Fiat Scudo Panaroma Review
|Facts At A Glance|
INSURANCE GROUPS: 11-13 [est]
CO2 EMISSIONS: 194-196g/km
PERFORMANCE: [140bhp] Max Speed106mph
FUEL CONSUMPTION: [120bhp] 38mpg(combined) [est]
STANDARD SAFETY FEATURES: twin frontand side airbags, ABS with electronic brakeforce distribution
WILL IT FIT IN YOUR GARAGE?: length4805mm (SWB) 5135mm (LWB)
FiatScudo Panorama- ROOM WITH A VIEW
We’renot going to patronise you by dressing the Fiat Scudo Panorama up asanything other than a van with seats and windows but don’t let thatfact undermine its ability.
It’s a curiously Britishaffliction to recoil in horror from any passenger vehicle that sharesits roots with a commercial vehicle but the Fiat Scudo Panorama showsthat if you can sacrifice some polish, you’re rewarded with a wholeheap of practicality. If you need to lug family and a lot of gear, it’swell worth a look.
Let’snot beat around the bush. As much as the Scudo Panorama plays the MPVcard, it’s effectively a Scudo van with seats and windows fitted. ThisScudo, like its predecessor and its bigger brother the Ducato, is aproduct of Fiat’s alliance with PSA Peugeot Citroën who badge theirwagons Expert and Dispatch. It’s an unorthodox-looking vehicle with asteeply raked windscreen, a huge front bumper and dramaticallyelongated headlamps.
Thestyling themes are definitely more Peugeot than Fiat with the largefront overhang and the bonnet that rises at the edges before easing upinto the A-pillars. Half close your eyes, stand on your head and on afoggy morning, you could almost mistake it for a 407.The Panorama modelis offered in either long or standard wheelbase guises with a 2.0-litreMultijet diesel cranking out either 120 or 140bhp. Fiat claims it’s a5/6 seater but an additional row of seats can be fitted if necessary.
TheScudo Panorama isn’t going top be the first port of call for those MPVbuyers looking for a sparkling driving experience. Unless your workvehicle is a pantechnicon, the Panorama isn’t going to feel especiallylively. Load it to the gunwales with passengers and related gubbins andyou’ll probably want the more powerful of the two engines if you’re tomake anything other than stately progress.
Onthe open road, the Scudo is very pleasant to drive with the suspensiontaking care of the bumps admirably and the electrically assistedsteering being light and accurate. The Scudo corners with good bodycontrol for such a high-sided vehicle and the braking is assured withABS and EBD as standard.
The2.0-litre engines both feature second generation JTD Multijettechnology and that means torque of 300Nm or 320Nm for the 120 and140bhp models respectively, all generated at a lowly 2,000rpm.Refinement is acceptable although there is inevitably quite a degree ofwind noise and you’ll notice crosswinds when motorway cruising. Thesuspension setup is a fairly rudimentary arrangement of struts up frontand a torsion beam at the back and there is some bump and thump overtcity potholes as a result.
"TheScudo Panorama is all about space and a lot of it."
TheScudo Panorama is all about space and a lot of it. The eternal problemwith MPV-style vehicles is that once you’ve loaded them with all thefamily, there’s nowhere to put the luggage. I drove one such vehiclerecently where when it was configured in seven seat mode there was noteven enough space behind the rearmost seats to carry a modestly sizedbriefcase. Inexcusable, really. That’s certainly not the case with theScudo Panorama. Specify it in standard 5/6 seat guise and even theregular wheelbase model has enough space back there for enterprisingestate agents to slap a For Rent sign on it.
Fromthe outside, things don’t look promising. The Fiorino Combi shares thepleasantly chunky styling of the van version with the only visual clueto its additional seating being small extra side windows behind thefront ones. It’s just hard to imagine five people and even a little bitof cargo fitting comfortably inside when you view the thing from acrossthe street. Happily, the Fiat Fiorino is bigger than it looks and fiveoccupants do fit. Getting three across the rear bench seat might bedifficult if they’re of the burlier persuasion and access is hinderedby the presence of only one sliding side door (a second is optional)but legroom is OK and there’s loads of fresh air overhead. With theseats in use, there’s a handy 360-litres of cargo space behind. Whenthey’re not, the backs fold down and the bases tumble forward to yield2,500 litres, which is only 300-litres down on the capacity of theFiorino van.
TheScudo Panorama is offered in either standard wheelbase (3000 mm) 5/6seater or long wheelbase (3122 mm) guise, with commensurate luggagepayloads of 610 kg and 530 kg for five and six seat versionsrespectively, or 328 kg and 249 kg for the optional eight and nine seatvariants. The light grey plastics aren’t of the soft-touch variety butthey do seem tough and the layout of the controls is largelyconventional with all the important stuff sited on the steering columnitself. For storage there are narrow door pockets, a large pot in frontof the passenger and a small glovebox but you might need that thirdfront seat to sit larger items on. The overhead shelf increases theoddment space available but you have to reach up and feel about blindlyfor anything you’ve put in there, so leave that box of roofing tacks inthe glovebox.
Onlyone trim level is offered but it’s fairly well equipped, as it needs tobe in a market stuffed with so many arresting alternatives. Equipmentincludes electric front windows, dual zone automatic climate control,front fog lights, a CD stereo with wheel-mounted controls, twin frontand side airbags, sliding doors on both sides, Bluetooth mobile phoneconnectivity and a height adjustable driver’s seat.
Therewill always be buyers who need a vehicle capable of hauling a bigfamily and all their paraphernalia but the fact remains that thesecustomers are often among the most cash strapped and have otherdiversions for their cash. Other than a questionable depreciationperformance, the Scudo Panorama turns in some decent results. Bothengines are respectably economical and the combination of long-leggedsix-speed gearboxes and huge 80-litre fuel tanks gives the ScudoPanorama some real reach when it comes to distance between top ups.Emissions are amazingly good too, the 120bhp version emitting 194g/kmof carbon dioxide and the 140bhp engine only slightly worse at 196g/km.
Parenthooddoes some strange things to us. It changes our worldview, it breedstolerance and we learn to put up with things that previously would haveseemed utterly unbearable. Curiously that includes driving a car thatis, in effect, a van with seats and windows. Who cares if it doesn’tlook particularly sassy or that it won’t corner like a BMW? You’ve gotyour family with you, you’ve pacified the kids with their favouritetoys, their mountain bikes and their entire Nintendo Wii gamescollection and that has to be worth more than the fitment of expensivesoft-moulded plastics or leather seats.
TheScudo Panorama answers a very particular call and does the job verywell. It’s big, easy and inexpensive to run, agreeably rugged and comesfitted as standard with a refreshing lack of pretension. Surpriseyourself. Do something sensible next time you buy a new family vehicle.That way you have credit in the bank stored up for the mid life crisis.