A Van for All Seasons

The latest Fiat Ducato van delivers a swathe of improvements.

The refreshed Fiat Professional Ducato Series 7 was introduced to Australia late in 2020. This latest Fiat Ducato is powered by an all-new 2.3-litre turbo diesel Euro 6 engine driving through the front wheels.

The ‘180 Multijet’ engine has been engineered with a quieter running belt drive for the camshaft and produces 130kW (180hp) in all models of the Ducato with maximum available torque of 400 Nm in the manual transmission examples and 450Nm in the automatic versions.

The Euro 6 emission standard is met by utilising supplementary catalytic reduction via the injection of AdBlue into the exhaust stream.

The Ducato is the base for Europe’s most popular motor homes and has consistently held more than 60 per cent of that market for a number of years. So far, Australia has only taken delivery of the van versions of the Ducato Series 7.

In keeping with the ever evolving sophistication of vehicles in the light commercial category, the Ducato Series 7 now comes standard with forward collision warning and autonomous emergency braking, lane departure warning, reverse camera, rear parking sensors as well as ESC, ABS, EBD, brake assist, roll-over mitigation and a hill holder.

An optional ‘Safety Pack’ adds even more safety features including blind spot assist plus rear cross path detection, traction control and hill descent control.

Buyers choosing the ‘Safety Pack’ also get rain sensing wipers and dusk sensing lights, auto high beam, traffic sign recognition, fog lights, and all-season tyres.

Standard driver appointments include manual air conditioning and a five inch ‘Uconnect’ touchscreen audio system with Bluetooth, USB and auxiliary connections, and a classy leather bound steering wheel with controls for the radio.

The driver’s seat is height adjustable and both passenger positions have three-point seat belts.

The ‘Comfort and Tech Pack’ option features a seven inch infotainment screen including satellite navigation, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, DAB digital radio and Bluetooth connection.

This option pack also adds LED daytime running lights, automatic climate control and a tyre pressure monitoring system.

The XLWB MR (extra-long wheelbase – medium roof) version is only available with the auto transmission while the rest of the Ducato range will be available with either a full synchro six-speed manual or the ZF supplied nine-speed full automatic transmission.

Previous Ducato’s had the option of the ‘Comfort-Matic’ six-speed ‘automatic’ which was in reality an automated single-clutch manual rather than a true auto transmission.

The new ZF nine-speed auto is a full torque-converter design which takes full advantage of the available engine torque to deliver smooth operation at the same time as enhancing fuel efficiency.

Tubular shock absorbers control the bounce at each wheel with McPherson Type wishbones and coil springs and an anti-roll bar at the front and longitudinal parabolic leaf springs locating the beam axle at the rear.

A metal bulkhead with a window is fitted as standard equipment between the driver/passenger compartment and the cargo area. Also standard is the sliding door on the kerb side and 270-degree opening rear barn doors.

A driver’s side slider is available as an extra-cost option. An advantage of a front wheel drive van is the Ducato’s convenient rear door unladen loading height of 550mm.

Across this latest Ducato 7 range three wheelbases are available, combined with two roof heights. Dependent upon the model, cubic load capacities vary from 10 cubic metres to 15 cubic metres, and payloads range from 1510kgs to 2190kgs.

Load bay lengths range from 3120mm to 4070mm and a standard Australian pallet fits easily between the rear wheel arches in all models.

The Ducato 7 is an example of style meeting functionality due to its robust looking bumpers at the front and rear and the practical protector strips on each side.

Total cost of ownership is helped to keep minimised due to oil changes and services only being required every 12 months or 48,000kms. Should there be any issues the Ducato is covered by a 3 year/200,000km warranty.

Due to its new engine, and especially in combination with the nine-speed automatic transmission, the Ducato 7 delivers more torque and has a smoother drive than its predecessors.

The extended package of standard safety and convenience features included across the Fiat Professional Ducato range can be complemented with a couple of option ‘packs’ to be equal of any other van in its categories.