The FIAT Professional brand is continuing to celebrate the 40th anniversary of its halo vehicle, the Fiat Ducato. While the Ducato full-size commercial van is the best-selling light commercial vehicle and motorhome chassis in the European marketplace, FIAT Professional is ready to unveil its mid-cycle action (MCA) of its Ducato to the public.
With the recent introduction of the electrified E-Ducato (the first full-electric vehicle in the FIAT Professional brand), many people would assume that there wouldn’t be a lot of new news for the Ducato going into the 2022 model year. Sure, we have seen prototypes running around Europe with what looks like a new grille design and an updated interior, but new details are showing us that the Ducato improvement is more than just skin deep.
The new Ducato will receive a new lineup of Multijet3 turbodiesel engines going into the next model year. The new engines are designed to comply with the Euro 6D-Final regulations and expand the lineup’s more Heavy Duty offerings. Based on the new H3 power architecture proprietary to Stellantis, the third-generation Multijet3 engines offer improvements in efficiency by reducing the weight (for the benefit of the load capacity) and by lowering consumption and CO2 emissions (by up to 7%, a best-in-class figure).
Durability has also increased, as an essential characteristic of an engine dedicated to the heavy-duty usage typical of commercial vehicles. With four levels of output that include 120 horsepower, 140 horsepower, 160 horsepower, and 180 horsepower variants. The Multijet3 engines are offered with a new 6-speed manual transmission or a 9-speed automatic transmission (available on engines with 140 horsepower outputs and higher).
For those looking for Heavy Duty applications, the three higher horsepower applications are available with the customer’s choice of a manual or automatic transmission. All of the diesel engines in the Heavy Duty offerings produce the same torque numbers as the light-duty models, which includes the best-in-class output of 180 horsepower and 450 Nm (332 ft.-lbs.) of torque.
Of course, the E-Ducato will return to the lineup as well.
The new Ducato also receives an all-new electrical architecture for the new model year. This means the Ducato can now incorporate a number of driver assistance and safety systems, aimed at improving the driving experience and at making the Ducato safer. That being said, the Ducato now becomes the first light commercial vehicle in Europe with Level 2 autonomous driving, offering a full range of Advanced Driver Assistance Systems (ADAS) both on the road and when parking.
From speed limitation to braking control for unexpected obstacles such as pedestrians and cyclists, from road sign recognition to driver attentiveness monitoring, all the way to Adaptive Cruise Control (ACC) with Stop & Go function, Lane Keep Assist and Traffic Jam Assist, the last of which maintains active control over the vehicle’s trajectory, taking into account traffic conditions.
Ducato also benefits from the Ram ProMaster’s digital rear-view mirror, which improves and shows the rearview to replace the relevant mirror, plus the ESC system with Cross-Wind Assist, Trailer Stability Control, and Active Park Assist, the latter a semi-autonomous assistant for parallel and perpendicular parking maneuvers.
The Ducato’s all-new interior is also not only functional but is stylish and full of technology and connectivity. An all-new all-digital instrument display replaces the traditional gauges and can now be customized to display not only a speedometer, but turn-by-turn navigation, Uconnect information, and information from the ADAS systems. There is also the introduction of the new Uconnect 5 infotainment system available in three different screen sizes (5-inch, 7-inch, and 10-inch). The 10-inch display allows a full satellite navigation system including TomTom 3D maps and built-in wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto.
The refreshed interior design is embellished with a redesigned dashboard and steering wheel, along with a new gear lever, new door panels, and automatic air conditioning controls.
There are several smart solutions also incorporated into the new Ducato as well. Keyless Entry and Go allows the customer to lock and unlock the cabin and load compartment doors and start the engine without the key. An electric parking brake helps reduce clutter in the cabin and facilitates relocations. The new Eat-and-Work passenger seat, which becomes a convenient space to work or for a snack when folded down. There is also a compartment to charge mobile phones wirelessly as well as dual USB-A and USB-C ports, and a high-voltage 230-volt power socket. There is also larger and more spacious door panels, a heated windshield with internal electrical resistance for quick defrost, and a self-leveling air suspension, to lower the load threshold, making loading and unloading easier.
Now while the exterior looks mostly untouched, the FIAT Centro Stile design studio refined the Ducato’s look. The new F-I-A-T text logo is centered on the grille, while the grille texture, and skid plates have all been redesigned to align the Ducato’s design more to the new design language for the FIAT brand. There is also the addition of new all-LED headlamps with LED daytime running lights (DRLs). The new headlamps are 30% brighter than the outgoing halogen headlamps they replace.
There is also the addition of a new exterior color called Lanzarote Grey. The new color will be available at launch. Ordering for the new Ducato in Europe, is now open!
We continue to hope that many of these new additions will make it to the North American market with the MCA for the Ram ProMaster van in 2023.