The new Fiat Ducato is due to launch in Ireland in the coming weeks.
For 2011, the Ducato retains the same distinctive styling as before, but the cabin has been revised. There are three trim levels now on offer, refinement has been improved to the same standards as a medium-sized car, and under the bonnet there is a new range of MultiJet II engines.
Second-generation MultiJet brings with it higher injection pressure and faster injectors which in turn means more precise combustion. This lowers CO2, NOx and particulate emissions and improves fuel economy by 15 per cent compared to the Euro 4 engines, while also making the engines smoother and more refined.
The MultiJet II system itself uses 40 per cent fewer components than MultiJet I, thereby improving reliability, and service intervals have now extended to 48,000km for all engines, lowering running costs for operators even further.
The engine range at launch comprises two 2.3-litre turbo-diesel engines and one 3.0-litre unit. The entry-level engine, which employs a fixed-geometry turbocharger, produces 130hp and 320Nm yet is seven per cent more efficient (186g/km, 7.1L/100km ) than the 120hp Euro 4 engine it replaces. Even greater efficiency is achievable with the optional start-stop system (available shortly after launch ), which shuts the engine down at standstill and which also includes a gear-shift indicator to help drivers select the most efficient gear in any given driving situation.
Safety-wise, the Ducato is fitted with disc brakes front and rear and has four-channel ABS with EBD on all models. It is also equipped with an adaptive driver's airbag as standard, while a 120-litre front passenger’s airbag, side airbags and window airbags are also available. Hill holder, brake assist, ASR, and MSR (which manages engine torque in the event of a sudden down shift ) are also features of the new Ducato, while a new, more sophisticated stability control system is optional. It incorporates a new load adaptive control feature which takes vehicle load and centre of gravity into account. A new traction+ system also debuts on the new Fiat Ducato and is designed to improve traction on low-grip surfaces such as gravel and wet grass. It utilises the ESP system to simulate the behaviour of a self-locking differential and is activated by a button on the dashboard at speeds of up to 30km/h.
Fiat claims there are around 2,000 versions of the Fiat Ducato available in total. GVWs vary between 3,000kg and 4,000kg; payloads range between 1,000 and 2,000kg (including driver ), and there are three wheelbases, four lengths, and three heights for van versions.
There are eight load area volumes, ranging from eight to 17 cubic metres, and the load area offers 1,422mm of width between the wheel arches; a maximum height of 2.17m; a maximum rear door height of 2.03m and loading height of just 46cm with the adjustable self-levelling suspension.
There are three different sizes of rear door and sliding side door, too, while rear doors that open to an angle of 270 degrees are available to order. There are even two bulkhead options, both upholstered and soundproofed, with or without a sliding window.
Conversion bases are available in four wheelbase lengths and five different overall lengths, with up to 2,100kg permitted on the front axle and 2,400kg on the rear, and the Ducato's maximum towing capacity is 2,500kg.