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Driven: Fiat Doblo 1.9 JTD – on sale now

Fiat

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Review

Fiat continues to snap at the heels of Renault’s Kangoo and Citroen’s Berlingo Multispace budget MPVs. Its latest device to draw attention to the Doblo is the introduction of a seven-seat option, currently offered with the 1.3-litre MultiJet Family diesel at a highly competitive £10,595. With that comes 51.4mpg combined with ABS anti-lock brakes as standard and reasonable spec.

The one drawback for buyers seeking pace with the space is a stately 0-62mph performance of 16sec.

To get a bit of Italian fizz as well as the practical benefits essential to the van-with-windows sector requires a move up to the 1.9 JTD model.

It’s a cracking diesel that reaches the 62mph speed trap in less than 13sec. In Active trim it costs £10,395 (£200 less than the Family), but ABS is a £400 extra and, as yet, it’s a five-seat only job.

Fiat is considering the extra seats for its more powerful diesel, but won’t say when the third row will be introduced.

For Fiat dealers looking to maintain that price and practicality edge over rivals – particularly the French marques – a seven-seater JTD would be a real boon, because this would create a truly appealing package.

The JTD Doblo we’ve been driving was the top spec Dynamic, which has air-conditioning as standard (an absolute must with all that glass, but it’s still a £600 option on other models) and came fitted with a string of extras such as Connect satnav/ communications system, parking sensors and front seat side airbags. This combination demonstrates just how far Fiat can go beyond the budget MPV call of driveability and versatility.

To really help Doblo chip away at the opposition,Fiat needs to pluck more key items from the options shelf and fit them as standard.

Strengths: Space, power, stability
Weaknesses: Van-with-windows image, ABS extra £400
Opportunity: Dual purpose vehicle buyers
Threat: Better specified rivals
The USP: Budget MPV, Italian style
Price: £11,295 (Dynamic)
Engine: 1.9-litre JTD turbodiesel; 105bhp,151lb-ft
Transmission: 5-spd man, fwd
Performance: 0-62mph 12.4sec; top speed 104mph
Efficiency: 48.7mpg combined; 153g/km CO2
Service intervals: 12,000 miles/1 year
CAP RV (3yr/36k): £4,400 (37%)
Rivals: Renault Kangoo, Citroen Berlingo Multispace, Ford Transit Tourneo Connect

First drive: Fiat Panda

Fiat looks to its new model to boost its share of the small car market.

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