A rugged new version of the versatile Qubo range is gearing up for a UK introduction later this month, following its international public debut at the Frankfurt Motor Show next week.

The Qubo Trekking not only looks tougher than the regular car, but drives tougher too, thanks to the addition of Traction+, a system that utilises an electronic differential lock to the front wheels to improve handling and control in mud, snow and other low-grip conditions.

Unlike most ordinary four-wheel drive systems, Traction+ does not have an impact on fuel economy or maintenance costs, and is designed to attract a much wider audience of motorists looking for an affordable off-road vehicle.

The system works by braking the driven wheel with the lowest grip and transferring more torque to the other wheel, with the result that there is more grip to overcome slippery conditions.

There will be no mistaking the new Trekking version. It stands 20mm higher than the regular Qubo and comes as standard with sturdy features including front bumper with engine guard, exclusive wheel trims, Pirelli 2500 M&S (mud and snow) tyres and rear ‘Trekking’ stickers.

Priced at £12,650 OTR, the Trekking represents excellent value for money for drivers looking for extra grip and control without the need for a full 4WD system. The Trekking also comes equipped with Fiat’s Blue&Me entertainment and communications system and attracts a low road tax thanks to its 115 g/km CO2 figure.

“The shape, size and look of the Qubo already lends itself to a Trekking version,” says Elena Bernardelli, marketing director, Fiat Group Automobiles UK. “And the added benefits of the Traction+ system will complement the Qubo’s practicality and versatility perfectly, especially as it does so while keeping motoring costs down.”

The Qubo range starts at £9,755 for the 1.4 Active.