When the Fiat Ducato was launched, it very much slid under the radar. There was no fanfare and no gimmicks. It just arrived and began delivering. That’s part of the reason why the Ducato has become such a phenomenal success in the large van sector – not that you’ll notice many of them around, and that’s because it's most commonly used as a motorhome.
It’s also a shared product with the Peugeot Boxer and Citroën Relay. They, too, are popular in the motorhome sector, but it’s the Ducato that has stolen a march on its rivals. That’s not to say it doesn’t make a competent van too. A high payload capacity is, after all, one of the reasons why so many body builders use vans for motorhomes, the other being that, unlike the Peugeot and the Citroën, the Fiat comes with a choice of engines and power outputs.
Fiat’s own Multijet II diesel engine technology provides power across the range, with outputs from 115bhp to 177bhp. Previously available with a choice of two engines (a 2.3 and a 3.0), the Ducato now has a downsized 2.0-litre unit for the entry-level 115bhp option and a revised 2.3 with 130bhp, 150bhp or 177bhp outputs. The 150bhp engine is also available as an ultra-efficient EcoJet option that improves fuel economy to a claimed 47.9mpg.
The Ducato is available in more than 10,000 different configurations, with four body lengths and three body heights. Sizes L1H1 to L3H2 constitute the regular vans, while a heavier-duty Ducato Maxis is available in L2H2 up to L4H3 sizes. There’s also the option of a Comfort-Matic automatic gearbox, available on all models except the entry-level engine.
As well as a panel van, the Ducato is available as a platform and chassis cab (used for those motorhome conversions), dropside, three-way tipper, crew van and minibus. The Ducato is available only with front-wheel drive.