This Fiat Ducato can actually trace its family tree back to 1994 and the, then new, generation of Sevel vans, which were the result of a joint-venture between PSA – Peugeot and Citroen – on the one hand and Fiat on the other. It created two distinct LCV families: the larger vans of the Fiat Ducato, Citroen Relay and Peugeot Boxer and the mid-size contenders of the Fiat Scudo, Citroen Dispatch and Peugeot Expert. The separation in the larger vehicles came down to their engines with Fiat using its own Sofim unit, also found in the Iveco TurboDaily, and PSA utilising its 1.9-litre unit and, later, the excellent HDi common-rail engine. Sevel proved to be the leading large van maker in Europe with a total market share in excess of 25% at one point.

Available with a capacity of either 2.3 or 3.0 litres, the engines have four power outputs ranging from 110hp, through 130hp and 148hp, to 177hp. All are Euro5 emissions-compliant. All the Ducato units had service intervals of 30,000 miles and the timing chain was designed to last the life of the vehicle. Each engine is available with a six-speed manual gearbox while the 3.0-litre can be specified with the six-speed Comfort-Matic – an automated manual transmission. This is a traditional manual gearbox except that there is no clutch pedal and the clutch operation linkage to the ’box is replaced by actuators controlled by a transmission control unit. The shift is either performed automatically or the driver can use the gear lever to prompt changes by pulling backwards or pushing forwards.

Eight different capacities of body are available, ranging from 8m3 to 17m3.

The redesigned dashboard incorporates a slot to accommodate the Blue&Me TomTom Live satellite navigation unit. The integrated radio/CD and MP3 player not only sounds good but can accommodate Bluetooth functions through the Blue&Me system.

The Ducato from the period we are concerned with has just two recalls according to the Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (formerly the Vehicle and Operator Services Agency). The first is R/2011/098 issued on 2 September 2011 and is listed as “spare wheel may detach”, which is obviously a reference to the mounting bracket. It affected vehicle identification numbers ZFA25000001000371 to ZFA25000001789440 for vehicles built between 1 April 2006 and 31 March 2010.

The second is recall R/2011/139 issued 24 October 2011 stating that the “rear axle may move”, which must be suspension mountings or bushes. It relates to VINs ZFA25000002079978 to ZFA25000002080736 on vehicles built 1–30 September 2011. Otherwise it’s all the usual checks for leaks and creaks, while sloppy gearchange quality can come with age and we have heard of some central-locking system faults. The Sofim diesel is strong, so a higher-mileage example with a full service book is better than a lower-mileage van with a patchy service record.


 Second-hand buys

The Ducato’s popularity means there are plenty to choose from. Using the used van locator, we found a 2011 long-wheelbase standard-roof variant with 67,000 miles behind it at £8490, plus a 130hp LWB 2012 62-plate example coming it at just £9250 with 51,000 miles elapsed. Breaking the four-figure barrier is a £10,495 2012 62-plate example of a LWB high-roof with just 15,000 miles on it, whilst a short wheelbase high-roof 2014 ex-demo vehicle on a 64-plate commands £13,995 but has just 100 miles under its belt.