We’ve been testing the new, 6th generation Ducato commercial panel van in its high grade guise. After a few moments behind the wheel we were instantly impressed by its power, improved connectivity and dash layout. The Stelantis sister van to the Peugeot Boxer/Citroen Relay/Opel Movano is very easy to drive too, with light controls and great visibility. Our test van’s powerful 2.2 litre 140hp diesel powers the front wheels and is paired to a manual gearbox that is light to use and shifts with confidents. A nice bonus with the light gear shift is that there’s no need for left leg only gym membership to use the clutch. The handbrake is a traditional manual and annoyingly a bit of a reach. New driving aids in the ‘Series 8’ Ducato are available and most welcome, e.g. adaptive cruise control and automatic lane keeping assist deliver a semi-autonomous driving ability that makes life a lot safer for operator and fellow road users. New electric power steering replaces the hydraulic and is more precise. Placing and maintaining the Ducato in its lane is vice free. The 140hp engine feels like a perfect fit with enough power to get you there on time and it never felt out of breath on the motorway.
The new cabin is a leap forward for Ducato. The dash was never a strong point with Ducato but that changes with this version. Despite ample hard plastics the new displays and layout make the cab quite car-like. There is a large centre touch screen, a reversing camera (that displays in the rearview mirror) and excellent smart phone connectivity. Access to the three seat cab takes little effort. The driver’s seating is fully adjustable. The seat can slide but with the bulkhead drivers over 6 feet will find it a tight fit. (a sliding glass window in the bulkhead is also available in the range). The steering adjustment is limited and this forces you to adapt to its parameters and sit a certain way. The twin passenger seat is impressively versatile.
Low, high and super high roof heights are available – our test van is the high roofed 140hp diesel in the top trim level, easily spotted by its smart looking alloy wheels. Cargo volumes vary depending on the body. The good new is the box is square and this allows easy access to maximum loads and with the right racking interior cargo space can truly optimised. Load lengths vary from 2670mm – 4070mm, 1660-2170mm high. Floor anchors and four side hooks feature and aid lashing. The interior lighting is fine and there is a 12 volt socket as standard too. A magnetic mounted auxiliary ceiling light is an option.
The Ducato is very versatile and no matter how or what way you need to load it there is a solution. The rear door is 1500mm tall in the low roof, 1800mm in the high and over 2000mm in the super high. Our vehicle had the standard 180 degree rear aperture while a more forklift/loading ramp friendly 270 degree opening is an option. The side sliding door (a second offside door is an option) comes with a choice of two widths (1075 & 1250mm) and two heights (1485 and 1755mm). Fiat makes Ducato in a myriad of forms (circa 10,000 variants) with three body heights, five body lengths and up to four engines to choose from. The classic forms include: Ducato ‘Passneger’ (minibus), ‘Truck’ (box) to the flatbed ‘Tippe’ tipper with GVWs of 3-3,500kgs. There is even a Maxi-Truck with a GVW of up to 4,250kgs. Our high grade, high powered Ducato was always going to impress and there is an excellent automatic gearbox available too. There is an electric E-Ducato too, with a big payload capacity that is perfect for urban deliveries and low mileage use.
Ducato pricing in Ireland starts from €27,000 (SH1/120). Standard, ‘Tecnico Pack’ and ‘Business Edition’ are the trim grades. The 2.2 litre engine is common to all the Stelantis vans and comes with a variety of power outputs: 120hp/320nm, 140hp/350nm, 160hp/380nm and 180hp/400nm. A nine-speed auto is an option from the 140 up. The new Ducato 140 impressed us greatly with its driving safety systems, new cabin technology and of course capacity. We say User/Choosers in particular treat yourself with the top grade Ducato you won’t be disappointed.