If you’ve driven a lesser Fullback or the mechanically identical Mitsubishi L200, you’ll know exactly what to expect here. That four-pot diesel can certainly get the Fullback Cross down the road at a reasonable pace, even with the performance-sapping slushbox fitted.
It doesn’t take too many revs to get a decent enough slug of power, and that’s handy, because this is an old-school oil burner that gets very vocal as engine speeds increase. Still, most other trucks out there aren’t exactly refined either, and this does quieten down nicely at a cruise. There’s a fair bit of wind and road noise as well, but barn door aerodynamics and chunky off-road tyres will do that.
The Fullback Cross's slightly agricultural feel continues with its ride. A live rear axle, leaf springs and not much weight over the tail mean progress can become pretty bouncy. You’ll also feel the chassis flex beneath you over bigger bumps and there’s plenty of fidget over tatty Tarmac.
Pitch the truck into a corner and you’ll find steering that is slow and uncommunicative. Even so, it’s still more precise than the Toyota Hilux and is easy enough to get used to. Once the Fullback Cross is turned in, there’s a fair bit of body roll and a modest amount of grip. Get on the power too hard and you’ll have the traction control clumsily stepping in, especially in the wet. You can turn it off, but then the unloaded rear end can try to overtake the nose if you’re not careful.
Of course, there’s a reason for all this. While a road-biased SUV might struggle with a bit of proper off-roading, the Fullback Cross soaks it up with aplomb. Its live rear axle gives plenty of articulation, four-wheel drive with a low-range 'box is standard and there are locking centre and rear diffs. And even in heavy rain, it can climb up muddy slopes easily without employing any of the locks or even venturing into low-ratio.
The Fullback Cross’s abilities don’t stop there – it can be a real workhorse, too. Both the auto and manual versions can tow up to 3100kg (as long as the trailer is braked) and the load bed can handle 1050kg. Handily, a sturdy bed liner comes as standard.
The interior is much the same as the driving experience – if you’re expecting it to feel like a regular SUV, you might be disappointed. There may be leather seats, dual-zone climate control and a few glossy trims, but the plastics are hard and it’s sturdy rather than stylish.