Slotting into Fiat Professional’s line-up beneath the best-selling Ducato, the Scudo has its work cut out to make its mark in a tough segment that includes the Ford Transit, VW Transporter and Mercedes Vito as well as the Luton-built Vauxhall Vivaro and Renault Trafic.
The van we drove was a L2H1 Comfort 2.0-litre Multijet 161hp Euro5, with a basic price of £19,595.
Our van would set you back considerably more, however, once all the options have been totted up. These included a panelled bulkhead (£90), radio CD MP3 player and Bluetooth (£190), Pack Integrale, which includes painted bumpers and side mouldings, grey exterior handles, painted and electrically folding wing mirrors, fog lights, hub caps and painted rear hinge covers (£290). In addition parking sensors were included for £240 and a rear 12V socket for £20. An airbag and sunvisor with mirror on the passenger side came for £110.
Rather than being just a practical workhorse, the Scudo is a visually stylish vehicle with a steeply raked windscreen, large front bumper and stretched headlamps. The Euro5 engine is responsive and lively and makes the Scudo fun to drive. It is also easy to manoeuvre, which takes the stress out of driving in urban environments. This, of course, is helped by parking sensors and it is a shame these are as yet not standard across the range, although Fiat is hardly unique in asking customers to pay extra for them.
The brakes, however, were a little spongy and the cabin in our van was noisy at motorway speeds.
The interior is spacious with hard, functional plastic and adequate stowage. The controls sited on the steering column are easy to use. The driving position is more car-like than in most medium vans with supportive, height adjustable seating.
Loading is via side or rear doors big enough to take a Euro pallet.
A 1245mm width between the wheel arches and a square-shaped cargo area makes the Scudo a deceptively large load lugger.
A stylish, economical and versatile mid-sized van with generous load space but the competition in the sector is very tough.