HonestJohn.co.uk Review: Fiat Doblo

The original Doblo, launched in 2001, was little more than a van with windows. And there was nothing wrong with that, it was an honest, reliable car that proved great value for buyers looking for massive space on a small budget.

And now, nine years on, the 2010 Doblo has moved the game on. The best bits remain: it’s incredibly practical, has a huge amount of space inside and comes with some excellent engines, but it’s so much more car-like than before. That’s because it now shares much with the Punto Evo on which it’s based. It handles better, has a far more user-friendly and attractive interior and gets a whole raft of electronic goodies including ESP with hill hold function, hands-free phone connectivity and touch-screen Blue&Me TomTom satellite navigation.

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. Styling-wise it now has more in common with the likes of the Skoda Roomster and even the Kia Soul than other van-based cars.

All cars come with five seats and a huge boot as standard, but as with the previous generation model, it’s possible to specify two seats in the huge boot space, turning it into an affordable seven-seater.

Engines come in the shape of a 1.4-litre petrol and 1.6-litre and 2.0-litre diesel. The two diesels are the pick of the range. They’re powerful, punchy and incredibly efficient, keeping Doblo’s CO2 emissions – and therefore running costs – down.

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