Crewvans seem to be the latest ‘in’ thing in the LCV market at present, with most of the major manufacturers now offering models with extra seating.
It’s not difficult to see why they are so popular – the idea of being able to carry five people yet also a good load of cargo is a tempting one as it could actually mean buying one van instead of two.
The Fiat Scudo is the latest model to offer a
crewvan variant, but this vehicle differs slightly from others we have tested lately in that it has a full
bulkhead with a window between the rear seats and the load area.
The downside of this is that you can’t take the rear seats out as with some other models to increase
the loadspace. But it does mean that the cab feels more upmarket as well as quieter, as there is less sound intrusion from the load area. It also offers more protection against loads in the back.
For those who want a more utilitarian set-up with removable seats, there is a Kombi version available which fills this need.
Our test model is the long wheelbase version, which weighs in at £20,595 ex-VAT. This has seating for five and also a reasonable cargo volume of 3.6 cubic metres in the back.
There’s also a short wheelbase variant available at £19,795, but obviously there isn’t as much room in the smaller model.
Under the bonnet is a PSA 2.0-litre common rail turbodiesel engine badged Multijet to fit in with the Fiat family of engines. It offers 130bhp and 236lb-ft of torque, and returns official fuel economy of 40.4mpg on the combined cycle.
The Scudo is one of those vans that has rather hidden its light under a bushel for many years.
You see plenty of them about on the roads – along with its twin brothers the Citroën Dispatch and Peugeot Expert – but they very rarely seem to win the plaudits they deserve.
It’s a pity, as while this van doesn’t shine in any one area, it doesn’t do anything badly either – and this version impressed us with its style, grace and practicality during our test week.
There’s an overhead parcel shelf and a coffee cup holder for the driver and various other storage compartments.
The crewvan also features a wipe-clean plastic floor, which is handy if passengers happen to have muddy boots.
The solid bulkhead means that passengers in the rear seat have restricted legroom and anyone more than six feet tall will have trouble getting comfortable.
In the rear, there are six load lashing eyes and our van was fully ply-lined, which is a must in the Fleet Van book of LCV management as it means that it will be pristine in the back when it comes to remarketing, a sure way to improve residuals.
Our van also had reversing sensors fitted at £150, which are well worth the extra cost. As well as reducing reversing incidents, they also help to boost residual values. Electronic stability control is available as a £370 option.
The engine fires up smoothly and quietly. Progress is adequate and cornering feels safe. There’s certainly no shortage of power, even with the vehicle fully loaded.
By Trevor Gehlcken