 1.3 Firefly MT5 – R$ 77.990 (or about $14,262 USD*)
Volcano Double Cab 1.3 Firefly MT5 – R$ R$ 79.990 (or about $14,628 USD*)
* Conversion of Brazilian Real to U.S. Dollars is based on 6/26/2020 exchange rates.
New 2021 Fiat Strada Image Gallery: