Small business is booming in the UK, and sales of commercial vans are higher than they’ve ever been. The sheer range of sizes and shapes available means that everyone from the local plumber to the satellite installer is making the most of being able to lug their equipment around with them wherever they go.
The Fiat Ducato has been been at the forefront of the commercial vehicle sector since 1981, with more than 2.4 million Ducatos having been produced. The current models offer anything from a 2.2l diesel engine up to a 3.6l Pentastar V6, with short, medium and long wheel base editions available. The range of models available is really quite astonishing, with Fiat aiming to be able to suit every potential customer with a specific model which will suit their own personal needs and requirements.
The Fiat Professional range currently consists of a number of commercial vehicles, namely the Ducato, Doblò, Fiorino and Strada. The Doblò was first launched in 2000, and doubles as a panel van and leisure activity vehicle. It won the International Van of the Year award in 2006, and has a payload of 730kg with 3.2 cubic metres of space inside. With engines ranging from a 1.4l to a 2.0, the engine packs a fair bit of power for the size of the van.
The Fiorino, meanwhile, offers 1.4l engines as standard, with a 1.3 also available. With only 72hp available, it’s not intended to be a quick mover, but can certainly pull its fair share of weight when fully loaded. The Strada, however, is a utility vehicle aimed at the pick-up market, and is not as commonly seen in the UK. It’s a 2-door coupé style affair, with engines ranging from a 1.2l petrol to a 1.9 diesel, all with 5-speed manual transmissions. With a maximum loading capacity of 700kg and a fair amount of space in the back, the Strada has been popular all over the world.
It’s the Ducato, though, which has really taken the UK by storm. The first 1981 model was groundbreaking, with a carrying capacity of up to 1.8 tonnes in the Ducato Maxi, with a stunning 2.5l engine powering it. When the second generation was introduced in 1994, a 2.8l turbo diesel was introduced, with the Ducato Maxi 35 being able to carry a whopping 3.5 tonnes of weight. The current third generation offers up to a 3.6l engine, and can pack a huge 4 tonnes in the Ducato Maxi 40, making it one of the biggest lifters around for its size. 6-speed manual and automatic gearboxes are available, with the auto being manufactured by Chrysler. Astonishingly, the 3.6l model can throw out an incredible 283hp — that’s more than an Aston Martin DB6.
At the present moment, small businesses are at an all time high, with more companies and tradesmen starting up now than ever have done before. To put it simply, it’s a great time for the commercial vehicle market, and one which Fiat are thriving in. The British love affair with vans is one which will continue to grow, with small businesses and trades growing all the time. And, as long as that demand for high-quality, well-built commercial vehicles continues, Fiat will be leading from the front with its fantastic range of vans and pick-ups.