FIAT is likely to develop a whole new set of cult followers with the release of its Qubo Trekking, a new version of Fiat’s “free space” vehicle targeting nature lovers, outdoor sports and leisure enthusiasts. This original vehicle is also ideal for the non-conformist driver in search of substance with a sense of environmental responsibility. Powered by the 75 HP 1.3 Multijet, and equipped with the new “Traction +” system, the new Qubo Trekking offers performance similar to that of a “light crossover” but with the economic benefits that only a diesel-fuelled 4X2 can offer (27 km per litre in the extra urban cycle). Environmental performance is excellent too (115 g/km of CO2).
To emphasise its outdoor character, the Qubo Trekking offers a special front bumper, complete with ground shield, and has been raised by 20 mm (with 10 mm higher suspensions to tackle rough surfaces). Standard equipment includes roof bars, privacy rear windows and special wheel arches with 185/65 R15 M+S tyres.
The key feature of the new Fiat Qubo is its adoption of “Traction +”, Fiat’s innovative traction control system that improves traction over harsh and slippery terrain and costs far less than conventional 4x4 drive. “Traction +” is in perfect harmony with the Qubo concept: a vehicle designed to let you do whatever you like, exactly as a multipurpose vehicle should. The Qubo is as agile as a city-car, as spacious and comfortable as a hatchback and just as versatile, but more compact externally and available at a lower price.
The new “Traction +” system uses the advanced hardware present on cars equipped with ESP, but is far more than a simple extension of ESP. Thanks to special algorithms for controlling and managing the braking system, the control unit electronically simulates the behaviour of a self-locking electromechanical differential. Software optimisations and the fact that force is applied through the normal (hydraulic) braking circuit makes the system’s action more progressive than that of conventional systems.
Though performance is easily comparable, system weight is also far less. The “Traction +” system is operated by a button on the dashboard, and can function at speeds of up to 30 km/h. This is how the system works. Under conditions of low or zero grip from any drive wheel, the control unit detects slip and commands the hydraulic circuit to apply braking force to the slipping wheel, thus shifting drive to the wheel on the surface offering better grip. This makes it easy to drive, maintains directional stability and control, and ensures the best possible traction even over the roughest and most slippery surfaces.
The new Qubo Trekking is therefore quite unique in its segment. Merit goes to the model’s original “free space” concept that combines different seat configurations (up to a total of sixteen) with rationality and interiors of regular form. The result is an exceptional large and flexible usable space. For example, with the seats in their normal position, the luggage compartment has a volume of 330 litres (to the height of the parcel shelf), and of 650 litres up to the roof. But if we remove the rear seats and fold the front passenger seat to load level, carrying capacity reaches 2,500 litres (a best in class) with enough room available to load objects of almost 2.5 metres in length (a real record considering the vehicle’s overall length is only 3.9 metres).
Finally, the Qubo Trekking inherits the already generous equipment of the Dynamic version. In the area of safety, for example, this includes ABS with EBD, fog lights, 3 point seat belts with pre-tensioner and load limiter, hydraulic power steering, front and side airbags. On top of this, the new version boasts ESP and Traction +. Finally, Blu&Me; with “eco:Drive”, parking sensors and a CD/Mp3 player with steering wheel controls are also available.