What we have here is generally termed the fourth-generation Ducato, launched in 2014, but it is essentially more of a facelift of the full third-generation model, which first saw the light of day in 2006, a couple of months behind its PSA Citroen Relay/Peugeot Boxer siblings.

In this trio, which are also known as Sevel vans – named after the Fiat/PSA joint venture – the Ducato always stood apart by using the Fiat/Iveco Sofim diesel engine rather than the Peugeot-Citroen unit. They have had differing capacities and outputs through their lives, but latterly there is little between them; Euro6 is a great leveller when it comes to diesel engine de-characterisation.

However, for what it matters the Ducato offers a few more cubes at 2.3 litres over the Frenchies’ 2.2s and presses home the advantage with plenty of grunt.

Fiat’s Sofim common-rail diesel engines offer outputs from 110hp to 177hp. The 2.3-litre version covers the first three outputs of 110hp, 129hp and 148hp, with a thumping  3.0-litre lump producing the range-topping 177hp and stump-pulling torque, which it develops lower in the rev range than the PSA engines can muster.

These two Fiat Sofim powerplants give the Ducato a significant profile not only in the performance available but also in its fuel consumption: the most economical engine, the 129hp unit, boasts a combined fuel consumption figure of 45.6mpg.

The van is available in three weight configurations: 3.0t, 3.3t and 3.5t GVM. In panel van form, it has three wheelbase lengths of 3.0m, 3.45m and 4.05m, giving overall lengths of 4.95m, 5.4m, 6.0m and 6.35m in all, with the two longest body lengths built upon the 4.05m wheelbase.

The Ducato’s cab has always been excellent: the facia-mounted gearlever gave true walk-through capability at a time when attempting the same thing in a Transit could certainly bring tears to the eyes, you could fit a Fiat Cinquecento in the door bin, and the exterior mirrors looked like they were from a coach.

It’s fair to say that competitors have overtaken the big Fiat of late, but it still feels like a proper working environment in there, not a ‘lifestyle’ choice.

The 2014 facelift boasted traction control, anti-slip regulation, roll-over mitigation, hill-holder and stability control with optional lane-departure warning, and camera-based speed limit recognition. Of course satnav, climate control, DAB radio and Bluetooth are all packaged one way or another.

The Ducato has a good reliability record save for a few electronic driver-aid issues on 2015 models throwing up ABS warnings, for which there was a recall, while central locking systems can give trouble, needing a reset to cure the problem.

I can still remember driving the original Sevel Ducato at launch. It did not feel like a revolution, nor did it trade car-likeness for function – it simply felt like a thoroughly sorted, fit-for-the-job, big 3.5-tonner. It still does.

Five best options

1) 3.0-litre engine
2) Long wheelbase
3) High roof
4) Infotainment pack
5) Air-conditioning

Five best avoided

1) 3.0-litre engine on local work
2) Short wheelbase
3) Standard roof
4) Base trim level
5) Lowest-output engine

Second-hand buys





Price ex.VAT

2.3 JTD L1H1





2.3 JTD L1H1





2.3 JTD L1H2





2.3 JTD L2H2





2.3JTD L3H3