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Fiat Scudo

 

There’s a certain expertise evident in the Fiat Scudo van that seems kind of familiar. We venture over the Italian-French border to investigate.

Base price: $34,489.

Powertrain and performance: 2.0-litre turbo diesel four, 88kW/300Nm, 6-speed manual, front-drive, top speed 170km/h.

Vital statistics: 5135mm long, 1942mm high, 3122mm wheelbase, load dimensions 2584x1450x1600mm, 16-inch steel wheels on 215/60 tyres.

We like: Eager performance, bright cabin, brilliant storage.

We don’t like: Noisy engine, no automatic option.

How it rates: 9/10

WHAT DO I NEED TO KNOW? You might remember that we road tested the Peugeot Expert van a few months back. In that story we mentioned that the Expert had a maternal twin in the form of the Fiat Scudo, with less power and a lower price.

Well, here it is: the light-commercial that Fiat Chrysler New Zealand bills as a $29,990 load-carrying bargain, although that’s the ex-GST price: it might be a nice headline number, but the retail is closer to $35,000. Fun fact: the Expert/Scudo is also sold as the Toyota Proace in Europe.

WHAT’S IT LIKE TO DRIVE? In terms of the bits you can see and touch, the Scudo is barely distinguishable from its Peugeot cousin. But there’s a little less under the bonnet, with the Fiat’s 2.0-litre turbo diesel making 88kW – substantially less than its sibling’s 120kW.

So if you want a sports van, you know where to look. But the Fiat doesn’t feel underpowered – or at least not sans-load. With cargo on board you’ll probably appreciate the Peugeot’s extra 40Nm of torque.

Still, Scudo is rowdy but enthusiastic and the lever for the six-speed manual gearbox is ideally positioned, high on the dashboard and right next to your left hand. It’s three-pedal driving only for the Fiat – there’s no automatic option as with the Peugeot.

IS IT EASY TO LIVE WITH? There’s not a lot of Fiat in the cabin. The interior architecture is straight from the Expert, which means Peugeot instrumentation - including the tiny, hard-to-read information centre and trip computer atop the centre console.

But the driving position is good and there’s a neat three-abreast seat layout, with a good range of adjustment for the driver (if not the centre and outboard occupants). The seats of our test vehicle were trimmed in a lurid shade of blue, which was perhaps the sole evidence of Italian influence – bright seat trim is very much a Fiat thing in vans. The last Ducato was drove had bright red chairs.

As with the Peugeot, great cabin storage, including aircraft-style overhead bins.

The cargo area has sliding doors on both sides and twin barn doors at the rear, which open at a full 180 degrees and still leave the vertical tail lights visible for approaching traffic. Twin wipers add a touch of LCV-class.

SHOULD I BUY ONE? Well, it’s cheaper than the Peugeot but manual-only and slower too. It might come down to brand preference, but it must be said that when you line the two up together there’s not a lot in it.

Fiat Chrysler and Peugeot wouldn’t want to hear this, but it’s easier to consider Scudo and Expert as a complete range together: the Fiat’s the more cheap and cheerful entry-level model, the Peugeot more muscular but more expensive flagship.

The big box in the back is the same size in both, though.

EQUIPMENT CHECKLIST

  • Air conditioning: Manual
  • Audio: CD, iPod compatible
  • Automatic lights/wipers: No/no
  • Blind spot warning: No
  • Bluetooth: Yes
  • Cruise control: Yes
  • Head-up display: No
  • Heated/ventilated seats: No
  • Keyless entry/start: No
  • Lane guidance: No
  • Leather upholstery: No
  • Parking radar: Yes
  • Power boot or tailgate: No
  • Power seat adjustment/memory: No
  • Remote audio controls: Yes
  • Satellite navigation: No
  • Seat height adjustment: Yes
  • Self-parking technology: No
  • Steering reach adjustment: Yes
  • Stop-start: No
  • Trip computer: Yes

Find a Fiat Scudo for sale.


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