Thanks to its long continuous heritage, multiple models and range of options, there are more than 10,000 possible configurations for Ducato vans in total. However, the key points for the most current generation are as follows:
The Ducato is available with a range of Fiat Multijet diesel engines, with 2.3 litre and 3.0 litre units available in various states of tune. Depending on size and state of tune, this engines deliver power outputs ranging from 110bhp to 177bhp.
These engines are complemented by a manual gear box with six forward speeds as standard. On all vans except those with the lowest 110bhp power output there is also the option for an automatic gearbox.
There are many different body styles available, including models from L1H1-L3H2 in the standard range and from L2H2-L4H3 in the Ducato Maxi range of heavy-duty variants. There are also combi, window van, minibus and other versions available.
These many options provide payload capacities ranging from 800kg to 2,100kg and up to 17 cubic metres of loading volume. It is worth noting that many of the vans in this range are large enough to require an HGV licence for drivers who passed their test from 1997 onwards. This is required for vehicles with a gross weight of 3,500kg or more, and Ducato vans range in gross weight from 3,000kg to 4,250kg.
Though the exact portfolio of features depends on your chosen configuration, there are many driving assistance and safety features available on Ducato vans. These include load-adaptive control, roll-over mitigation, ABS, airbags and stability control.
Positives and Negatives
The engine and general mechanical quality of Ducato vans definitely feature among their strong points. They offer excellent reliability - one of the key reasons that many van operators choose a Ducato - and the engines deliver both strong performance and market-leading fuel economy. The engines are also relatively subdued in terms of noise levels even at high revs. It is worth noting that the excellent 2.3 litre is not one that has been made available for Peugeot and Citroen vehicles, as many of Fiat's other offerings have.
Driving the van is pleasant with great steering and good visibility. Suspension is not the best, but is pretty good. Both manual and automatic gearboxes are smooth and effective, though the automatic can be a little slow to respond when changing speed quickly.
The dizzying array of options for body styles, features and engine configurations is another strong point - though Fiat have perhaps gone a bit over the top in this regard, and as such it can be hard to navigate the range effectively. Ducatos are larger vans, with most of the size options being big enough to require an HGV licence, but even considering the fact that the vans belong to a large size class in the first place, they offer good amounts of loading space and weight capacity.
The build quality inside the cabin is not quite up to the highest standards but is quite adequate. The cabin offers plenty of storage and the option for high-tech gadgets such as an alert if you should start to wander out of your lane without properly signalling.
The Ducato range represents a truly excellent selection of vans, up there with the best on the market right now. The huge selection of configurations virtually guarantees there is something right for your needs, though can also make it hard to find that perfect van. However, on the whole, the range's weak points are minor while its strong points are many, making it hard to go too far wrong.