Fiat Doblo (2010 – 2021) Review

Fiat Doblo (2010 – 2021) At A Glance

Honest John Overall Rating
Practicality trumps all else with the van-based Fiat Doblo, which gives it genuine no-nonsense appeal. It’s not great to drive, though.

+Massively practical. Decent economy from diesel engines. Hard-wearing interior.

-Noisy, especially under hard acceleration. Divisive styling. Short on refinement.

Insurance Groups are between 4–13
On average it achieves 90% of the official MPG figure

The Fiat Doblo is all about practicality. As a van which has been converted for passenger use, that’s no surprise, and it can carry up to seven people, plus luggage. The cabin is well put together, but don’t expect much in the way of refinement or driving pleasure. Rivals include conventional MPVs, such as the Ford C-MAX, or you could look to other van-based offerings, such as the Peugeot Bipper Tepee. Read on for our full Fiat Doblo review.

The original Fiat Doblo, launched in 2001, was little more than a van with windows.

There was nothing wrong with that, though. It was an honest, reliable option that proved great value for buyers looking for massive space on a small budget.

This Fiat Doblo arrived in 2010, and moved the game on. The best bits remained: incredible practicality, a huge amount of space inside and some decent engines.

But it was also more car-like than before.

This is because it was based on the contemporary Fiat Punto Evo. As a result, it handled better than its predecessor, and also gained goodies including ESP with hill hold function, hands-free phone connectivity and satellite navigation. 

There’s no getting away from the overall van-like shape, but a floating roof, large glazed side area and what on first glance seems like a huge screen at the back all helped make the Fiat Doblo look more interesting, differentiating it from similar models.

Indeed, styling-wise, it had more in common with the Skoda Roomster than other van-based cars.

All Fiat Doblos come with five seats and a huge boot as standard, but as with the previous generation model, it’s possible to buy a used version with two seats in the huge boot space, turning it into an affordable seven-seater.

In terms of engines, the range comprises a 1.4-litre petrol, and 1.6-litre and 2.0-litre diesels. The two diesels are the pick of the range, proving powerful, punchy and efficient.

Fancy a second opinion? Read heycar’s Fiat Doblo Cargo review here.

Ask Honest John

Are fuel tank modifications safe?

"I have a friend who purchased a Fiat Doblo which had already been adapted into a WAV. The modification included a lowered fuel tank which now protrudes c.3inches below the visible body and, when driving it, she regularly grounds on speed bumps. She has already cracked the tank and had it repaired. This doesn't seem safe to me as the fuel tank is fully exposed to any object on the ground. Neither the dvla or the mot checks seem to anticipate anyone would expose a fuel tank this way, they merely suggest that "unsafe" modifications may be illegal. What are your thoughts on this? "
If the vehicle has successfully passed MoTs with the fuel tank modified in this way then it is fair to assume it has been deemed acceptable, but if it is regularly striking the ground then this is not a desirable arrangement. We would suggest looking at having additional protection for the fuel tank fitted, or possibly changing the vehicle's ride height by fitting different wheels and tyres or taller suspension springs to avoid the tank making contact with the road.
Answered by David Ross

Can you recommend a secondhand MPV for my disabled mum?

"I need to buy a secondhand MPV for my disabled mum. Probably 3-5 years old. I think we need one with a sliding ramp at the rear, possibly with an electric winch, too. A Fiat Doblo has been mentioned. Do you have any recommendations or things to look out for? Thanks. "
The Fiat Doblo is a good van, all reported issues with it can be found in the Good/Bad section of our review: I'd recommend the Ford Tourneo Connect. It is more refined than the Fiat and is more plentiful on the used market, which means you can be pickier about its spec and condition:
Answered by Dan Powell

I got a diesel van when I only do short runs and now the DPF keeps clogging. What petrol van should I replace it with?

"I made the mistake of buying a diesel Fiat Doblo van. I only do short runs and the DPF keeps clogging up, even a long run does nothing. What small van would you say is best? I'm looking at Citroen Berlingos but are the diesels as bad as my current van? Should I opt for a 2019 petrol Berlingo?"
In short, do not buy another diesel van. A modern diesel engine needs at least 15-miles per journey to heat up and enable the DPF to perform an active regeneration. Failure to do this will always result in a catalogue of expensive mechanical problems. For our top 10 petrol vans, see:
Answered by Dan Powell

Garage is telling me to look for a secondhand engine or scrap my van - what should I do?

"I took my Fiat Doblo (86,000 miles) for a regular service and MoT to my normal garage, who I feel are trustworthy. On that morning, and afterwards at the garage, the car was found to be misfiring and smoking quite a lot intermittently - sometimes white, sometimes black. They did lots of diagnostics and sent injectors off for testing but found they were not the problem. They seemed quite puzzled about it but eventually concluded after three weeks with the car that there was a lack of compression in the engine due to degeneration of the engine and suggested I either look for a secondhand engine or scrap the car. Does this sound like a reasonable cause of this sort of problem and is there any way to fix this without replacing the engine? "
I'd recommend getting a second opinion, as the lengthy diagnostics procedure suggests that the garage are not entirely sure what they are dealing with. You should be able to find one with our Good Garage Guide, here: There are a number of potential causes of compression loss and I'd expect the garage to pinpoint the cause, given the time they've had the van. If the engine is shot then it might be better to sell the van for spares online via eBay: I wouldn't recommend buying a second-hand engine unless it is sold with a comprehensive stack of paperwork to prove its history. Many used engines are in a poor condition and you may end up back where you started with an engine that's in a similar condition to the one that's already in your van.
Answered by Dan Powell
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