Buyers Guide to the Fiat Ducato

  • Fiat Ducato is the underrated large panel van
  • Most fuel efficient in class with up to 45.6mpg combined
  • Over 10,000 different derivative to choose from

The Fiat Ducato is one of the longest running names in this segment, with the first van going on sale in 1981, alongside sister vans the Peugeot Boxer and the Citroen Relay. The latest generation was launched in 2006, with a major facelift following in 2014.

Fiat’s own 2.3-litre diesel and 3-litre diesel engines provide the power and there are five gross vehicle weights (3t, 3.3t, 3.5t, 4t and 4.25t), four load lengths and three roof heights, two trim levels and a payload range of between 995kg and 2190kg. In total, there are over 10,000 different derivatives.

In the cab

Fiat Ducato review

Visibility is excellent on the new Fiat Ducato thanks to the low sitting windows and dashboard, and the elevated seating position. There is an abundance of storage spaces and the buttons on the dashboard for the infotainment and circulation systems are large and easy-to-follow.

Fiat Ducato review

The “Classic” trim includes radio with Bluetooth and USB connectivity, air conditioning, refrigerated cubby, remote central locking 12-volt socket, driver armrest, Hill Holder Assist, while the “Technico” comes with U-Connect (voice and touchscreen control) DAB Radio with five-inch touchscreen and Satellite Navigation, LED lights, parking sensors, camera and fog lights.

Engine and driveline

Fiat Ducato review

A wide choice of engines is offered on the Fiat Ducato, with 108bhp/300Nm, 128bhp/320Nm and 146bhp/350Nm power ratings on the 2.3-litre and a 175bhp/400Nm rating on the 3-litre. Unlike most of vans in the segment, the Fiat Ducato is only available in front wheel drive.

All engines are coupled to a six-speed manual gearbox, although a six-speed “Comfort-Matic” automatic transmission is also available on all but the entry-level 108bhp engine.

Fiat Ducato review

Euro-6 engines haven’t yet been announced for the Fiat Ducato, so for those considering buying in next year, it be worth purchasing as soon as possible as the upgrade, which presents little practical advantages, will increase the list price. However, Euro-5 vans will not be allowed to drive into the proposed Ultra-Low Emission Zone.

Load Area

Fiat Ducato review

There is a wide choice of variants (four body lengths and three roof heights), offering load volumes of between eight and 17 cubic metres. These correspond to load lengths of 2,670mm, 3,120mm, 3,705mm and 4,070mm, roof heights of 1,662mm, 1,932mm and 2,172mm and a standard width of 1,870mm (1,422mm between the wheelarches).

A nearside, side loading door is provided as standard and, at 1,075mm wide, is able to accommodate a Euro pallet sideways. A full, solid bulkhead, six lashing points and two interior lights are standard, whereas protective flooring and side panelling is optional.

Fiat Ducato review

There are five nominal gross vehicle weights; 3t, 3.3t, 3.5t, 4t and 4.25t, with the three ‘heaviest’ variants branded as the ‘Fiat Ducato Maxi’. Low chassis and engine weight means that the Fiat Ducato is able to offer one of the best payloads in its class; rated at up to 1,640kg at 3.5t.

Total Life Cost

Fiat Ducato review

Both the engines, developed by Fiat Power Trains (FPT), are noted for their fuel efficiency and low total life costs. Service intervals are set at a wide 30,000 miles, while the fuel economy is rated up to 45.6mpg, making the Fiat Ducato the most fuel efficient van in its class.

There are 153 Fiat Professional dealerships nationwide, which includes many Iveco dealers, who offer weekend and evening servicing along with excellent breakdown and recovery services. The Fiat Ducato has never featured in the van reliability survey, but the warranty is very respectable at three years or 120,000 miles.

Summary

Fiat Ducato review

The Fiat Ducato is an underrated product, and featured in our Top Five Large Panel Vans for 2015. It’s very comfortable, refined and productive, with the most fuel efficient engine in the sector and one of the best payloads.

Prospective buyers should keep checking the Fiat Professional website, which offers special deals on financing and servicing. The latest service deals include the Maxximum Care warranty extensions, ‘Easycare Professional’ maintenance contract and Hire Purchase deals starting from £225 per month.

Fiat Ducato review

Those specifying the smallest, eight cubic metre variant might be worth considering a long wheelbase, high roof medium panel van. The load volumes of medium vans like the Ford Transit Custom nowadays go up to 8.3 cubic metres and payloads up to 1,500kg, so productivity isn’t compromised, while offering much better running costs.

One of the most common upgrades on the Fiat Ducato, and one that we would recommend, is rear parking sensors. There is a protective PVC cargo floor cover for £390, although a third party company will be able to ply line the load area for around £150.