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The Fiat Ducato has been in production since 1981 and it’s now in its sixth iteration, following a facelift and a series of updates in 2014. It shares its design with the popular Citroen Relay and Peugeot Boxer but gets its own range of engines.Although there are minor differences between the three vans, the basic architecture is the same and it’s an extremely capable machine.It scores well in terms of payload (see Top 10 vans for Payload at 3.5t) and fuel efficiency (Read best large vans for fuel economy for the full list), and the 2014 overhaul gave the Ducato an attractive new front end along with improved emissions, running costs and durability.To find out more, read on for the full Fiat Ducato review.
Driving the new Ducato is a fairly pleasant experience thanks to its quiet, refined road manners. There’s a six-way adjustable driver’s seat, moveable arm rest and an adjustable steering wheel with audio controls. Air-conditioning and, from 2014, Bluetooth are both standard.The 2014 updates also saw the addition of larger cupholders and the choice of either a centre console with USB/aux-in ports or a covered storage compartment. Furthermore, the clipboard holder on top of the dashboard has been redesigned to accommodate smarphones and tablets. Top ‘Tecnico’ models feature a touchscreen sat-nav and multimedia system with DAB radio and a reversing camera display.For passengers there’s the option of a two-seat bench (the middle seat can be folded flat as a table) or a single seat. Each seat has storage compartments underneath.Door storage includes a bottle holder, a space for the tyre repair kit and smaller mid-height pockets.
Fiat has done away with the three engines installed in the pre-2011 Ducato, favouring four power outputs from two engine capacities in the new model. Each is Euro5+ emissions compliant, with lower CO2 emissions than the version it replaces.There’s a 2.3-litre diesel available with 109, 128 or 148bhp or a potent 3.0-litre diesel with 177bhp. Torque is rated at 300, 320, 350 or 400Nm respectively. Both the 2.3 and 3.0-litre units impress on the road, pulling well while remaining quiet and refined.The 2.3-litre engine is available with stop/start, which is claimed to reduce fuel consumption considerably around town.A six-speed manual gearbox is standard, while all engines apart from the 109bhp version can be had with a six-speed ‘Comfort-Matic’ automatic gearbox. This is actually a manual gearbox which has been converted to an auto, with the effect of reducing fuel consumption in easy-to-drive automatic mode while retaining the flexibility of manual operation where required. However, it is a bit on the slow side to change gear.Although a large van, the Ducato is easy to manoeuvre and park. The turning circle is 11m for the short wheelbase version, 12.46m for medium and 14.28m for long wheelbase models. Compared to a short wheelbase VW Crafter, which has a 12.3m turning circle, the Ducato is an agile machine.