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GO LARGE! (some text hidden)
By Jonathan Crouch
The improved Fiat Doblo Cargo XL van offers small van operators the one thing they crave more than anything: sheer utility. Jonathan Crouch reports
Ten Second Reviewword count: 57
The improved Fiat Doblo XL van's combination of a long wheelbase and a high roof makes it a tempting choice in the compact van market, this vehicle offering a load volume of 5.0 cubic metres and a payload of 1,000kg. With three frugal turbodiesel engines to choose from, Fiat could be onto a winner with this one.
Backgroundword count: 117
Fiat's Doblo compact van has come an awful long way from the rather awkward-looking thing launched here around the turn of the century. Today, it's a confident commercial design that offers one of the most spacious choices in the segment, especially in the improved form we're going to look at here. There's been a shift in recent years to more capable small vans that can do more than deliver flowers and pizzas, vehicles with heavy duty potential and this Doblo XL reflects that, offering operators the utility they need at a price they'll like. With some great diesel engines on offer, the Doblo in this form looks to have really come of age in the commercial sector.
Driving Experienceword count: 206
Predictably from a manufacturer that pioneered the common-rail diesel technology that now dominates the engine bays of our top commercial vehicles, Fiat has given the Doblo a strong range of engines. There are Multijet common-rail diesels in 1.3, 1.6 and 2.0-litre guises. The 1.3-litre Multijet II oil-burner has 95bhp and the 1.6 Multijet II unit ups the torque output to 105bhp - or 90bhp if you choose the 'Comfort-Matic' automatic version. Finally, the 2.0-litre Multijet flagship has 135bhp with a meaty 320Nm of torque, which is a serious amount of muscle for a compact van. With this revised model, the cornerstone 1.3-litre and 1.6-litre turbo-diesel engines benefit from enhanced responsiveness - more torque from lower revs - and improved efficiency of up to 12 percent. In the case of the 1.3-litre MultiJet II engine, for example, this responsiveness has increased by approximately 40 percent compared to the model it replaces, resulting in greater flexibility for more relaxed and efficient driving as well as livelier performance when circumstances demand. Most compact vans have a heavy duty torsen beam but the Doblo goes for a transverse linkage hinged from a central anchor point. It means operators can expect a little extra finesse from this Fiat over the bumps.
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