Fiat Doblo Cargo

Our Rating: 
4.2
4.2/5.0
Price Range: 
£12,565 to £17,500
By Auto Express Test TeamComments

Second-generation Fiat Doblo Cargo is a huge improvement and it has one of the broadest line-ups available

For: 
Very good drive, wide spread of capacities and volumes
Against: 
Residual values, ESC not standard

The Fiat’s Doblo Cargo has one of the widest ranges of load volume and carrying capacity in the mid-weight market. Short and long wheelbases versions of low and high roof models, Combi variants with a second row of seating and the Work-Up pick-up... you're spoiled for choice. You can have a petrol engine, a choice of three diesels, manual and automated manual gearboxes and up to 1 tonne of payload. Plus, Doblo offers a really good drive with low running costs, too.

MPG and Running Costs

4.1

Entry level Doblo Cargos comes with a choice of 1.4-litre petrol engine, delivering 95bhp, or a 1.3-litre MultiJet diesel offering 90bhp. There’s also a 1.6-litre MultiJet diesel that's offered with 105bhp with a manual gearbox or with 90bhp when partnered with Fiat’s Comfort-Matic six-speed automated manual. The top of the range is a 2.0-litre MultiJet delivering 135bhp. While few people will opt for the petrol engine, it does deliver 40mpg in fuel economy and 163g/km of CO2 emissions. The MultiJet diesel engines offer 50-58mpg with emissions of 126-148g/km in shorter models, dropping to 49-51mpg in the XL long and high models. These are impressive figures, far better than the Ford Transit Connect or Volkswagen Caddy vans, and on a par with the Citroen Berlingo. Service intervals are set at an equally impressive 21,000 miles.

Load Space and Practicality

4

The Doblo Cargo is available in short and long-wheelbase models with low and high-roof versions for each length. There are also Combi models on both wheelbases, with a second folding row of seating behind the driver, plus the Work-Up flatbed pick-up model, that offers a huge load area for bulky loads. With the XL long and high model taking load volumes up to a full 5.0 cubic metres, and Doblo Cargos capable of carrying a 1-tonne load, there is nothing else at this weight to match the van’s broad spread of carrying abilities. The Volkswagen Caddy Maxi, for instance, comes close in terms of load space, but can only handle up to 745kg of load, while the Transit Connect can carry 908kg but only offers up to 4.3 cubic metres of volume when using the folding passenger seat. Doblo vans are available with a single sliding side door or with two doors, making it easier to access loads in the rear. You can also choose between twin asymmetric rear doors, with or without glazing, or a lift-up tailgate. Maxi models offer 35cm of additional load length, while high-roof models add a further 25cm of height to the standard van. On the high-roof models, the rear doors are full height, making it easy to load from the rear or the side. Fiat offers a host of load-area accessories, including roof bars and carriers, tow bars and unusual pull-out loading ramps for the side or rear doors with a 250kg capacity, making it easy to roll a load into the van on a trolley or barrow. In the cab, there's overhead storage above the windscreen, door pockets and the seat base on the passenger seat flips up to store documents inside. However, there are better cab interiors for objects, phones and paperwork storage.  

Reliability and Safety

4

Unlike Ford, VW and Mercedes, Fiat has not equipped the Doblo Cargo with electronic stability control (ESC) as standard – it remains a £375 option. The Doblo does have disc brakes with ABS and the driver gets an airbag, though passenger and curtain airbags will cost you extra. Rear parking sensors are also on the options list, though they do come as standard on the Tecnico special edition Doblo. The Doblo Cargo feels relatively well screwed together – though some of the cab trim is a little flimsy, it does look like it could stand up to plenty of hard work. With service intervals set at 21,000 miles, Fiat is showing confidence in its engines, and much of the anecdotal evidence of Fiat's reliability probably relates to older models now. Doblo is covered under a three-year/120,000-mile warranty and comes with three years of AA Assurance cover to keep things moving.

Driving and Performance

4.1

Even the smallest 1.3-litre MultiJet diesel engine pulls really well and is happy to push the Doblo along pretty easily, despite having only five forward gears in the manual gearbox. Move up to the 1.6-litre diesel engine and you have the choice of five-speed manual or the six-speed Comfort-Matic automated manual, which is very smooth in operation and doesn’t cost a lot in fuel consumption. If you need to carry the full 1-tonne payload, the 135bhp 2.0-litre will probably be the engine of choice, and driving through a standard six-speed manual gearbox, this MultiJet engine is also smooth and powerful. All the Euro 5 diesel engines come with stop-start, where the engine stops while the vehicle is stationary and the gearbox is in neutral, restarting automatically as the driver depresses the clutch pedal prior to pulling away. The Doblo comes with bi-link independent rear suspension that helps to carry the load and provide smooth, secure handling. The van really is a pleasure to drive.

Cab and Interior

3.8

The basic Doblo Cargo can be a pretty sparse place to spend the day, despite funky seat trims and dash colours. There is adequate storage, though VW’s Caddy and the Mercedes Citan provide a more solid feel. Pay an additional £600 to move up to an SX trim and you get bulkhead soundproofing, a height-adjustable steering wheel, a passenger seat undertray for storage, electric windows and mirrors, high-performance loudspeakers and a radio/CD/MP3 player. Pay £1,730 above the SX and you can have the range-topping Tecnico model, with reverse parking sensors, air-conditioning, Bluetooth connectivity, steering wheel-mounted audio controls, a powered mounting for a TomTom sat-nav built into the dash top and the nav unit to go in it. For lesser models, air-conditioning is a £595 option, while front fog lights will set you back £95. Cruise control is £135 and reverse parking sensors are £185. 

Van dimensions

Body style Height Width Length
Short low-roof van 1,845mm 1,832mm 4,390mm
Long high-roof van 2,100mm 1,832mm 4,390mm
Long low-roof van 1,880mm 1,832mm 4,740mm
XL long high-roof van 2,125mm 1,832mm 4,740mm
Short low-roof Combi 1,845mm 1,832mm 4,390mm
Long low-roof Combi 1,880mm 1,832mm 4,740mm
XL long high-roof Combi 2,125mm 1,832mm 4,740mm
Work-Up pick-up 2,049mm 1,872mm 4,965mm

Load area dimensions

Body style Height Width Length Volume
Short low-roof van 1,305mm 1,714mm 1,820mm 3.4m3
Long high-roof van 1,550mm 1,714mm 1,820mm 4.0m3
Long low-roof van 1,305mm 1,714mm 2,170mm 4.2m3
XL long high-roof van 1,550mm 1,714mm 2,170mm 5.0m3
Short low-roof Combi 1,250mm 1,261mm 950mm 0.79m3
Long low-roof Combi 1,250mm 1,261mm 1,300mm 1.05m3
XL long high-roof Combi 1,950mm 1,261mm 1,300mm 1.1m3
Work-Up pick-up 1,368mm 1,818mm 2,300mm 1.54m3

Specifications

  • Power: 90bhp – 135bhp
  • Weight (GVW): 1,990kgkg – 2,505kg
  • Payload: 750kg – 1,000kg
  • Loading height (approx, unladen): 545mm – 890mm

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Last updated: 11 Jul, 2013
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