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Fiat Doblo
Yes it looks like a small van with a bit stuck on top – but they don’t come much more practical or better built than the Doblo

Fiat Doblo Cargo XL

What is it?

It’s chunky, it’s funky and it’s bigger than any other small van on the roads – here’s the new Fiat Doblo Cargo XL, latest variant from the stable that has spawned the likes of the Vauxhall Combo and WorkUp! truck.

When the latest Doblo first appeared on UK roads in 2010 it was a quantum leap forward over the old model, with superb build quality and ride and handling to match. It’s really put Fiat on the road to success in the LCV sector.

This new Titan is the same size as its bigger brother the Scudo. Payload is a full tonne

This new Titan is so large that it’s actually the same size as its bigger brother the Scudo. So, we wonder, is there any point in making it?

Well yes, of course there is. For starters it’s around a grand cheaper than the Scudo and as it’s a smaller and lighter van it has a better payload. We reckon it handles better than the Scudo too and is an all-round delight to drive.

Mind you, it’s only got seating for two, so if you need to conduct your business three-up, you’ll have to opt for the bigger van.

Under the bonnet of the Doblo XL goes Fiat’s tried and trusted 1.6-litre MultiJet common rail turbodiesel powerplant offering a meaty 105bhp and 290Nm of torque, which translates to a sprightly performance in the road.

In the back there’s a nice ribbed wipe-clean floor which allows loads to be slid in and out easily. There are eight load-lashing eyes to keep cargo in place and a load volume of five cubic metres. Payload is a full tonne.

 

Fiat Doblo XL
Build quality is exemplary – Fiat has learned. The Doblo has a built-to-last feel

What’s hot

  • Fiat has not exactly been renowned for its build quality in the past, but the Doblo Cargo is right up there with the best of them. Every part has a superb built-to-last feel.
  • Seats are big and comfortable, with lumbar adjustment on the driver’s side – a great plus for older drivers.
  • The full height bulkhead means that the cab is quiet and refined too, even at motorway speeds. My partner and I were able to converse without shouting, which is something we have to do in certain rival models.
  • The 105bhp engine offers power aplenty and the Doblo has a nice slick gearchange which makes the overall driving experience a very pleasant one indeed.

 

Fiat Doblo XL
Seats are comfortable and the cab is quiet – thanks to a full bulkhead

What’s not

  • The XL is basically a small van with a bit stuck on the top and as such has rather curious looks. In fact I caught one of my neighbours pointing at it and laughing the other day.
  • Sadly, Electronic Stability Control remains in the options list at £375. It’s a great invention that helps stop sideways skids and it comes as standard on rivals the Mercedes-Benz Citan, Volkswagen Caddy and Ford Transit Connect (though not the Renault Kangoo). As most business van buyers are pretty tight for cash, it means they probably won’t pay for ESC, which we reckon is pretty short-sighted.
  • One other gripe is that the 12-volt take-off is on the floor between the seats, which means that if you use a plug-in sat-nav unit the wires trail across the dash and get tangled up with the gear lever. Very annoying actually.
  • Final moan is that the climate control on our test vehicle came as an option at an eye-watering £795! Are they having a laugh?

 

Business Van verdict

The upshot of this Fiat van review is that small vans don’t come much more practical and better built than the Doblo XL, if you are prepared to ignore those rather bizarre outer lines.

The superb build quality should see this van giving many years of reliable service – and we reckon it’ll be a good seller at the end of its first life too.

What you need to know

 

OTR price (ex-VAT) £16,465
Load lengths 2170mm
Load width 1714mm
Load heights 1550mm
Load capacity 5 cubic m
Payload 1000kg
GVW 2460kg
Towing capacity (braked/unbraked) N/A
Engine 1.6 litre 4-cyl turbodiesel
Power 105bhp
Torque 290Nm
Economy (combined) 47.1mpg
CO2 emisions 158g/km

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