New Fiat Doblo: The same, but biggerComment on this story
Fiat has re-invented its Doblo van, a little bigger all round - supersized it, if you will.
Although it bears a strong family resemblance to its predecessor the new Doblo is longer, at 4390mm (4740 in the long-wheelbase Maxi version), wider at 1832mm (Maxi 1880mm) and higher at 1854mm high.
Its wheelbase has been stretched to 2755mm, giving it a load bay volume of 3.4m3, while the Doblo Maxi, with a 3105mm wheelbase, can swallow 4.2m3.
One important dimension that has stayed the same, however, is the sill height of the load bay - 545mm off the ground.
The cargo bay has been squared off so that even the short-wheelbase version can take two standard euro pallets, weighing up to maximum of 750kg - or a full tonne with the optional, heavy-duty suspension which, by the way, is standard on the Maxi.
The sliding side-access doors and asymmetrical swing rear doors have new, ambidextrous handles, sized for hands wearing work gloves, and the rear door handle can be opened with one finger - which is great when you're struggling with a large, awkward package.
Thanks to a taller roof, the overhead shelf in the passenger section is deeper and more functional than the one in the previous model. The side door holders can accommodate two half-litre bottles and an A4-sized folder each, while the lockable glove compartment will take a 14” laptop - and there's a second, open oddments tray above it for cellphones, pens and coins.
Doblo customers have a choice of one petrol and two diesel engines: the 1.4 petrol and 1.3 Multijet in short-wheelbase format and the 1.6 Multijet Maxi in long-wheelbase configuration.
The 1.4-litre petrol engine develops 70kW at 6000rpm and 127Nm at 4500pm. Driving through a five-speed manual transmission, it averages 7.2 litres per 100km on a combined cycle route at a cost to the environment of 169g/km of CO2.
The 1.3 Multijet, also with five-speed manual, is rated for 66kW at 4000rpm and 200Nm at 1750rpm, running on a claimed 5.2 litres pewr 100km and emitting 136g/km of CO2.
The 1.6 Multijet has a claimed 77kW at 4000rpm and 290Nm at just 1500rpm. It uses a six-speed manual gearbox to keep fuel consumption down to a combined figure of 5.4 litres per 100km and CO2 emissions to 143g/km.
Bi-link independent rear suspension ensures that even the most fragile of loads remains well looked after, while anti-lock braking with electronic brake force distribution help keep the side that's supposed to be up, up.
All Doblo models come with a three-year or 100 000km warranty and a four-year or 60 000km service plan.
Doblo Cargo 1.4 - R159 900
Doblo Cargo 1.3 Multijet - 174 000
Doblo Cargo Maxi 1.6 Multijet - R202 000
(Available from June 2012)