What with the doughty Ducato sitting above it and the award-winning new Doblo Cargo below, the middleweight Fiat Scudo tends to get forgotten.
This a great pity because this van, which also makes a showing as the Citroën Dispatch and the Peugeot Expert, really is a cracking vehicle with lots going for it in the fleet arena.
There are now even more reasons to choose this van as a new model with a 2.0-litre Euro V engine is available with a blistering 163bhp and 221lb-ft of torque at 2,000rpm on tap.
The new model joins the existing Euro IV engine line-up – a 1.6-litre unit offering 90bhp and a 2.0-litre unit with 120bhp or 140bhp. Euro V versions of these variants are due to arrive later this year.
Despite its high performance level, Fiat reckons the new Scudo is best in its class for fuel economy and CO2 emissions – 40.9 mpg on the combined cycle and 181g/km of CO2 – although of course a driver with a heavy right foot could soon put a different slant on these figures.
Our test model was the long wheelbase low roof version which offers a useful 6.0 cubic metres of space in the cargo area and a payload of 1,200kg.
On the safety front, a driver’s airbag and ABS brakes come as standard but only this highest powered version gets ESC stability control – it comes as a £370 option on other models.
A passenger airbag is £110.
Other standard goodies include electric windows, two side loading doors, remote control central locking and a height adjustable steering wheel.
The Scudo costs £19,595 ex-VAT.
Behind the wheel
As can be seen from the photograph above, this Scudo is a handsome beast, with long, sleek lines and a shiny, metallic silver paint job, which incidentally costs an extra £390.
We also had the addition of a rear parking sensor, which is which is easily worth its £240 cost.
ESC is standard on this model but it’s a shame Fiat doesn’t take the plunge and make it standard across the range, as has been done with the rival Mercedes-Benz Vito, Volks-wagen Transporter and Ford Transit.
In the cab, the seats are delightfully comfortable, as can be proved as I undertook a 360-mile round trip in one day which saw me completely free from aches and back pains.
There are no fewer than four cupholders in the cab too – this must be a record!
The Scudo is a cracking vehicle to drive.
Apart from an unpleasantly heavy clutch, general road manners are excellent and the driver is never going to be short of power, even with a full load and in hilly country.
I’d have to say that if I was buying these vans for others to use, I’d opt for the lower-powered models as even the 90bhp versions are sufficient for fleet purposes in my book.
The problem is that with so much power on offer, the driver is tempted to use it and I found myself nudging my speed up regularly without realising.
In fact, on that motorway journey I had great difficulty in keeping to the speed limit, such was the willingness of the engine to release its many horses.
Good looks, great drivability and a stonkingly powerful diesel engine made my test week with this van a joy.
For fleet buyers though, I’d recommend waiting for a lower-powered variants, which arrive soon as Euro Vs.