Fiat E-Doblo review
Fiat’s compact van gets electric power for the first time, instantly cementing itself as one of the top choices for this class of EV
- Comfortable and easy to drive
- Just as practical as regular Doblo
- Five-year warranty package
- Limited power in Eco mode
- Tight cabin for three people
- Driver assistance tech all optional
|Van type||Range||Wallbox charge time||Rapid charge time|
|Electric||175 miles||7hrs 30mins (0-100%, 7.4kW)||30mins (10-80%, 100kW)|
Joint ventures and the sharing of technology are nothing new in the world of electric vans. Nissan, Mercedes and Renault’s latest compact zero-emissions vans are all based on the same platform, while the new Fiat E-Doblo here shares its running gear with the Citroen e-Berlingo, Peugeot e-Partner, Toyota Proace City Electric and Vauxhall Combo Electric.
In fact, all five of these vans are nearly identical, save for a different styling and some minor variations in trim level, optional extras and aftersales support. In the case of the E-Doblo, it has a smooth nose and Fiat’s new logo that we first saw on the medium-sized E-Scudo we drove earlier this year. But otherwise it looks exactly like the e-Berlingo.
That’s hardly a dealbreaker though, the E-Doblo’s one-box shape provides lots of cargo space and is available in L1, L2 and Crew Van body styles, with the L2 version offering up to 4.4 cubic metres of space when equipped with the load-through bulkhead.
It can also handle payloads of up to 800kg, and has a maximum towing capacity of one tonne, which isn’t far off the diesel Doblo’s stats. Of course, the E-Doblo gets all the benefits of the EV driving experience on top.
The 50kWh battery is the only size available, but gets mounted under the floor so doesn’t reduce cargo volume. Maximum charging speeds of 100kW mean you can replenish the battery from 10-80% in exactly half-an-hour, while a full charge will take closer to eight hours from a standard 7kW wallbox at home or your workplace. The E-Doblo’s official range is a competitive 175 miles, although this will vary based on external temperature and your payload.
The E-Doblo’s electric motor sends 134bhp through the front wheels, but that’s only in Power mode. In the default Normal setting you get 108bhp, which is plenty for everyday driving. Power mode should be reserved for when you’ve got a heavy load onboard, otherwise the throttle feels a little too eager to respond, while also knocking around 10 miles off the range.
Meanwhile, Eco mode limits power to 81bhp as well as your top speed and cutting off the air conditioning to boost efficiency. To make up for the lack of oomph in this mode you’ll inevitably try harder to accelerate, potentially using up more of that energy you were trying to cling on to. It’s best to save Eco mode for when you’re getting low on juice and really that extra 10 miles or so.
Driving the E-Doblo is quiet and serene, and certainly a lot easier than the typical petrol or diesel van. Simply stick it in drive, and away you go; the electric motor providing seamless acceleration and power. There is a 'B' mode that boosts energy recuperation when you lift off the throttle, but we'd recommend only using this around town, because it can make for a jerky driving experience when cruising on dual carriageways, for instance.
In fact, like its French, British and Japanese sister vans, the E-Doblo shines at low speeds in urban areas, where its manoeuvrability, simplicity and instant power delivery come into their own. You’re also more likely to get closer to the Fiat’s official range if you stick to driving in towns or cities.
The E-Doblo is pretty basic as standard, though every model does at least come with an eight-inch central touchscreen with sat-nav, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. You can upgrade to the Primo trim level to get the load-through bulkhead, rear parking sensors and a view from the reversing camera fed the rear view mirror, among other kit. Fiat offers option packs, too, like the Assist Pack that features lane monitoring, tiredness alert and speed limit recognition.
Fiat Professional's 555 package is also available for the E-Doblo, which bundles five years of warranty, servicing and roadside assistance cover into a single affordable package. We think this could be what swings buyers Fiat's way – at least over this van’s identical siblings.
The Fiat E-Doblo might be the latest small electric van on the market, but based on tried and tested technology, it already sits at the top of its class. Like the models it shares so many parts with, the E-Doblo doesn’t come with a huge amount of goodies as standard, but there’s plenty of advanced driver assistance tech available in reasonably priced options packs. We reckon it may well be Fiat’s 555 warranty and service package that tempts buyers in, however.