Mercedes Sprinter rival gets fresh look, more kit and updated engines.
Already available to order, the Italian answer to the Mercedes Sprinter starts at £24,670+VAT for the cheapest variant. That comes as standard with the new 2.3-litre diesel engine that meets the Euro 6D emissions requirements, as well as a new front grille and body cladding around what Fiat calls “the most vulnerable” parts of the vehicle.
The new engine will be offered in a range of power outputs, from the basic 118 bhp units to the top-of-the-line 177 bhp version, via 138 bhp and 158 bhp models. All four engines are based on the same block, which Fiat claims is smoother and more efficient than its predecessor. There’s a new turbocharger, too, which adapts to the conditions and engine revolutions to ensure “the right performance at all times”. Compared with the previous 2-litre engine, Fiat says the basic 118 bhp unit offers 10 percent more torque.
That power plant comes as standard with a six-speed manual gearbox, although the more powerful 138 bhp unit gets the option of a new nine-speed automatic that comes with three different modes. Dubbed ‘Normal’, ‘Eco’ and ‘Power’, these three options allow the driver to tune the shift characteristics and throttle response to suit their needs. The ‘Eco’ setting, for example, offers smoother acceleration and more efficient gear shifts, while the ‘Power’ mode serves up faster throttle responses and holds on to the gears longer, eliciting more performance.
No matter which engine is chosen, though, the Ducato still comes with the new EcoPack. That means all variants get a Start & Stop system, smart alternator and electronically-controlled fuel pump, which Fiat says “provide energy savings and greater combustion efficiency”.
There’s more tech available, too, in the shape of new driver assistance and safety systems. Buyers can specify an autonomous emergency braking system that cuts in if it detects an impending crash, and a blind-spot monitor to alert the driver if a vehicle strays into the blind spot over his or her shoulders. High-beam automation is on offer, too, dipping the headlights if an oncoming vehicle is detected, while customers can also have automatic lights and windscreen wipers.
But the technology isn’t all for safety’s sake. The new seven-inch touchscreen infotainment system is compatible with the Android Auto and Apple CarPlay smartphone connectivity systems, allowing the driver or passenger to project some of the phone’s functions (such as maps or calls) on to the touchscreen, providing hands-free accessibility.