Fiat’s high cube contender underwent a major midlife update at the end of 2005. In came Euro 4 compliant engines, a new cab interior and it grew in size slightly; not to mention the new front-end treatment.
There is also a long-wheelbase Maxi version, but this is not coming to the UK. The two common rail diesel offerings — there is also a 77hp 1.4-litre petrol — are developments of the 1.3- and 1.9- litre powerplants from the predecessor.The former 16-valve unit produces 75hp and develops 190Nm (at 1,750rpm) while the latter is capable of 105hp and 199Nm (also at 1,750rpm).
The suspension remains the same layout as before and ABS is standard on SX variants. It’s a £480 option on the rest. The 1.3-litre JTD is a little gem of an engine and can also be found under the bonnet of Vauxhall’s Corsavan and Combo. It is very refined and has more than enough grunt for general usage.
Only operators regularly running up and down motorways with a load on board need look any further. The engineers have obviously spent great deal of time working on Doblò’s overall refinement and they were not wasting their time. Noise levels are significantly lower and there’s less vibration. The ride quality is more controlled and the handling remains surprise-free with a sensible amount of feel to the steering.
Back at the business end there’s little change dimensionally and the load space remains at 3.2m3. Twin sliding side doors are standard on the SX models. Payload, however, has received a useful hike, taking it to 730kg.
The new interior is less quirky than the predecessor’s and is all the better for it. It’s comfortable with a good, upright driving position. Doblò comes with Fiat’s standard three-year/100,000 mile warranty and the diesels need attention every 18,500 miles.
A very successful round of improvements make Doblò well worth a look and we do recommend a test drive in the 1.3JTD.