Road Test: Nine-seater Fiat Talento Combi LWB review 29 March 2018 Full Fiat Talento (16 on) Model Review by Christofer Lloyd, Finance Editor Version Rating: 4 out of 5 Model Rating: 4 out of 5 Basically a small minibus - but still good to drive Loads of room for people and luggage Our Finance Editor compares it to a regular MPV Fiat Talento (16 on) LWB 1.6 Ecojet (145ps) 12 SX Combi Start Stop - Road Test No standard car provides you with space for nine adults and no MPV offers as large a boot as a long-wheelbase (LWB) medium van. Which is where the appeal of this nine-seater Fiat Talento Combi comes in. 29 March 2018 Road Test Facts & Figures Vans for Sale No standard car provides you with space for nine adults and no MPV offers as large a boot as a long-wheelbase (LWB) medium van. Which is where the appeal of this nine-seater Fiat Talento Combi comes in. If you need to carry a lot of people, plus tonnes of luggage or work kit – or need a pleasant-to-drive minicab or airport shuttle – the Talento trounces even the largest of conventional people carriers, such as the Ford Galaxy and Volkswagen Sharan. In most powerful 145hp form and top-spec SX trim, the Talento will cost you though - £27,085 excluding VAT (£33,831 on the road, including VAT). This places it alongside high-spec versions of such people carriers in price, giving you the choice between sheer space of the van-based Fiat, and the added refinement and equipment available from car-based MPVs. As with the people carriers, however, savings of around £10,000 are available online, slashing the price down to around £24,000. More than enough space for nine adults At 5.4m long, the Talento is huge in car terms, but this absolutely pays off inside. Not only are there acres of space in all three rows, but six-footers should fit in all three – and there’s decent width too, so broad-shouldered passengers shouldn’t feel cramped as they might do in a people carrier. Disappointingly, there are only Isofix attachments for two child seats, meaning that safety-concerned parents looking to fit more than two child seats may want to look elsewhere. Furthermore, only the left middle seat folds forward to let people into the rearmost row, making access a little trickier than it should be. Unsurprisingly, space in the front middle seat is a little on the tight side, too. The driver, on the other hand, is well catered for, with a reasonably up-to-date touchscreen infotainment system, which is mostly easy to use. A steering-column-mounted growth makes it easy to adjust the audio controls on the move, too. The front seats are comfortable with decent back and side support, while the high driving position gives a very good view of the road ahead – and you sit higher than in most SUVs. Throw in large, low windows and a good view over the bonnet and the Talento is also particularly easy to place on the road. Vast amount of luggage room, though weak luggage divider disappoints The Talento’s sheer size means that despite offering room for nine adults, the boot is substantial. In addition to plenty of floor space, there’s an adjustable two-part load cover to boost practicality. This means you can load bags above and below the cover, though the load cover itself is very weak – put even a moderately heavy bag on it and we imagine it’d bend dramatically. Taking advantage of the clear space underneath the two rear rows of seats is likely to prove more useful. Surprisingly enjoyable to drive with plenty of muscle Despite its origins as a van, the Talento is nicer to drive than many cars. The motor is quiet, smooth and strong in 145hp form, with little engine noise and an enormous amount of punch at low engine speeds – perfect for a vehicle likely to be carting around a host of people and kit. More than this, it’s particularly easy to drive – despite its size – with an easy-to-balance clutch, slick gearchange and no need to work the engine hard to make good progress thanks to its keen 340Nm of torque. Rev the engine more and it pulls strongly, though it becomes noisy and coarse if you hold onto gears for too long, with little payoff in the form of acceleration; simply change gear early and all is well. The Talento also proves comfortable, with the smooth suspension proving unflustered by speed bumps and undulations in the road; it feels very car-like, with only the roughest tarmac unsettling it. Adding to the car-like sensation is well-weighted steering that lets you place this Fiat accurately at parking speeds and on A-roads alike. Yes the wheel is a little heavy to turn at manoeuvring speeds, but it’s just about right around town and country roads. Oversized two-part wing mirrors, meanwhile, give you a very good idea of where the rear of the van is. As you’d expect, the boxy shape does whip up a lot of wind noise at motorway speeds, with an annoying whistle coming from around the windscreen in our test van and a medley of squeaks and rattles from the rear seats. Ignore those, though, and road and engine noise aren’t bad. Verdict Make use of all of the seats and the Talento is a great crew van, minicab or transport for a supersized family. It’s pleasant to drive and comfortable for passengers, too, and far bigger than any car. See this as an alternative people carrier to cart a smaller family around, however, and the Talento is simply too pricey if refinement on the motorway, equipment and style are high on your wishlist. Yes, big discounts are available, but these are available on numerous people carriers as well, so it’s worth thinking carefully about just how much space you really need.