The long-rumored full-size SUV is reported as part of FCA´s “next wave” of products.
With Jeep Compass already launched, and Fiat Argo (Punto successor) and Argo-based X6S sedan on the making, FCA appears to have started pondering on next batch of new cars for the developing markets, Mercosur region (South America) in particular. This includes the replacement model for the aging Strada pickup and a 7-seat SUV based on the Toro pickup. The latter isn´t a new idea, the SUV was rumored long back and deemed dormant, but it is reported that the project is now getting some priority.
It is learnt that the company has already invested notable time and resources in developing prototypes for the Toro SUV project. The idea of having a full-size SUV is in sync with FCA´s vision of offering a diverse range of SUVs in the region. Further, the success of Toro pickup in this market strengthens the scope for an SUV, reports Autoblog Argentina, adding that the brand is in dire need of a new product like this SUV to replace the Fiat Freemont model, the rebadged Dodge Journey.
It is also reported that the Fiat engineers are reworking the Toro platform to ensure higher levels of refinement for the new SUV than the pickup. The car is expected to share components from the Jeep Compass, while offering enhanced interior space and seating for seven passengers with a wheel base of 2.75 metres. Design wise, the Toro SUV is likely to inherit the front fascia from the pickup but with added chrome and LED embellishments, thereby providing greater sense of exclusivity.
The Toro SUV is expected to carry on the pickup´s 170 hp 2.0-litre turbo diesel engine, paired either to a 9-speed automatic transmission or a low-spec manual gearbox. Front wheel drive will be the norm, with an optional four-wheel drive system tweaked for passenger application.
FCA may take up to 2019 to bring the SUV on road, by the time the new Strada Pickup using the existing Economy 326 platform (as Palio and Punto) will also be ready. Though these new product developments are strictly applicable only for the Latin American markets, there provide insights on the company´s approach on products for developing markets across the globe, including India.
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