Just like its very close relatives the Citroën Dispatch and Peugeot Expert, the latest Fiat Scudo has grown in size and stature and is no longer one size fits all.
There’s the choice of short- or long-wheelbase and the latter can be had with a high roof option. This translates into load space of 5.0m3, 6.0m3 and 7.0m3. As with previous generation model twin sliding side doors are a standard feature. Gross vehicle weights vary from 2,717kg up to 2,963kg and gross payload is either 1,000kg or 1,200kg depending on the model.
Engine choice for the frontwheel drive Scudo is either 1.6- or 2.0-litre common rail diesel with the former capable of producing 90hp and developing 179Nm of peak torque. The latter can be had with outputs of 120hp or 136hp which develop 300Nm and 320Nm respectively. The good news is that all three engines only require attention every 20,000 miles.
Suspension is independent all-round with MacPherson struts, springs, dampers and an anti-roll bar at the front while the rear is trailing arm with springs and inclined dampers. Brakes are ventilated discs at the front and drums at the rear on the 1.6, with the 2-litre models using discs at the back. ABS is fitted as standard across the range, but ESP is on the option
list, unfortunately. Pneumatic self-levelling rear suspension is available. Weight-saving electro-hydraulic power steering is standard on all models.
Few, if any, will moan that the three-man cab is difficult to getinto. There’s only a slight step up thanks to the low floor and the handbrake lever doesn’t get in the way, despite being sited between the driver’s seat and the door. What’s more, the comfortable seat is set at just the right height for those users who have to hop in and out of their vehicles umpteen times a day.
The cab is well laid out with a sculpted dashboard that conceals a surprising amount of storage space, including a large, lockable glovebox in front of the nearside passenger seat. The gearstick is mounted on a pod projecting from the dash which places it at a convenient height, but unfortunately blocks any cross-cab access which is a bit of a shame. As with all Fiat light commercials, the Scudo comes with a three-year, 100,000 mile warranty.
Fiat and PSA Peugeot Citroën have done a good job with this new range of vans and the model choice is extensive. We reckon it’s a winner and a deserving joint-winner of our Small Panel Van of the Year award for 2007. One of the beauties for buyers of having three virtually identical models from different manufacturers is that the dealers can be played-off against each other for the best deal.