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Fiat Toro Pickup Spied on Public Roads in Michigan

But don’t read too much into it

Eric WeinerWriterConner GoldenPhotographer

There are often pre-production or prototype vehicles meandering around the greater Detroit area, and we happened to spot one on our morning commute this week. The Fiat Toro pickup truck was cruising around a local thoroughfare, where it is most certainly a rarity given that it's only on sale in Brazil.

Based on the Jeep Cherokee platform, the five-seat Fiat Toro pickup, complete with its awesome barn-door tailgate, is offered in Brazil with either front- or all-wheel drive, and with a 140-hp, 1.8-liter flex-fuel gas engine or a 170-hp 2.0-liter diesel engine. Available transmissions include a six-speed manual, a six-speed automatic, or a nine-speed automatic (mated only to all-wheel drive trucks).

Before you start trolling Fiat forums for a scrap of evidence that the Toro is coming to the U.S., it's important to remember that automakers regularly test out-of-market cars in the U.S. for a variety of reasons. With that being said, Fiat Chrysler is already planning to introduce a pickup variant of the next-generation Jeep Wrangler by 2020, and it could be looking at other ways to be competitive in pickup markets. Let's also not forget that earlier this year, Jeep showed a one-off concept Renegade pickup truck concept dubbed the Comanche.

The Fiat Toro would in some ways compete against other small pickups like the Chevy Colorado/GMC Canyon twins and the Toyota Tacoma, but its unibody structure positions it more directly against the Honda Ridgeline. Hypothetically, the Toro (or simply a pickup version of the Cherokee) would use the 271-hp 3.2-liter V-6 used in the Jeep Cherokee, mated to a nine-speed transmission and all-wheel drive.

We'll keep an eye out for any news on this front, but we don't expect this Fiat Toro prototype to be anything other than an anomalous spotting here in the U.S.