In the mean time, it's good to gauge what Fiats are like based on Ducato which is pretty good all things considered.

It sells directly against the Renault Master and Ford Transit sitting between the two in terms of desirability with the Renault definitely in pole position.

There are seven Ducato models available all with the same powertrain. Our test vehicle was the low roof model.

 

  • Turbo diesel engine is a 2.8-litre four cylinder, common rail unit with 94kW/300Nm output. Plenty of oomph for big hills and heavy loads.

     

  • Transmission is a five speed manual with no auto available. Stubby shifter conveniently located high on the dash, within easy reach of fingers. Renault Master has a six speeder.

     

  • Engine is fairly quiet and smooth and can return excellent economy in mixed driving. We got about 10.0L/100km, with 800km from a full 80-litre tank, .

     

  • Low roof model takes a couple of pallets and has payload of just under 1.5 tonnes. Load area is 2860mm long, 1808mm wide and 1562mm high.

     

  • Access to load area is simplified by wide opening rear barn doors and a left hand side slider.

     

  • Cabin is fully separated from load space, with a small window for rear vision. Roomy with seating for driver and two passengers.

     

  • Rubber floor mat a big help in stabilising loads but covers tie-down rings. No tie off points provided on walls which is a baffling oversight.

     

  • Suspension is simple leaf springs at the rear, easily copes with heavy loads, gives reasonable level of comfort too.

     

  • Drive is to front wheels with benefits in load area.

     

  • Rear bumper doubles as step.

     

  • Passenger compartment set up for work with storage compartments and document holders. Big door bins with holders for sports bottles.

     

  • Seats are upright _ tiring over long drive but have arm rests. Driver's seat is height adjustable and steering wheel is reach adjust- able.

     

  • Safety equipment includes ABS and dual airbags. Passenger airbag can be switched off if a child's car seat is installed.

     

  • Good standard equipment level includes aircon, power windows and mirrors, a decent audio system, remote central locking and height adjustable driver's seat.

     

  • Upper and lower rear vision mirrors are provided, with wide angle vision on lower mirrors. They are individually adjustable.

     

  • Bad, plasticky smell inside cabin.

     

  • Tight turning circle for big van.

     

  • Easy access to cabin. But needs corner hand- holds to go with step.

     

  • Looks good for a one box van.