The Fiat Doblo Cargo was launched in 2001 and put in nine years of service before the second-generation model arrived. James Dallas looks at what to look out for when buying a used example
Redesigned from the ground up and launched in early 2010, the second-generation Fiat Doblo Cargo has become the chief flag bearer for the youthful Fiat Professional brand, which, since 2007, has seen the Italian manufacturer attack the LCV market with renewed vigour.
The well-received Doblo Cargo has garnered a series of accolades and first scooped the What Van? Light Van of the Year award in 2011 – it now has a hat trick of victories.
But what of the first-generation Doblo Cargo launched in 2001? This was an entirely different proposition. Although a competent workhorse, it came with 1.2-litre petrol and 1.9-litre diesel engines and was criticised for an ugly exterior and non-user-friendly cab. It was available in the UK with one wheelbase only because Fiat decided not to market the long-wheelbase Maxi version here.
Following an update in 2005, the Doblo was offered with 75hp 1.3 and 105hp 1.9 Euro4-compliant common-rail diesel engines as well as a 1.4-litre petrol. This vintage has a maximum payload of 730kg and a loadspace of 3.2m3.
So, having checked the documentation is in order, what should you look out for before buying a used Doblo Cargo?
Check the rear door handles work because they have been known to fail. If they are faulty, the advice from Usedvanexpert.co.uk is to get £50 knocked off the price or have the vendor complete the repair. The website also suggests checking the suspension by looking at the van from a distance. If it is sagging at one end the leaf springs are likely to need replacing and this should entitle you to negotiate a £275 discount.
Next scrutinise the van’s history to see whether the cam belt has been changed on time. On most engines this should be done within five years or 72,000 miles, according to Usedvanexpert.co.uk. If the cam belt and its associated parts, such as the water pump and tensioner, have not been replaced and the mileage exceeds this limit, then the cam belt is almost certainly nearing the end of its lifespan and a failure would usually mean the engine has to be replaced or at least re-built. Either secure a £200 discount or get the vendor to carry out the work. In any case, make sure the cam belt is changed before driving the vehicle.
Open the bonnet and take a look at the front of the engine to ensure there isn’t any oil weeping out of the top and dripping down either of the front corners of the engine. If you find evidence of oil seeping out then it’s a sign the rocker cover gasket needs replacing. It should have been changed at the 24,000-mile service so hold out for a £100 discount or have the repair completed before purchasing the van.
It is also worth noting that early examples of the Doblo Cargo from 2002 were subject to recalls concerning the electrical wiring loom chafing on the steering column and causing unintentional deployment of the driver’s airbag, and also for the accelerator pedal fouling on its travel and preventing the engine from decelerating when the pedal is released.
So how much should you pay for a used Doblo Cargo? A quick search on the whatvan.co.uk used van locator found a 2008 1.2 petrol high-roof Doblo Cargo with 11,000 miles up for £6995 on the forecourt at Versa Batley in Yorkshire.
If you’re after an older model from the bargain basement, a 1900 Doblo Cargo diesel with a 51-plate from 2001 and mileage of 93,208 was posted on the Autotrader website for £750.
Finally, Howie David Commercials in Swansea advertised a 56-plated 2006 1.3-litre Doblo Cargo Multijet with one previous owner and 89,000 miles for £1890.
• Visit www.UsedVanExpert.co.uk for more advice and information.