The Fiat Doblo is a medium-sized people carrier that can seat up to seven. Its van-based origins mean it was a bargain among other MPVs when new, and it’s an absolute steal as a used car, with a choice of engines– but its biggest asset is its huge boot.
The Fiat Doblo is an upright people carrier with boxy styling. It’s based on the Doblo Cargo van and gets the same sliding rear doors – these make access for people and fitting child seats much easier than conventional doors. There are also large windows throughout, which give a great view.
Lower trims (Pop and Easy) get steel wheels, while Lounge models swap them for alloy wheels and add rear parking sensors. Trekking trim gets off-road styling, with a body kit and roof bars, plus extra hardware to improve grip on mud and snow – but all Doblos are front-wheel drive and don’t have any real off-road ability.
What's it like to drive?
The Fiat Doblo engine range comprises a 1.4-litre petrol and 1.3 and 1.6-litre Multijet diesel engines. Both diesels have more shove than the petrol, especially if you regularly carry lots of passengers and cargo. Even with just a driver on board, the petrol engine takes a while to get up to speed, especially on the motorway, but the diesels are fine for all roads.
The Doblo has a fairly tall body, which means it leans more than a Skoda Yeti when you’re on a roundabout but the Fiat’s suspension does a good job of dealing with ragged surfaces. The light steering makes life easier in town, especially when you’re parking, and the manual gearbox is nice to use.
The light steering makes life easier in town, especially when you’re parking.
The Doblo’s interior is one of its best features, with absolutely masses of headroom for everyone and their top hats. Standard Doblos have five seats and those that were specced with the Family Pack when new get an extra pair in the boot – and legroom in all of them is fine for average-sized adults. On most MPVs with seven seats the rear-most pair fold flat into the floor when not needed, to boost luggage space, but the Doblo’s don’t. They can be removed, though, and stored in a utility room or dry garage.
The Doblo’s commercial origins mean you won’t find much in the way of soft-touch materials on the dashboard or doors, but everything’s well-assembled and has a utilitarian feel to it. There’s no infotainment screen to speak of but the dash is dominated by the FM/AM radio/CD player, which is flanked by air vents; most versions have air-con and some have climate control.
Doblo equipment is fairly basic on Pop trim, with electric front windows. ‘Easy’ models let you operate the radio from the steering wheels and Lounge trim adds cruise control and electric rear windows (although the rear-most windows for the sixth and seventh passengers pop open rather than wind down). This trim also adds Bluetooth via Fiat’s Blue&Me tech.
As you’d expect, practicality is another Doblo highlight; there’s a range of cubby holes, a glovebox with a shelf above, cup holders for your favourite iced or hot drink and decent door bins front and rear for those all-important road-trip snacks.
The boot in models with five seats is huge, with space for several full-sized suitcases to be stacked on top of one another. The rear seats fold to create, appropriately enough, van-like space, and with them in use a variable-height load cover keeps cargo out of sight. The boot lid is also huge, opening wide to reveal a large opening.
Doblos with seven seats have boot space for a few soft bags – the seats can be removed altogether when you need to carry more cargo but you’ll need an assistant to help because their bulky.
Reliability and running costs
The Fiat Doblo’s fuel economy has been measured using the old-style consumption test, but in the real world the 1.4 petrol is likely to return around 30mpg on average. Both diesels should be able to achieve economy in the 40s.
Fiat sold the Doblo with a three-year warranty when new, and all of the examples you’ll find for sale on cinch are older than that, so you might want to consider cinchCare for added peace of mind.
What cinch loves
We love the Doblo’s practical, no-nonsense interior. Those sliding rear doors make access much easier for the less mobile and mean it’s more comfortable when you’re leaning in to fit child seats to the Isofix mounting point-equipped outer rear seats.
The boot is also absolutely huge, even with five occupants on board, which makes the Doblo ideal for families on a tight budget or those who are looking for something to swallow camping gear and leisure equipment for a long weekend away.
Still looking for the one?
Use our comparison tool to find the car for you
Looking for a no-frills people carrier with an interior that can be converted into a van-like space? The Doblo is the MPV for you. There’s room for all of the family and their clobber – plus the dog – for school runs and holidays, and the tall load space does a grand job of swallowing furniture and rubbish for those trips to the recycling centre.
This review was