Fiat professional has produced more than 2.6 million Ducato light commercial vehicles since 1981 and now more than thirty years and three van generations later it is marketed across four continents.
Under a joint venture manufacturing agreement with French partner PSA Group, the current third-generation Ducato is also branded in some markets as the Peugeot Boxer and Citroen Jumper.
In North America and Canada it has been sold under the Ram brand as the ProMaster since 2013.
Our test vehicle was the baby of the current Ducato Series 6 range in NZ, being the 10 cubic metre low roof medium wheelbase variant (5413mm long). There are 13 cubic metre (5998mm long) and 15 cubic metre (6363mm long) versions on offer as well.
Under the bonnet lies a Euro 6 compliant 2.3-litre four-cylinder turbodiesel engine, mated to a 6-speed Comfort-matic (robotised single-clutch auto) transmission, which is one of the best examples of this type we have yet come across in daily operation.
Standard features include manual air-conditioning, a bulkhead with viewing window, cruise control, a two-seat passenger bench seat arrangement with three-point lap and diagonal belts for each occupant, rear parking sensors, 270-degree rear door opening, and a UConnect five-inch touchscreen radio with Bluetooth.
A reversing camera is optional but ought to be standard as the lack of side windows creates a large blind spot that can make manoeuvring difficult in tight spaces.
In 2015 the current Ducato generation received a facelift that included daytime running lights with optional LEDs and a new grille design, as well as a new three-part front bumper to reduce repair costs.
At the rear, the light clusters received a new and distinctive ‘L’ shape.
Fiat Professional also reinforced the key nodes of the body and door surrounds and redesigned and improved the hinges, sliding rollers, stops and door seals for greater body strength and durability.
Further improvements to efficiency and running costs were gained by reducing kerb weight and increasing payload through the use of composite materials in the rear suspension.
For safety, the stability control has an integrated rollover mitigation system to protect the load from unexpected motion, in conjunction with load and centre of gravity detection system. It also has a hill holder function.
Additional cost items available for the Ducato include a vision pack (auto wipers and lights, lane departure warning system, and high beam recognition system), LED daytime running lights, a second sliding side door, and a 125L fuel tank.
The driving position offers a truly commanding view of the road ahead while the rear view mirrors have concave and convex lenses which give the widest view of the world beside and behind the vehicle while on the move.
The cabin offers a built-in clipboard, power outlets for devices, as well as bottle holders, cup holders and storage cubbies needed in a working vehicle.
Thanks to the bulkhead and very good acoustic insulation the Ducato is a quiet motorway cruiser.
Reversing the Ducato into a parking space was made easier thanks to rear parking sensors, but the lack of side windows is at times problematic.
|Model||Fiat Ducato MWB Low Roof Van||Price||$57,990|
|Engine||2287cc, 4-Cylinder, 130kW/400Nm||Drivetrain||6-speed robo manual|
|Fuel Use||6.7L/100km||C02 Output||0g/km|
|0-100km/h||0.00 sec||Weight||1985kg kerb weight|
|Service||20,000km intervals, 3 year / 100,000km warranty||Load||10m3 volume, 3120m length, 1662m height|
|Vitals||3500kg GVM, 1525kg payload||Vitals||2500kg towing capacity|