The previous generation of the Doblo Cargo was entirely developed by Fiat, unlike the newer versions which were engineered in collaboration with Peugeot and Citroen.
The old Fiat Doblo Cargo was sold between 2001 and 2010 and featured a generous payload capacity and a versatile character. The vehicle competed with models like the Citroen Berlingo or Renault Kangoo.
The first Fiat Doblo Cargo was offered with both standard and high roof configurations. There were two engines available including a 1.9 turbo diesel and a 1.4 Multijet. The vehicle received a small series of upgrades in 2005 which consisted of a redesigned front and more powerful petrol engines.
The old Fiat Doblo Cargo isn’t as good looking as the new model and it’s characterized by a dull and boxy shape. Though, we’ll have to admit that a closer look reveals a few fluid lines around the wheel arches and which manage to break the monotony up a little bit.
The black radiator grille has a basic rectangular grille and is fitted with the company logo in its center. The headlights are also simple, but they received rounded corners which makes them more appealing to the eye.
Continuing the dull design of the body, the wraparound bumper has a rugged design that betrays the utilitarian character of the vehicle. The Doblo Cargo was also offered with optional fog lamps that were placed low into the bumper.
The Doblo Cargo offers a load volume of 3.2 cubic meters for the standard van and 3.8 cubic meters for the high-roof version with payloads of 605kg and 625kg, while a bigger 650 kg payload was made available since 2005.
These numbers are slightly bigger than what you’ll find in the segment this representing a huge advantage over the competition. The vehicle is also fitted with wide opening side sliding doors while a second sliding door is available as an option. At the rear there are two asymmetric side hinged doors which further enhance access to the load area. Inside, the load length is 1680mm with a minimum width of 1200mm and a load height of 1305mm.
Fiat has always known how to maximize interior space and the Doblo Cargo makes no exception. Inside there is plenty of space and the dashboard has a multifunctional design being fitted with a lot of cubby holes and convenient storage places.
On the other hand most of the plastics are part of the rock hard class and the fittings needed more attention.
We like to see that despite the vehicle’s age, the gear knob is ergonomically mounted directly into the dash just below the ventilation controls.
The seats aren’t the most comfortable units you’ll find around, but they offer decent back and side support. There are also plenty adjustments (height included) to help you get a proper driving position.
Drivers will be happy to know that the all-around visibility isn’t bad either, as you are surrounded by a generous glass area and the big exterior mirrors offer an adequate rear view as well. Though the front windscreen pillars are fairly thick, so could impede your view.
The controls are placed within easy reach and you won’t have any complains about the instrument cluster either, as it’ fitted with fairly big, easy to read gauges.
Engines and transmissions
The 1.4 liter engine introduced in 2005 developed a maximum output of 105 hp @ 4000 rpm and 200 Nm @ 1750 rpm of torque, with an average fuel consumption of 5.8 l/100 km. The engine had to deal with an unladen weight of 1320 kg so it didn’t have any problems to move the vehicle around. Though, when fully loaded the engine felt lightly underpowered and you’ll have to push it a bit harder to convince it to get to work.
The 1.9 JTD diesel is slightly weaker and develops 62 hp @ 4500 rpm with a peak torque of 118 Nm @ 2500 rpm. Maximum speed is rated at 164 kmph. Despite its low power the diesel offered and adequate performance and was able to deal well with payloads. On the other hand, the boxy shape does kick up wind noise on the motorway and the diesel engine can sound clattery at low speeds.
Fiat Doblo Cargo Engines Specifications
|1.4 ||105 @ 4000||200 @ 1750|
|1.9||62 @ 4500||118 @ 2500|
Ride and handling
Despite its size and shape, the Fiat Doblo cargo is pretty light which makes it easy to drive and maneuver around the city. The vehicle has also a composed handling with the body roll well kept in check.
The suspensions are pretty good and are able to deal with huge loads without whining, but over bumpy roads the ride will be pretty firm.
You can rely with confidence on the all around disc brakes which offer an adequate stopping power. Though the ABS isn’t offered in the standard equipment for all models and can be found on the options list.
A driver’s airbag has been standard on the Doblo Cargo since its launch together with an optional passenger airbag, while side airbags have been introduced in 2005.
The old Fiat Doblo Cargo wasn’t as visually outlandish as the new generation but this doesn’t mean that it was less practical. The vehicle was able to do its job with dignity and despite the fact that its engines were far from being the most capable units in the segment, they were able to offer decent towing abilities. The ride was a bit harsh but this is the usual treatment offered by these types of vehicles.
We especially loved the highly functional interior design which also offered plenty of space. Despite its relatively poor build quality, the cabin was still able to deal well with the cruel treatment of commercial duties.