Fiat Doblo mini MPV
Price: £14,350 - £19,450
- Hugely practical
- Economical choice of engines
- Good value for money
- Boxy styling
- Poor build quality
- Diesels are noisy around town
"Van-based Fiat Doblo is ideal for families on a budget, as it offers maximum space for minimal outlay."
Those seeking space and practicality could do a lot worse than the Fiat Doblo. It's based on the Doblo van, so the boxy lines mean plenty of space inside, but the rounded styling of the latest model is less van-like than before. Entry-level cars offer more space for your money than nearly anything else on sale, while the optional upgrade to seven seats doesn’t cut cabin space too severely. The range uses the same engines and gearboxes as the Punto Evo supermini, so the Doblo is easy to drive, while diesels return excellent fuel economy.
MPG, running costs & CO2
Frugal economy and low emissions
Economy and emissions are impressive across the Doblo engine line-up and competitive for the class. The 1.4-litre petrol returns 39mpg and emits 166g/km, resulting in an annual road tax bill of £250. The 1.6-litre diesel is the highlight of the range, promising 54mpg and 138g/km (£110 road tax), while the larger 2.0-litre diesel is good for 50mpg and emits 150g/km (£125).
Interior & comfort
Smooth ride and with plenty of room to stretch your legs
Soft springs mean the Doblo soaks up bumps in the road easily, while the cabin doesn’t suffer from wind noise on the motorway. There's plenty of head and legroom inside, even if you upgrade to seven seats, and the seats themselves are soft and comfortable. It sounds like a perfect combination but overall the Doblo is simply getting on a bit now and is outclassed by its rivals that feel much more mordern.
Practicality & boot space
Large cabin and boot space, option of additional seats
It's hard to top the Doblo for practicality. The boot boasts a strong 790-litre capacity; remove the seats and that rises to an enormous 3,200 litres. The sturdy parcel shelf is capable of supporting up to 70kg, while sliding rear doors make access easy. Fiat offers a Family Pack option that adds two more seats to turn the Doblo into one of the cheapest seven-seaters on the market.
Reliability & safety
Reliability is improving, but build quality gripes remain
In the past, Fiat hasn’t had a great reliability record. However, newer models are proving more hard-wearing. The Doblo is built in Turkey, and early signs are that interior build quality could be better than in previous cars from the company.
Engines, drive & performance
Improved dynamics, diesel engines could be more refined
The engine line-up includes a 95bhp 1.4-litre petrol, and 105bhp 1.6-litre and 135bhp 2.0-litre Multijet diesels. The latter feel quick, even though they only claim 0-62mph in 11.3 and 13.4 seconds respectively. The larger diesel is well suited to motorway use, but all engines have to be worked hard and are noisy on start-up, as well as when the revs climb above 2,500rpm. Despite the Doblo's van roots, it corners well. The steering is precise, handling is sharp, grip is good and body roll less pronounced than in the previous car. A huge front windscreen ensures there's excellent visibility.
Price, value for money & options
Very affordable, considering the space on offer
Prices for the Doblo are in supermini territory. It undercuts its Skoda Roomster and Citroen Berlingo rivals, so you get a lot of car for your cash. But the entry Doblo doesn’t get air-conditioning or electric rear windows. The top-of-the-range Eleganza is better equipped. All in all, you’ll struggle to find a cheaper seven-seater, but it just doesn't feel like a good enough product for the cost compred to rivals like the Ford B-MAX.
What the others say
The Doblo still looks boxy, and its unique appearance will still split opinion, but Fiat has made a good attempt at making it that much easier to love. The front end now looks more up-to-date and the overall outline is softer and easier on the eye compared to the previous version.
The Doblo is reasonable to drive and practical up to a point, but there are a few compromises. A more mainstream MPV might be a better bet.
A lot more thought has gone into how it looks this time round, too, with a number of styling tricks that make you think that you're looking at more than just a van with windows. There's no getting away from the overall van-like shape, but Fiat has created a floating roof, large glazed side area and what on first glance seems like a huge screen at the back, all of which makes Doblo look far more interesting and differentiates it from similar models.
Last updated: 10 Jan 2014