FIAT Professional’s Ducato line-up just got safer with the introduction of ESP (Electronic Stability Programme) across all models in the range – vans, chassis cabs, combis and minibuses.
ESP uses information from various sensors to check if a vehicle is cornering safely. If the ESP computer senses the vehicle is going to skid, the appropriate wheel is braked or engine power reduced.
All vans will have to have ESP by November 2014
And ESP includes other technologies, too. It incorporates Load Adaptive Control (LAC), which recognises the size of the load on board and the vehicle’s centre of gravity allowing the systems to work at peak effectiveness.
Hydraulic Brake Assist (HBA) increases braking pressure under emergency conditions, and Anti-Slip Regulation (ASR) acts on individual brakes and/or temporarily reduces engine power to counteract the effects of one or both drive wheels skidding.
The Teutonic-sounding Motor Schleppmoment Regelung (MSR) ensures torque remains at the wheels following a sudden downshift on an incline.
There’s also Hill Holder, designed to make starting on slopes easier by holding the brake on momentarily after the driver has released the brake pedal.
The inclusion of Electronic Stability Programme – a major safety feature – anticipates an EU requirement for all vehicles to have ESP fitted as a standard from 31 October 2014.
The Ducato also offers the Traction+ system as an option. This traction-control system improves the vehicle’s handling on difficult terrain that offers poor grip.
The system simulates a self-locking differential. When one of the driven front wheels spins on a loose surface or over slippery terrain, the brakes are applied to that wheel as engine torque is transferred simultaneously to the wheel with better grip.
Traction+ is said to provide the business van benefits of lower kerb weight, lower loading height and less expensive maintenance costs than a traditional 4×4 system.
The Traction+ option costs £150, with the choice of multi-season or winter tyres, priced at £200.