First drive: Fiat Scudo 1.6 Comfort 90


Most van ranges nowadays offer models with alloy wheels, super sat-nav systems, leather seats and air-conditioning.

And quite often the manufacturers try and give us journalists these vehicles to test, maybe hoping that the readers will be mistaken in believing that all that fancy stuff comes as standard further down.

But for fleet buyers, most want a basic vehicle which will do the job at the lowest price – and it is one of those bread and butter vans that we chose for this test.

The Fiat Scudo was first launched in 1997 and has since then been treated to various relaunches, nips and tucks so it still cuts the fleet mustard in 2012.

A 163bhp model, which we tested some months back, is now available, but I few of those versions will make their way into UK fleets.

The more diminutively powered 90bhp tested here is the fleet choice and to be honest after driving it for a week I was left thinking that 90bhp is plenty for any business user.

Admittedly, the Fleet Van offices are situated in the flatlands of the east Midlands and we didn’t try and climb any major hills during our test week, but even so this van will suit most fleet purposes down to a tee.

There are two wheelbases and roof heights on offer with the Scudo and our test model was the smallest of the range, but still offering a reasonable five cubic metres of cargo space and a payload of 1,200kg.

If the power on offer here isn’t enough, 130bhp and 163bhp versions are also available, although the price rises from the test model’s £16,345 ex-VAT to a maximum of £22,145.

Standard spec includes ABS, driver airbag, panelled bulkhead, two side sliding doors, remote controlled central locking and electric windows.

Sadly, electronic stability programme remains on the options list at £370 along with air conditioning at £590 and parking sensors at £150.

Behind the wheel

Wedged in between the smaller Doblo Cargo and the large Ducato, the Scudo tends to get forgotten about.

That’s a shame as it’s a perky performer and delightful to drive.

In the cab, the seats are big and reasonably comfortable while the dash is stylish yet practical.

There’s a pull-out coffee cup holder near the driver’s hand although, rather meanly, it is blanked off for the passenger.

CO2 emissions and fuel consumption data correct at time of writing. The latest figures are available in the Fleet News fuel cost calculator and the company car tax calculator.