The new Fiat Doblò Cargo opens up a world of opportunities. “If you can think it, you can do it” positions the new LCV as a versatile cargo carrier with possibilities as wide as the mind can stretch.
The Fiat Doblò Cargo, with its neat, individualistic styling, economical motor, and comfortable yet functional interior, is aimed at individuals and companies who have a need for a generous cargo area as well as comfort to carry passengers.
Fiat Auto’s second LCV on the local market (after the Fiat Uno Espresso) is in a segment that has seen a sharp sales increase in Europe over the last few years. Fiat’s experience with utility cars and LCVs, internationally, means that the design and execution of this new multispace vehicle are precisely what the market requires.
The Doblò Cargo offers the best volume specifications in its category with a 3,2 m3 cargo area, a payload of 805 kg and best width between the wheel arches of 1200mm, offering space for everything and everybody.
Although design of the Doblò Cargo focuses on function, its uncluttered, sturdy, non-conformist design affords its friendly yet purposeful character. The workhorse nature of the LCV is evident thanks to its broad shoulders and robust plastic grille. The front is tall and strong and the large wrap-around bumpers provide effective protection during parking manoeuvres.
The polished polycarbonate lenses of the headlights produce a gleaming wrap-around effect. The one-piece headlamps are divided into four units and include computer-designed reflectors.
The upright windscreen gives the Doblò Cargo a distinctive look while offering excellent forward visibility. Curved lines, giving the Doblò Cargo an excellent drag co-efficient for this class of vehicle, join the windscreen and roof. Black plastic wrap-around strips give the vehicle a look of completion while protecting it against minor scuffs and bumps.
The black rear bumper is strong enough to stand on when rearranging the cargo. The taillights are housed in black corner protection units that look like brackets enclosing the tailgate.
These attractive light clusters are located high on the rear of the Doblò Cargo to avoid breakage in the event of a light impact. The raised height of the lights also improves visibility at night and when braking.
A third brake light ensures maximum visibility and early warning for other road users, particularly in emergency braking situations. Rear door design and architecture facilitate access for loading and unloading cargo.
In terms of practicality, the Doblò Cargo is also offered with two sliding side doors as an option, increasing accessibility. Metallic paint is also an option for improving the LCV’s aesthetic appeal.
According to Greg Levine, Director of Commercial Operations for Fiat Auto South Africa, “The Fiat brand is world renowned for its innovative concepts. The Doblò Cargo is yet another example of Fiat’s innovative designs that fuse practical day-to-day needs with solid, reliable engineering principles”.
INTERIOR STYLING AND COMFORT
Down to earth, practical and versatile – all the attributes of an excellent delivery vehicle. The interior of the Doblò Cargo echoes the practical yet attractive exterior with its symmetrical design.
The most frequently used controls are carefully positioned to facilitate ease of use. The controls, dials and warning lights are neatly grouped so that everything can be found where you would expect it.
Storage compartments abound and include a perforated shelf above the windscreen that can be used to store maps, delivery notes or a first aid kit.
An analogue instrument panel, with white characters on a black background, allows for information to be read easily and immediately, while orange light illumination makes visibility of all the dials easier at night.
The Doblò Cargo is fitted with power steering as a standard feature, improving driver comfort in all driving and docking conditions.
As a commercial vehicle, the Doblò Cargo offers excellent value for money in standard form and offers a host of optional extras to further improve comfort and convenience levels. Options for Fiat’s new LCV include air-conditioning, remote doors and front power windows, a radio with cassette recorder and driver’s side airbag.
The cargo bay offers 3,2m3 of loading area and can be fitted with an optional load area carpet to ensure that precious loads are not damaged in transit. Due to the width between the wheel arches, this allows the Doblò Cargo to directly accommodate two Euro pallets.
Interior comfort has also been enhanced with a number of acoustic insulation initiatives. Doblò Cargo designers set out to reduce engine and road noise as well as limit transferral of vibrations into the passenger cabin.
A barycentric engine-mounting layout was developed for the Doblò power units. Adding a resonator to eliminate the most annoying frequencies has reduced inlet and exhaust noise.
A flexible element with a round cross section has been adopted on the exhaust pipe to reduce vibrations transmitted from engine to body. In test conditions carried out in third gear and with the engine at a speed of 3 000 r/min, the Doblò Cargo generates a noise level of just 65dB – testimony to the advances that have been made.
Reliability, low fuel consumption and good acceleration at low revs are all-important characteristics for a delivery vehicle that must perform well in urban driving conditions. The 1,9-litre diesel motor fitted in the Doblò Cargo offers all these attributes along with excellent ease of driving.
Although the 1910 cc in-direct injection diesel motor is a conventional design it offers sophisticated technical features such as an electric exhaust gas recirculation valve (EGR) instead of a pneumatically controlled valve.
The 1,9-litre 4-cylinder diesel motor is ideally suited to the vehicles operating parameters, driven through a 5-speed manual gearbox and producing 46 kW at 4 500 r/min and a strong torque figure of 118 Nm at just 2 500 r/min.
The system manages the following parameters in real time: amount of fuel injected; advanced driver’s power requirement expressed through the accelerator; and EGR. These operating elements all have a considerable effect on fuel consumption, emissions and driving comfort. The engine characteristics make the Doblò Cargo ideal for customers operating over mixed routes, with excellent driveability and frugal fuel usage.
The Doblò Cargo’s suspension configuration allows for interior comfort as well as ensuring a safe driving experience. In front, the LCV is fitted with the independent McPherson configuration.
The shock absorber and spring are not simply flexible damping elements but also structural parts that form elements of the drive chain. The rear suspension comprises a rigid axle and leaf springs. This simple, sturdy and easily maintained solution is well adapted to the rigorous demands that are placed on the LCV.
One of the most important considerations when operating a vehicle for commercial reasons is the running cost. The Doblò Cargo’s 1,9-litre diesel motor is an economical performer, boasting a combined cycle figure of just 7,7 litres per 100 km.
The Doblò Cargo immediately gives the impression of being sturdy, strong and reliable. Good acceleration, effective braking and predictable control under all driving conditions ensure active safety. The braking system ensures optimal performance in all conditions and on all road surfaces, providing prompt, gradual stopping power.
When combined with callipers equipped with a special body sliding system and specially shaped linings, the ventilated front disc brakes ensure effective stopping power, fade resistance, reduced pad wear and less noise.
The rear brakes and drum type are fitted with self-centring shoes with automatic play take-up to ensure consistent, reduced pedal travel and more prompt braking. The 9-inch brake servo facilitates braking by reducing the thrust required on the pedal. The short pedal travel ensures that brake servo specifications are exploited to the full.
Passive safety features are essential components of the Doblò Cargo’s overall design principles and include an ultra high strength steel body, crumple zones and a bonnet with pre-set collapsible lines, three-point seat belts, antisubmarining seats with head restraints and impact beams in the doors. Innumerable tests have been carried out at the Fiat Safety Centre in Orbassano to ensure optimal occupant safety.
“The Doblò Cargo offers a host of possibilities and lives up to the phrase: If you can think it, you can do it. The South African economy at present looks set for a resurgence and we believe the Doblò Cargo has all the attributes to make its presence felt in the tough LCV market”, says Levine.
Services and Warranties
The Fiat Doblo’ Cargo enjoys full after-sales backing in South Africa thanks to a comprehensive parts inventory and trained technicians at 76 Fiat dealerships countrywide.
Fiat Auto South Africa offers Doblò Cargo owners a 36-month/100 000 km dealer warranty, three years on paintwork and five years on anti-perforation.
Services are required at 10 000 km intervals.