Fiat Fiorino Review
|Facts At A Glance|
BHP:73bhp - 75bhp
GROSS VEHICLEWEIGHT: 1,680kg – 1,700kg
FiatFiorino- FIOR FACTOR
TheFiat Fiorino may be small but it could be perfectly formed for themodern urban environment.
As our cities and urban areascontinue to indulge their penchant for expansion and sprawl, commercialvehicles may have to undergo a spot of shrinkage to cope. At leastthat’s the view at Fiat where the compact Fiorino van is being toutedas the ideal solution for operators that find themselves beset bycongestion and plagued by soaring costs.
The Fiorino is Fiat’s smallest purpose-built van. The Italian firm willalso supply you with a commercial version of its Punto supermini butits teeny load carrying capacity precludes it for many. The Fiorinodelivers a reasonably spacious load bay coupled with micro dimensionsthat should make the cuts and thrusts of metropolitan motoring that biteasier to avoid. The van, like the mainstay of Fiat’s light commercialvehicle range, was created in partnership with PSA Peugeot Citroen.This means that prospective buyers can obtain vehicles that areborderline identical to the Fiorino in the shape of the Peugeot Bipperand Citroen Nemo. Fiat, of course, would prefer that they didn’t.
Theengine line-up is a key reason why operators might choose the Fiorinoinstead of the Peugeot and Citroen models that share its platform. Fiathas installed its acclaimed 75bhp 1.3-litre Multijet oil-burner ratherthan the 1.4-litre diesel used by its French partners. The unit isextremely compact and lightweight helping giving rise to excellent fueleconomy and with 190Nm of torque, it feels strong as well. With thatmaximum torque produced at 1,750rpm, the Fiorino has the punchy elementto its performance that’s perfect for darting in and out of traffic. Italso has the accurate steering and tight turning circle that operatorswant when space is tight.
Thealternative to the 1.3-litre Multijet diesel is a 1.4-litre petrolpowerplant with 73bhp. Here torque of 118Nm is produced at 2,600rpm sothere’s less urgency at low revs but the petrol is smooth, refined and,crucially, costs less. Petrol tends to be routinely avoided by vanbuyers but the low-mileage, urban usage for which the Fiorino wasdesigned might make unleaded a viable option for some. All models get afive-speed manual gearbox as standard but the diesel is available withthe 6-speed ComfortMatic sequential manual transmission which canoperate in automatic mode.
TheFiorino has been designed with the urban environment very much in mind.The wheels are pushed to the corners of the vehicle to maximiseinterior space and manoeuvrability while keeping the van compact andwieldy. The substantial wrap-around bumper protects against parkingknocks and expensive components like the headlamps, bonnet and radiatorset well back to lessen the chance of them coming to harm.
"Thegeneral impression is one of user-friendliness and sturdy design."
Theinterior of the Fiorino will feel a little confined to those familiarwith full size compact vans but there’s reasonable space for driver andpassenger. The driving position is upright and affords a good view ofthe Fiorino’s surroundings with the seat and the steering wheeloffering a good range of adjustability. Storage space is less generousthan in models from the next class up but with 12 compartments tochoose from, there should be room for most of the essentials. Lots ofthe switchgear in the Fiorino will be familiar to owners of Fiatpassenger cars and these days the Italian firm is well up to speed interms of build quality. The general impression is one ofuser-friendliness and sturdy design.
TheFiorino van is available in Base and SX trim with the former includingABS with EBD, a driver’s airbag, power steering, a CD stereo, heightadjustment for the steering wheel and driver’s seat plus a ladder framebulkhead. The SX adds remote central locking, a nearside sliding sidedoor, electric windows, electric mirrors and other extras. In addition,there’s a Combi model with a row of seats in the back and an Adventurepack which gives additional protection on unsurfaced roads by addingraised suspension, fatter tyres and various body shielding.
TheUK compact van market has split and the Fiorino, along with its CitroenNemo and Peugeot Bipper brethren, is operating in the smallersub-compact class. The Renault Kangoo Compact is another of thispint-sized breed targeted at urban operators. These models are morelikely to win sales from less practical supermini-derived vans thanfrom the larger compact vans like Fiat’s Doblo, Citroen’s Berlingo andthe Volkswagen Caddy which offer considerably larger carryingcapacities.
Ifvan drivers can give up some of the carrying capacity they’re used to,Fiat can give them lower running costs and extra manoeuvrability in theshape of the Fiorino van. It’s a trade off that some will be only toohappy to make with the Fiorino proving well-suited to the trials andtribulations of getting about modern towns and cities.
AThespace available, both in the cabin and in the load area, will be themajor concern for operators looking at the Fiorino. For some, therejust won’t be enough room to cover all eventualities. Those than canmanage, however, get a vehicle ideally suited to its role, with theexcellent 1.3-litre diesel engine giving the Fiorino a key advantageover its sister vehicles from Peugeot and Citroen.
Fiat’sFiorino is small. 3,864mm long and 1,589mm wide, it’s a compact vanwith the footprint littler that most superminis. Despite this, there’sa 2.5m3 load volume to play with and a payload capacity of 610kg. Thatvolume can be increased by means of an optional folding passenger seatwhich flops down to increase capacity to 2.8m3. It may not sound likemuch but it increases the available load length from 1,523mm to 2,491mmwhich is really handy when you’re trying to cram longer items inside.The load bay is accessed through asymmetrically-split rear doors on thestandard model with one or two sliding side doors available from theoptions list. The apertures behind these side doors are narrow so largeitems will have to go in through the rear where there’s a low 527mmloading height and 1,064mm between the wheelarches.
TheFiorino should prove extremely economical to run, particularly inMultijet diesel from where combined economy of nearly 63mpg is not outof the question. Fiat has also worked hard to minimise repair costs forthe van and to extend service intervals.