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Fiat Doblo Cargo Test Drive Review

Date: 17 March 2015   |   Author: James Dallas

Category: Light van
P11D price: £14,595
Key rival: Ford Transit Connect
On sale: March 2015

Fiat Professional's facelifted Doblo Cargo light van goes on sale in the UK this month, and it looks a more muscular design: the bonnet and headlamps are more bulbous and sculpted while the grille is bolder and the front bumper sleeker than before. At the rear of the van are new light clusters.

The interior, though, will look familiar to anyone who knows the current Doblo because it has not been altered in right-hand drive mode due to cost restrictions. But this is not necessarily a drawback: the cabin is functional with plenty of storage space.

The cornerstone engines remain the 1.3- and 1.6-litre turbodiesels, but the brand claims it has improved efficiencies by up to 12%. In the case of the 90hp 1.3-litre Multijet II engine, for example, Fiat says responsiveness is up by 40%, resulting in greater flexibility for more relaxed and efficient driving as well as livelier performance.

The 1.3 and 105hp 1.6 Multijet II engines are also available in new Ecojet versions, priced £500 more than basic models at £14,445 and £16,245 respectively. These offer lower mpg and CO2 thanks to technology such as stop-start tech and low rolling-resistance tyres. The manufacturer says the 1.3 Ecojet delivers 64.2mpg (60.1mpg for the 1.6) with emissions of 115g/km.  A Multijet II 135hp 2.0-litre diesel engine and a 95hp 1.4 petrol engine are only expected to account for very low volumes.

The range comprises four bodystyles, two roof heights, and two wheelbases, as well as four trim levels: Standard, Ecojet, SX and Tecnico, with a step up of just £150 from Ecojet to SX but a sharper rise of £1630 to the top spec.

We drove a 90hp 1.3 SX. This engine is expected to account for up to four out of five sales and is only available in the SWB bodystyle that will command 60% of volume.

With a third of the 750kg payload employed, the engine performed impressively on winding country roads, motorways and in town. In fact, the snappy five-speed gearbox and precise steering mean the experience of driving the 1.3 is similar to putting a hatchback passenger car through its paces.

The driving position is good, and we can attest to the effectiveness of additional soundproofing, which Fiat claims has cut cabin noise by 3dB.

The 3.4m3  loadbay box is accessed via rear doors opening to 180° and a nearside sliding door. A nice touch is the vertical handles on the rear doors that can be easily opened with one finger when carrying something at the same time.

Alongside the standard kit on all models, which include, for example, electric windows and full-height twin panelled rear doors, the SX adds the likes of front fog lamps, electrically adjustable and heated door mirrors with body-coloured covers, and an upgraded stereo with MP3 compatibility.

Fiat Doblo Cargo SX 1.3 Multijet II 90hp

Price (excl. VAT)                                                                   £14,595
Price range (ex VAT)                                              £13,245-£17,325
Insurance group                                                                             4E
Warranty                                                                   3yrs/120,000mls
Service intervals                                                                 21,000mls
Load length                                                                           1820mm
Load width (min/max)                                             1230mm/1714mm
Load bay height                                                                    1305mm
Gross payload                                                                           750kg
Load volume                                                                             3.4m3
Engine size/power                                                          1248cc/90hp
Combined fuel economy                                                        56.5mpg
CO2                                                                                       126g/km

Verdict


Revised Doblo remains a strong contender in the light van sector
8/10
  • Best in class loadspace and efficient engine
  • Interior could do with more of a refresh

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