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Fiat Ducato

The independent definitive Fiat Ducato van video review
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    GOING FOR AN ITALIAN (some text hidden)

    By Jonathan Crouch

    Fiat's largest van, the Ducato, ups its game in this much improved form. Jonathan Crouch drives it.

    Ten Second Reviewword count: 90

    Fiat's Ducato might not be the first name on your LCV shortlist for a large van, but the latest much improved 'Series 8' model definitely merits your attention, with enhanced Multijet3 diesel power and a full-EV option too. Spun off the same platform as the Peugeot Boxer, the Vauxhall Movano and the Citroen Relay, the Ducato continues to score in four key areas; robustness, low running costs, a wide range of body options and load area flexibility. And now offers a fifth attribute: increased cabin sophistication with impressive media connectivity.

    Backgroundword count: 239

    The Fiat Ducato. It's the company's largest van, the flagship of its commercial vehicle range since 1981 and, according to the Italian brand, the most important model in its LCV line-up. That's certainly the case in mainland Europe, where it's the best selling commercial vehicle of any kind, regardless of category, number one in terms of sales in twelve different countries. Here though, it's a less familiar sight than it should be on our roads, something Fiat set out to change when it launched this much improved 'X290'-series sixth generation version in 2014, a design enhanced first in 2020, then again in 2022 to create this much improved 'Series 8' model we're going to look at here. The fundamentals here are pretty familiar because they're shared with three other competing models in the large van segment, the Peugeot Boxer, the Citroen Relay and (latterly) the Vauxhall Movano. Fiat uses its own powerplants though and as part of the 'Series 8' update, gave the Ducato a bit more visual and technological sophistication to set this LCV apart, not only from its design cousins but also from other key segment rivals. The core reasons you might want one though, lie as before with the wide range of body styles and the affordable running costs, aided here by the introduction of a fresh Multijet 3 diesel powertrain and the option of a new 9-speed auto transmission. There's also a full-electric version too.

    Driving Experienceword count: 248

    Fiat has established itself as a centre of excellence for diesel engine technology and the latest Euro6D MultiJet3 engines found under the bonnets of this improved Ducato reinforce that reputation. As usual in a van, diesel is the only combustion option, the whole range based around the same 2.3-litre Multijet engine, improved for efficiency, refinement and durability, developing either 120hp, 140hp, 160hp or 180hp and usually supplied with the 6-speed manual gearbox we're trying here. Providing you avoid the entry-level unit, optional with this revised 'Series 8' model is a new 'AT9' ZF 9-speed auto transmission with three driving modes - 'Normal', 'Eco' and 'Power'. That torque converter gearbox is far better than the previous rather jerky robotised auto. The only powertrain that this Fiat shares with its Peugeot, Citroen and Vauxhall Stellantis Group LCV design cousins is that used in the full-electric E-Ducato, which is offered with two battery sizes - 47kWh (which has a 120 mile range) or 79kWh (which has a 192 range). The 47kWh model gets to 30mph in under 6 seconds and has a top speed of 62mph. On the move, we've been impressed with the supple ride and relatively easy manoeuvrability of this 'Series 8' model: vans this big are rarely this easy to drive. A key change with this revised model is the redesigned electric power steering system, claimed to be more precise and manageable in all driving and load conditions, with a smaller steering wheel with a reduced turning circle.

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