Do you do Fiat Scudo?

The Peterborough Evening Telegraph - - ET Business -

THERE are cer­tainly some dis­tinc­tive-look­ing panel vans out there at the moment, but man­u­fac­tur­ers re­main un­will­ing to shoul­der the devel­op­ment costs of these ve­hi­cles alone.

That’s why we see new mod­els brought to mar­ket by groups of man­u­fac­tur­ers with each in­di­vid­ual mar­que brand­ing the ve­hi­cle as their own.

The Fiat Scudo we look at here, like its pre­de­ces­sor and its big­ger brother the Du­cato, is a prod­uct of Fiat’s al­liance with PSA Peu­geot Citroen. So, you can also get it badged as a Citroen Dispatch or a Peu­geot Ex­pert.

It’s an un­ortho­dox-look­ing van what­ever in­signia adorns its grille with a steeply raked wind­screen, a huge front bumper and dra­mat­i­cally elon­gated head­lamps.

The styling themes are def­i­nitely more Peu­geot than Fiat with the large front over­hang and the bon­net that rises at the edges be­fore eas­ing up into the A-pil­lars. Half close your eyes, stand on your head and on a foggy morn­ing, you could al­most mis­take it for a 407.

The Scudo is one of the smaller panel vans you’ll en­counter on your com­mer­cial ve­hi­cle search but, cru­cially, it’s not as small as the old Scudo model it re­placed.

Dur­ing its marathon in­nings that stretched from 1995 to 2007, that model sold some 350,000 units partly be­cause there was noth­ing else on the mar­ket quite like it in terms of size - with the ob­vi­ous ex­cep­tion of its Citroen and Peu­geot sis­ter ve­hi­cles.

Where the old Scudo slot­ted into the no van’s land be­tween smaller panel vans like the Volk­swa­gen Trans­porter and larger lit­tle vans like Ford’s Tran­sit Con- nect, this model goes head to head with the first group. If it’s go­ing to beat these ri­vals on a level play­ing field, it will need to be good.

The Scudo range is far broader than be­fore. Buy­ers can vary the avail­able load­space in their model by se­lect­ing from two wheel­bases (L1 and L2) and two roof heights (H1 and H2).

This gives rise to pay­load ca­pac­i­ties be­tween 1,000kg and 1,200kg with load vol­umes of 5m3, 6m3 or 7m3. The Scudo of­fers a class-lead­ing load­ing height of just 490mm (which the op­tional air-sus­pen­sion can drop fur­ther) and im­pres­sive load ac­cess with full-height rear doors and a slid­ing side door on each flank.

With open­ings of 924mm wide, these slid­ing side doors are big enough to take a stan­dard Euro pal­let.

This, along with the 1,245mm load­ing width be­tween the whee­larches and the square shape of the load­bay gen­er­ally, helps make the Scudo one of the best small panel vans when it comes to ac­com­mo­dat­ing larger ob­jects.

Don’t nec­es­sar­ily let the mod­est 1.6litre ca­pac­ity of the Scudo’s en­try-level en­gine put you off.

This 90bhp unit chips in with a siz­able 180Nm torque rat­ing and it will be more than ad­e­quate if you do most of your driv­ing around town.

The 2.0-litre en­gines are stronger for those car­ry­ing big­ger loads on longer trips. There’s the choice of 120bhp or 140bhp power here and that means torque of 300Nm or 320Nm, both at a lowly 2,000rpm.

These are ex­cel­lent com­mer­cial ve­hi­cle en­gines with strong econ­omy and power enough to make you ques­tion the need for the larger 2.5-litre units em­ployed by some ri­vals. The 120bhp 2.0-litre is prob­a­bly the pick of the range.

BROAD RANGE: Fiat’s small panel van comes with two wheel­bases and two roof heights, and in a num­ber of en­gine op­tions.

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