Fiat Doblo review
The Fiat Doblo is a van-based MPV with lots of space that’s better to drive than you might expect
The Fiat Doblo, like other van-based MPVs, offers the ability carry lots of people or stuff for a relatively modest price. There are drawbacks to this cheap and cheerful approach, chiefly around the way the Doblo looks and levels of interior quality that don’t match those of purpose-built passenger cars but the Doblo hides its commercial vehicle roots better than most of it rivals.
Independent rear suspension adds an extra level of composure to the driving experience while light controls and a huge glass area make it easy to use in town. With a 790-litre boot or the optional Family Pack adding two extra seats for £900 this is a vehicle that excels in terms of practicality for the price.
The Fiat Doblo was originally launched in 2000 but this second generation model turned up in 2009 and was facelifted in 2015. The van version is known as the Doblo Cargo while the MPV is just plain old Doblo.
The current Doblo is unique in the van-based MPV sector as it comes with Fiat’s bi-link independent rear suspension. It’s a more sophisticated set-up than you’ll find on rivals and helps the Doblo deliver greater composure on the road while still coping with weighty cargos.
The wider market for van-based MPVs sees the Fiat Doblo go up against the Citroen Berlingo Multispace, Peugeot Partner Tepee, Renault Kangoo, Ford Torneo Connect and others. But buyers may also be considering it alongside small MPVs based on car platforms like the Vauxhall Mervia and Ford B-MAX. Typically these kinds of cars feel a lot plusher than the Fiat but they’re also significantly more expensive and less spacious. The van-based MPV sector is basically a route to maximum interior space for minimum cash.
The Fiat Doblo range kicks off with a 94bhp 1.4-litre petrol engine and from there it’s diesel all the way. There’s a 1.6-litre Multijet diesel that fills out the rest of the line-up in 89bhp, 94bhp, 104bhp and 118bhp versions but only the Multijet 95 (94bhp) and Multijet 120 (118bhp) are Euro 6 compliant. A Dualogic automated manual gearbox is available as an option and that comes only with the 89bhp diesel.
In terms of trim levels, the Pop opens proceedings with a pretty basic quota of kit. We’d always aim to step up to the Easy version, which has body coloured bumpers, fog lights and steering wheel audio controls. You need to pay £350 for the Easy Air that adds air-conditioning but that’s money well spent in a car with such a huge glass area. Better still is the Lounge with its cruise control, rear parking sensors, upgraded stereo and side airbags. At the top of the range is the Trekking which has mild off-road styling accessories and a Traction + electronic differential to find extra grip on loose surfaces.
The key options to consider on the Doblo are the high roof which extends the top of the vehicle for even more interior space and the Family Pack that turns the standard 5-seat Doblo into one of the cheapest 7-seater cars on the market with two extra seats in the boot.
In this review
- 1Verdict - currently readingThe Fiat Doblo is a van-based MPV with lots of space that’s better to drive than you might expect
- 2Engines, performance and driveDon’t expect blistering pace but the Doblo’s diesels are up to the job and the drive is better than you’d think
- 3MPG, CO2 and Running CostsFuel economy is nothing to write home about but the Doblo should be tough and otherwise cheap to run
- 4Interior, design and technologyThe Doblo feels built to last but it looks like a van and some of the passenger car creature comforts are missing
- 5Practicality, comfort and boot spaceThere’s a lot of room in the Doblo, but it’s a shame so much of it is located above your head where it’s not as useful.
- 6Reliability and SafetyThe basic safety kit is standard and the Doblo should be reliable, if only because there’s little to go wrong.