The original Doblo Cargo, launched in 2000, was always overshadowed by the Citroen Berlingo and Renault Kangoo in the UK, whilst once Ford’s late-entry Connect hit the market, it was resigned to its cameo role; galling for Fiat, whose original Fiorino could rightly claim to have begun the whole car-cube class.
Its current form appeared in 2015, immediately redressing the balance for Fiat and reclaiming the Fiorino’s crown of innovation in the small van class. It even won a What Van? Award in 2016, confirming its quality. Fiat took the Doblo up a step or two, adding wheelbase and roof options to create a family of light commercial vehicles, even including a chassis cab basis for a dropside – unusual at this size.
In panel van format it created a total of four versions. The aptly named Standard Van offers a load compartment length of 1,820mm with widths of 1,518-1,714mm and a height 1,305mm. This creates a load volume 3.4m³, while payload varies from 750kg to 1,005kg.
Next up is the Maxi Van boasting a load length of 2,170mm, widths from 1,518mm to 1,714mm, and a height 1,305mm. giving a volume of up to 4.2m³ and a generous 1,005kg payload capacity. Then comes the High Roof Van. It has the same dimensions in plan view as the Standard Van but with an increase in internal height to 1,550mm.
This boosts the load volume to 4.0m³, almost matching the longer Maxi Van’s figure, but in a more wieldy vehicle, important for city-based multi-drop work. The maximum payload is also 1,005kg.
Finally there is the XL Van. This combines the High Roof and Maxi Van versions’ best features of 1,550mm height with a load length of 2,170mm and a width of 1,714mm to create a total volume 5.0m³.The payload is not reduced either, with the Doblo Cargo’s best of 1,005kg being retained.
Engines options number four in total. There are three diesels: a 1.3-litre with 95hp and 200Nm of torque and two 1.6-litre units with 105hp and 300Nm of torque, or 120hp and 320Nm of torque. The fourth is a petrol unit of 1.4 litres in terms of capacity offering 95hp and 127Nm of torque.
Never popular in the UK, the petrol units are still offered in many car-derived van ranges for gas conversion or combi and passenger models. However, with the current political situation surrounding diesel fuel, the CDV with a petrol option may yet have its best days ahead.
The prices of the used Doblo Cargos we found illustrate the depreciation suffered by the Fiat compared with German rivals, but it is surely historical. The overall quality and obvious LCV expertise in the current Doblo Cargo makes it something of a bargain. Look for late low-milers, with the balance of the warranty, and this once wild-card choice looks a dead cert.
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