Fiat says that its latest generation Doblo Cargo is 90 percent new over the older version. Designed for light commercial applications the Doblo Cargo comes in a wide range of models, has a spacious interior and is available with a bunch of capable Multijet engines.
The main competitors of the Doblo Cargo are models like the Volkswagen Caddy, Citroen Berlingo or Ford Transit. However, despite the fact the all three models share the same segment, the Doblo Cargo offers a bigger load capacity which gives it a major advantage over its rivals.
The Fiat Doblo Cargo has a starting price of $23.200 and is available with different body styles including short or long wheelbases, a combi and even a chassis cab model.
Fiat choose a very unconventional design for its Doblo Cargo and despite its modern approach the vehicle didn’t manage to attract a positive response from the market and many consider it a bit ugly. The front features a big black grille that bares the company’s logo in its center and is flanked by two huge headlights. The bumper is fitted with a big air intake and two round fog lamps with black plastic surroundings.
The sides reveal robust oversized wheel arches and black out pillars which add a dose of style to the entire vehicle. For enhanced practicality, the door handles have a vertical position which makes them easier to open, while the door mirrors come with integrated turn signals.
The side is accented by shiny black door pillars and a flushed side door sliding guide integrated in the body, for the van version.
The rear section features a swing tailgate which is fitted with a large window. The Fiat logo is mounted in the middle, while a shiny black fascia splits the tailgate in two. The rear lights are arranged vertically and the bumper merges into the rear wheel arches on the side and into the tailgate on the upper part.
Compared to the old generation the cabin has been completely redesigned and now features a more modern style and a better ergonomy. Even if the materials still aren’t first class, their quality is better than you’d expect.
After you get behind the steering wheel it becomes obvious that Fiat definitely done its home-works when it comes to functionality. The cabin offers plenty of space and has that nice airy feel which is typical for this kind of vehicles.
The dashboard design is pretty catchy and we don’t have any complains about the controls layout either, as every switch and button is easy to reach. The instrument cluster is nicely integrated into the dash and features a modern design with a combination of black white and red colors which make it look a bit sporty.
We also like the multifunctional steering wheel which features an ergonomic design and is fitted with controls for radio and phone.
The seats come in a wide range of colour and material combinations, but they are a bit flat for our tastes and could’ve come with a better lower back and side support.
The interiors include a new roof shelf which is larger than the one from the previous model. The side door holders can hold two half litre bottles of water and an A4 sized folder, while the large glove box with lock and key is pretty generous and can accommodate laptop.
There is also available an open compartment on top of the dash and other useful storage places for holding different small or large objects. Moreover, Fiat offers an optional compartment fitted inside the front passenger’s seat cushion. Other optional feature is a document holder clip that turns the dashboard into a small folding desk. The Fiat Doblo Cargo offers the biggest load capacity in its class and the Combi version has a boot capacity of 790 and 1050 litres (short and long wheelbase, respectively).
Engines and transmissions
You can choose from a wide range of Euro 4 or Euro 5 diesel engines and there is also even a petrol unit available. Depending on the model, the engine can be combined with manual either 5 or 6 speed gearboxes.
All Euro 5 engines are combined with a standard Start&Stop system that turns off the engine when standing and restarting it, improving the fuel consumption.
The 1.3 Multijet II Euro 5 - 90 HP offers a top speed of 158 kmph and incorporates new Common Rail injectors with a balanced hydraulic servo-valve to control the quantity of fuel injected into the combustion chamber. The engine has also a variable geometry turbocharger for optimized supercharging.
The 1.6 Multijet (105 hp) engine is equipped with an electronically controlled fixed geometry turbocharger and reaches a top speed of 164 km/h with a combined fuel consumption of 5.2 l/100 km. The 1.6 Multijet also comes with capable exhaust gas treatment technologies, such as a Close Coupled Diesel Particulate Filter and a built-in EGR (Exhaust Gas Recirculation) system.
The 2.0 Multijet ( 135 hp) Euro 5 is an upgraded version of the 1.9 Multijet unit. The engine can hit a top speed of 179 km/h, with a combined cycle consumption of 5.6 l/100 km. The supercharging is obtained by an electronic controlled fixed geometry turbocharger which improves power and delivers a 320 Nm of torque at 1500 rpm.
For an enhanced fuel consumption and lower emissions the 2.0 unit is fitted with an electrically activated EGR valve, managed directly by the engine control system, a recirculated exhaust gas cooling system and a standard anti-particulate filter.
Finally the 1.4 16v - 95 HP engine can deliver a top speed of 161 kmph and is the ideal solution for use in cities. The torque curve is very gradual from 1500 to 4000 rpm making it extremely elastic for smooth running and low fuel consumption scoring 7l/100 km.
Ride and handling
The Doblo Cargo features an independent bi-link rear suspension with a modular design that allows you to calibrate it according to your needs. The vehicle’s payload can go up to 1,450 kg and the suspension can deal with this weight without too much drama, offering a smooth ride, judging by commercial vehicles standards.
The Doblo Cargo handling is also surprisingly good and is among the best in the business. Naturally there is some body roll effect when cornering, but it isn’t something to worry about. The cabin is also pretty well isolated and the noise and vibrations are kept outside.
The exterior style may not be liked by many people, but the interior is fairly comfortable and offers plenty of space with a good ergonomy. We also like the interior design which is modern and fresh.
The engines are also up to the task and offer a good fuel economy while the ride and handling are clearly part of the high class. The fact that the Doblo Cargo has the most generous payload capacity in its class is also a significant advantage that worth to be mentioned.