Fiat Doblo review
No-frills Fiat Doblo is a budget MPV that mixes space and value with up to seven seats
The original Fiat Doblo helped to set the template for budget MPVs as their popularity soared. Its successor follows the same approach and majors on space rather than style. It comes with a choice of two economical diesel engines and the option of seven seats, while all models feature twin sliding rear side doors as standard. It’s not the most attractive choice on the market and lower-spec models represent the best value, but don't let the looks of the Doblo put you off if space is what you need.
Our choice: Fiat Doblo 1.6 Multijet MyLife
If you want lots of space on a budget, you’re going to have to make compromises, and style is usually the first thing to go. In fairness, the latest Fiat Doblo is better looking than its quirky predecessor, but the Peugeot Partner Tepee and Citroen Berlingo Multispace are both better looking alternatives. Inside is simple and attractive enough, but there are some low-rent plastics on show and build quality is flimsy in places. The gearlever is positioned high on the dash, so it’s perfectly placed, and the huge windows make for excellent visibility.
Looks can be deceptive, because the no-nonsense Fiat Doblo is surprisingly good to drive, with suspension that copes well with bumpy roads and lots of grip. Predictably there’s plenty of body roll in corners and the entry-level engines lack puff. If you intend to specify the optional extra third row of seats and use the Doblo as a seven-seater, the smaller 105bhp 1.6-litre diesel isn’t the strongest performer (0-62mph takes 13.4 seconds). Low-mileage drivers shouldn’t ignore the cheaper petrol, but don’t expect lively performance or great cruising refinement.
Entry-level Doblos are available for the same price as a new supermini, but the Fiat doesn’t skimp on important safety kit, as electronic stability control comes as standard across the range. However, you’ll need to make the step up to mid-range trim if you want more than a pair of airbags. The latest Doblo hasn’t been put through a Euro NCAP crash test and it doesn’t appear in our annual Driver Power satisfaction survey results, yet Fiat has enjoyed mixed fortunes in our poll over the years. Things are improving slowly, but you can expect the odd loose piece of interior trim if our experience of the Doblo is anything to go by.
This is where the Fiat Doblo makes real sense. The huge cabin, massive sliding rear doors and vast boot make the Fiat a brilliant family car with plenty of space for bikes, buggies and pushchairs. In five-seat mode you get a decent 790-litre boot, but up to 3,200 litres is on offer if you need it and there’s even a high-roof option if that isn’t enough. The gigantic rear tailgate on the Doblo is a great rain shelter when you're out and about, but it can make getting access to the boot tricky in tight parking spaces; you may want to consider the optional side-hinged twin rear doors. The Family Pack includes opening rear side windows, roof rails and an extra pair of seats in the boot.
There are three engine options available in the Fiat Doblo. They include a 1.4-litre petrol and 1.6 and 2.0-litre Multijet diesels. The smaller diesel promises claimed economy of 54.3mpg but low mileage drivers should beware; the higher cost of the diesel variant could wipe out any savings you make on your fuel bill, so do your sums. A third row of seats is part of the Family Pack, which is another costly consideration; for the same price as a top of the range seven-seat Doblo you could buy a proper compact MPV like the Chevrolet Orlando. However, if you want this much space for the money, the Doblo is hard to beat.