LARGE AND LATIN (some text hidden)
By Jonathan Crouch
Introductionword count: 64
In MK6 X290 model form sold between 2014 and 2021, Fiat's Ducato has much to offer in the large van segment. Buyers will find class-leading attributes when it comes to areas like payload, towing capability and running cost efficiency. Plus there's a smarter look and greater driveability. It all ought to be enough to give this vehicle greater class prominence in the used market.
Modelsword count: 6
Large van (2.3, 3.0 Multijet diesel)
Historyword count: 228
The Fiat Ducato. It's the company's largest van and, according to the Italian brand, the most important model in its LCV line-up. That's certainly the case in Europe where it'sa sales leader. Here though, it's a less familiar sight than it should be on our roads, something Fiat set out to change when it launched the much improved sixth generation 'X290'-series version in 2014. On paper back then, its propects certainly looked promising. No other brand of the period could offer such a wide range of derivatives and, given the right permutation, this Ducato could also out-pace its rivals in important areas like gross vehicle weight, rear axle payload and overall payload. On top of that, the Ducato's Multijet II diesel power units were class-leadingly clean and frugal. They were engines unique to this Fiat, representing the most important difference between this model and its two design stablemates, Citroen's Relay and Peugeot's Boxer. Otherwise though, the three vehicles had much in common, which was no bad thing given that the same basic formula provided so much flexibility when it comes to choices of bodystyle, roof height, vehicle length and wheelbase. The 'X290'-series design got an upgrade in 2020, with new styling, fresh lighting technology and improved interior comfort. Then a further upgraded 'Series 8' version arrived in 2022. It's the 2014-2021-era 'X290' models though, we're looking at here.
What You Getword count: 598
This sixth generation 'X290'-series Ducato wasn't all-new. Under the skin, it was really more a thoroughly revised version of the previous 'X250' MK5 model. Fiat wanted buyers to think of it in fresh terms though, hence the effort put in to completely re-styling the front end which features a smarter headlight and bumper design that stylist Alessandro Silva said was inspired by a spartan helmet. Once you're inside, you'll find yourself in a cabin that in truth, is basically the same as that of the previous generation model, though it feels more up to date thanks to a smarter-looking dash. A fresh additon for this sixth generation Ducato was the option of a 5-inch dash-mounted 'U-Connect' touchscreen infotainment display, which makes the vehicle feel more modern inside and will be an option many operators felt justified in paying a little extra for. As well as the usual stereo and Bluetooth elements, this handles features like audio streaming, text-to-speak messaging and Tom Tom satellite navigation with voice control. Also look for models fitted with the Multifunction Tablet Holder, a dash-mounted clipboard that folds out of the top of the fascia. It not only holds notepads and delivery notes but can also transform itself into a cradle that can securely hold your smartphone or tablet screen. What about practicalities in the load Bay? Let's start with the headline stat that most operators tend to look for first - load volume. Notebooks at the ready? Right, here we go. At the bottom of the range, there's the smallest short wheelbase standard roof 'SH1' model which will give you 8.0m3. That'll increase to 10.0m3 if you up the wheelbase to 'medium' level and get an 'MH1' derivative. Or 11.5m3 if you also up the roof height to 'high' spec with an 'MH2' derivative. Perhaps the sweetspot in the range is provided by a long wheelbase Ducato with that same roof height, the 'LH2' variant that delivers a useful 13.0m3 of volume. From here, if that's still not big enough, you can get either an 'extra-high' roof (in the 'LH3' model). Or an 'extra long' wheelbase (in the 'LXH2' variant). Either way, you'll have 15.0m3 of cargo space to play with inside. At the top of the range, an 'LXH3' variant that has both the 'extra high' roof and the 'extra long' wheelbase would give you a massive 17.0m3. Perhaps though, you're more interested in the length of loads you'll be able to carry. Well, pretty much everything you can think of will probably fit. Load lengths vary from 2670mm in the smallest 'SH1' variant to a huge 4,070mm in that 'LXH3' range-topper. Loading height will of course be important too. As we mentioned, there are three roof sizes, the 'standard' roof model giving you 1,662mm of internal roof height, the 'high' roof upping that figure to 1,932mm and the 'extra high' roof increasing the figure still further to 2,172mm. On to vehicle weight, something it's important to get right as it'll determine how bulky the stuff you'll be able to carry can be. There are five 'GVW' 'Gross Vehicle Weights' you can choose, designated by the two figures in the full model name. With all of that sorted, we can talk payload, an area where Fiat reckoned this 'X290' design had a key advantage over some of its period rivals. Even the least capable Ducato model, the smallest '30 SH1 derivative', can manage 1,140kgs of weight. The '35 SH1' variant can manage 1,640kgs and, at the top of the range, the most capable '42 LXH3' version can deal with an impressive 2,035kgs.
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