The Scudo sometimes feels like the unloved member of the Fiat Professional family these days.
Perhaps this is because it was the product of a joint venture with PSA Peugeot Citroen, which also spawned the Citroen Dispatch and Peugeot Expert, and the Italian manufacturer has now terminated the agreement with a view to taking a new direction in the medium van sector when the Euro6 model arrives in 2016.
Nevertheless, until that time the Scudo still has a role to play and at the Commercial Vehicle Show last year Fiat added a Scudo Crew Van version to the model range it introduced in 2007. Dutch body builder Snoeks carried out the crew van conversion.
With a dual passenger seat in the front, which means the handbrake is on the ‘wrong’ side next to the driver’s door, and with a row of rear seats, the Scudo Crew Van can accommodate a team of six.
We drove the Scudo Crew van L2 Comfort powered by the most powerful engine in the line-up, the PSA-developed 2.0-litre Multijet 16V 130hp diesel. The 1.6-litre diesel is only available with the smaller L1H1 Scudo vans. Fiat puts official combined cycle fuel consumption for the 2.0-litre Crew Van at 40.4mpg with CO2 emissions of 183g/km.
The drivetrain offers more than enough grunt to keep the van cruising happily along dual-carriageways and motorways for long stretches where the sixth gear comes in handy – particularly when combined with the £70 cruise control included in the Crew Van Comfort we drove. The ride is smooth and reasonably quiet and although we did not have a full load in the back the 2.0-litre Crew van gives the impression it holds more than enough in reserve to cope with one if required.
When driving around town, however, the six-speed manual gearbox was a little notchy and could be hard work.
A height-adjustable driver’s seat coupled with a height-adjustable steering wheel provides adequate, if not outstanding, comfort and control for the driver and the cabin contains reasonable storage capacity with an overhead shelf for paperwork, glove box, door pockets and a couple of cup holders included. Our van came with a radio CD MP3 player with steering wheel-mounted controls and Bluetooth as an option for £190. Otherwise you get the radio and CD as standard.
The rear seats are reached by two sliding side doors and the load bay is accessed via twin rear doors. The load box in our van was sensibly protected by lower cargo-area paneling and contained four lashing rings and a 12v power point. A storage space under the rear seats increases the load length to 2110mm for long items such as pipes. The glazed passenger compartment is separated from the load area by a windowed bulkhead and crew members in the back get cup holders, grab handles and a courtesy light.
A sensible option is the £150 reverse parking sensors and the van we tested also got ESP for an extra £370 (all prices exclude VAT). As yet, the Ducatto large van is the only Fiat Professional model to get ESP as standard.
The Scudo’s days may be numbered but in the meantime the Crew Van version is a practical and competent addition to the line-up.