New Fiat e-Doblo 2022 van review
Latest Doblo gets an all-electric version that's very familiar
The Fiat e-Doblo is very much the Italian firm's variation on an already existing theme. However, since it's based on what's already the small electric van class leader, that's not a bad thing in the slightest. Like its siblings, the e-Doblo is pretty basic as standard, but it's handy that the advanced tech is offered in value-driven packs that bundle all the best bits together. Another offer that could tempt buyers Fiat's way is its 555 offer, which offers five years of warranty, servicing and roadside assistance cover in a single affordable package.
The van world is awash with joint ventures, as companies try to maximise profits by using the same technology on multiple models, and the Fiat Doblo is certainly a product of that process. The last Doblo was produced in a joint venture with General Motors alongside the Vauxhall Combo. But when GM offloaded Vauxhall to PSA Peugeot Citroen, that partnership came to an end. However, now that PSA and Fiat are two prongs of the Stellantis Group, the Doblo once again shares much with the Combo, as well as the Citroen Berlingo, Peugeot Partner and Toyota Proace City. That also means there's now an all-electric e-Doblo as part of the new Doblo line-up.
Confused? You don't need to be, because essentially all of these vans are identical, save for a different front end design from the leading edge of the bonnet forward, while there are minor variations in terms of trim levels, options and aftersales back-up.
Externally, the e-Doblo has a smooth nose and Fiat's latest corporate branding, but other wise looks identical to the Citroen e-Berlingo - even the headlights are the same. That's not a bad thing, because the one-box shape means there's lots of space inside. Fiat offers the e-Doblo in L1, L2 and Crew Van body styles, and when you add the through-loading bulkhead (another option that's offered on all the e-Doblo's counterparts), there's up to 4.4 cubic metres of space in the L2 version.
Payload weights of up to 800kg are on offer, while the e-Doblo can tow up to one tonne, too. That's not far off what's available with the standard Doblo, but with the added benefit of zero-emissions driving.
There's a 50kWh battery mounted under the cargo floor (it doesn't have an impact on cargo volume), while a 100kW charging system means that the battery can be replenished from a high-voltage DC source from 0-80 per cent in half an hour. This gives the e-Doblo a maximum quoted range of 175 miles, although this will vary according to ambient temperature and payload.
While Fiat quotes a power output of 134bhp, this is only offered in Power mode, which is one of three drive settings that are available. In the default Normal setting, there's 108bhp on tap, but this is plenty for everyday driving. In fact, choose Power mode, and the throttle feels a little too eager to respond, meaning you have to adjust your driving style accordingly. It also knocks roughly 10 miles of range off the battery.
At the opposite end of the spectrum, Eco mode pegs power back to 81bhp, limits your top speed and also cuts the air conditioning to claw back roughly 10 miles of range. However, the van is so lacklustre in this mode that you end up trying to accelerate harder to make up for the lack of response. Eco mode is only really of use if you're getting low on charge and need the extra range - think of it like a reserve fuel tank on a petrol engine.
On the road, the e-Doblo is perfectly quiet and serene, and is certainly a lot easier to drive than a conventional petrol or diesel van, thanks to its single-speed transmission. Simply stick it in drive, and away you go. There is a 'B' mode for the transmission that boosts energy recuperation when you lift off the throttle - similar in strength to a manual model slowing in a low gear - but we'd only recommend using this at urban speeds, because it can make for jerky progress when cruising on dual carriageways, for example.
In reality, and like all the other Stellantis small electric vans, the e-Doblo is at its best at low speeds around town, where its manoeuvrability, sharp acceleration and ease of use come into its own. Keep the speed down, and you'll likely come close to the actual range estimated by the trip computer.
The e-Doblo is pretty basic as standard, but Fiat offers a variety of packs that enhance the spec list. Among the features on offer are a permanent rear-view camera display in place of a mirror, while the blind-spot camera could also come in useful. There's touchscreen navigation, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, and kit such as the Comfort Drive Assist Pack adds lane monitoring, tiredness alert and speed limit recognition.
One highlight of the e-Doblo is the availability of Fiat Professional's 555 package. This optional aftermarket pack adds a five-year warranty, plus servicing and roadside assistance cover for the same period. It could be enough to swing buyers Fiat's way over its sibling rivals.
|Price:||from £31,780 (exc. VAT)|
|Powertrain:||E-motor, 50kWh battery|
Single-speed auto, front-wheel drive
|Top speed:||80mph (limited)|
|Max charging:||100kW (0-80% in 30 mins)|
|Cargo volume:||Up to 4.4 cubic metres|
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