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Fiat’s new jewel in commercial market came as a huge surprise, even if it was a novelty for me

Improved Scudo is a smooth, fun and comfortable drive

The Fiat Scudo is a very good-looking van

Daragh KeanySunday World

Full confession, this isn’t my normal area of expertise but with the growing number of van sales and the constant requests from you guys to include some vans we decided to take the brand-new Fiat Scudo for a seven-day spin.

Back with a bang after a five-year hiatus the Scudo is now for sale again and the third-generation light commercial van is a real piece of work.

Bigger than the Doblo and Smaller than the Ducato, the Scudo will soon become Fiat’s jewel in the commercial van range.

Before collecting it, I did my research and it is fair to say that the old Scudo wasn’t loved much by the van critics. To look at it was no oil painting, but I never understood why looks are so important to van buyers.

I always assumed that the size, tow capabilities and functionality of the vehicle were far more important. But then I look at the second-gen Scudo and I now understand where they are coming from; especially in the passenger version.

But the past is behind us and now we have a very good-looking new Scudo to enjoy. The car side of Fiat only have the 500, the Tipo and the Panda to sell at the moment so expect an extra push on this stunning new van.

While it is easily one of the biggest vehicles I’ve ever driven, in the world of vans it falls into the ‘medium-sized’ category.

This is based on the Citroen Dispatch and Peugeot Expert, which explains the change as the previous mid-sized van, the Talento, was based on the Renault Trafic while the previous Scudos were all based on French vans.

Okay, so they haven’t reinvented the wheel here. It is, in some ways, similar to its siblings but that’s okay and almost expected in a highly-restricted world of vans.

From my novice perspective I, can assure you that it is a smooth, fun, safe and surprisingly comfortable drive.

Equipped with a bench-style front cabin you have room for yourself and two passengers and while the levels of tech is nowhere near most passenger cars these days you still get everything you need in the cockpit – like cup holders, a charge port, a decent touch-screen to house the infotainment system and bucket loads of storage in the doors and glove box.

The van also has a pretty good notification systems for obstacles, with frontal-collision warning and most importantly (while reversing) a 180° panoramic rear-view camera.

There’s been a significant increase in the safety systems added to the van. The new Scudo now has 14 ADAS (Advanced Driver Assistance Systems) under its belt. These include automatic road sign recognition, automatic emergency braking, lane departure warning and blind spot alert.

Power comes from a choice of two different output engines with a total of four power outputs. You can have a Fiat Scudo with a 1.5-litre engine with either 100hp or 120hp – that will be paired to a 6-speed manual transmission, or you can have a 2-litre engine with 145h or 180hp.

The 145hp engine gets the choice between a manual transmission or an 8-speed automatic gearbox, while the 180hp Scudo is only available with an 8-speed auto.​

There are giant sliding doors allowing access to both sides of the van, while the back doors open to 90° too, meaning access to the giant van is very easy.

I asked my bricklayer brother-in-law and family friend builder to both take a look.

Neither were overly familiar with the original so had no negative preconceptions. And both were very pleasantly surprised with it and noted how well the crew cab was built.

You should also know that if you’re looking for something a little greener, there’s also an electric Fiat E-Scudo with a 330-km range.

It does need to come with a giant asterisk though, considering how rare it is to get real ranges in regular-sized cars. I’m guessing that once you start loading any sort of weight into the back of this beast you will see a shortfall of that proposed distance.

But I don’t want to finish on a negative. This is a great van. And can be yours for as little as €25,999 stretching up to €40k with higher trim levels and size.

verdict: For me it was a novelty but for the growing number of professional trades people in Ireland the return of the Fiat Scudo is a breath of fresh air.

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