- Good quality cabin
- Strong diesel performance
- Easy to manoeuvre in tight spaces
- Noisy at motorway speeds
- Not suited to long distances
The Fiat Fiorino is a small but versatile van that is perfectly suited to working in towns and cities. It's the sister van to the Peugeot Bipper and Citroen Nemo - the three look almost identical in fact. Its strength is manoeuvrability - at under four metres long it can squeeze into small spaces, helped by a tight turning circle.
That's not to say it isn't practical though - a Euro pallet can fit between the wheel-arches (with a couple of centimetres to spare each side), and it can be bought with one or two sliding side doors. Diesel engines make the most sense and they're impressively refined, nippy and fuel efficient.
A good choice for small businesses who need a cheap to run and reliable van, the Fiorino is also available as a Combi version that can carry up to five people.
In mid-2016 it was updated with a mild facelift (just the font bumper and wheel choices) when the engines were brought into line with Euro 6 emissions regulations.
Skip to our full verdict on...
Fiat has worked hard to minimise noise and vibration in the cabin and the Fiorino certainly feels well built, with decent noise insulation at lower speeds. It can be a little raucous at higher speeds though, and due to the super-short wheelbase and firm suspension it isn't a very comfortable choice if you regularly tackle motorways.
On the plus side it handles well in corners and feels safe, even if the steering is on the light side. It's great in town too, with good visibility and a small turning circle making slotting into tight spaces easy.
There are two engines available: a 1.4-litre petrol and a 1.3-litre MultiJet turbodiesel. These have seen only minor changes over the Fiorino's life, though the initial 75hp diesel offering was later joined by a more powerful variant, improving its already surprisingly swift performance.
That said, in mid-2016 the Fiorino's engines received an update to meet Euro 6 emissions regulations. This saw the petrol go from 75hp to 77hp, while the entry-level diesel went from 75hp to 80hp. The top spec diesel stayed at 95hp.
For most buyers the diesels make the better choice, as they have stronger torque (up to 200Nm) and can easily keep up with fast-flowing motorway traffic. They also return far greater fuel economy, claiming over 70mpg on some models.
Cabin quality is good and the Fiat's interior feels well finished and strongly constructed. The majority of switches and controls are borrowed from Fiat passenger cars such as the Panda and Grande Punto, which feel much nicer than the cheaper items often fitted in vans.
It's very car-like generally, in fact, and thanks to plenty of adjustment in both the seat and steering wheel, finding a good driving position is simple.
The standard stereo is very easy to use with large buttons, though the optional sat-nav offered on later models is a little fiddly. The venitlation dials are also very straightforward, and seems to work well even if you can't justify the expense of the optional climate control system.
Better yet there are no less than 12 open and enclosed storage compartments inside, including a document shelf, door pockets designed to hold a one litre drinks bottle and even laptop computer storage. Bluetooth is available, but it's only fitted as standard on higher-specification models.
Thanks to its frugal diesel engines, the Fiorino should be cheap to run. Depending on the age of the vehicle and whether stop-start is fitted, the 1.3-litre MultiJet can return over 70mpg and even in town should manage over 40mpg - far better than the alternative 1.4-litre petrol.
Service intervals were initially set at 18,000 miles or 24 months, but these have grown to 21,000 miles with later engine updates; reputedly the diesel engine has been designed to cover more than 150,000 miles without significant part replacement - though we strongly recommend you visit the dealer on a regular basis in order to make sure safety levels are up to scratch.
The Fiorino's front end design places the expensive headlights well out of harm's way - high and well back from the curving edge of the protruding bumper. This should reduce damage and repair costs in the event of low speed frontal impacts.
Fiat doesn't have a great reputation for reliability but its modern vehicles have improved vastly. Its dealers haven't been quite as swift in terms of customer satisfaction, but they are getting better.
The 1.3-litre diesel engine has been well proven in Fiat passenger cars and the quality cabin also borrow features from other models.
The Fiorino was developed jointly with Peugeot and Citroen and all three versions of the small van have proved reliable.
A slightly mixed bag here, as although the Fiorino's side doors have been designed to resist flying open in an accident, yet remain useable afterwards, a nine-bar steel ladder is the only standard protectiob between the driver and the load compartment (there's nothing behind the passenger) and only the driver gets an airbag.
You can add a passenger airbag and pair of side airbags from the options list, however, and Fiat offers a wide range of bulkhead upgrades at extra cost.
All Fiorinos have an anti-lock braking system (ABS) with electronic brakeforce distribution, but there was no electronic stability control (ESC) available at all when the model was first introduced. Fiat has subsequently made ESC standard across the range, and you can even buy an Adventure model with enhanced Traction+ system and "mud and snow tyres" for added grip on slippery surfaces.
If buying secondhand, check to see that the vehicle has deadlocks fitted - as they too were optional initially, and even now are only standard on higher-spec models. Similarlty, remote central locking was restricted to SX trim upwards initially, but it's now fitted to all versions.