Fiat Ducato Review 2024

Fiat Ducato At A Glance


+Tight turning circle, comfortable cabin with room for three, strong 2.3-litre diesel engine.

-Noisy engines, disappointingly no ESP as standard until April 2013, gearbox failure quite common.

The long running Fiat Ducato series has a history reaching all the way back to 1981. In more recent years, the Ducato has been a joint collaboration between Fiat and its French partners, Citroen and Peugeot. This means the Ducato has most of the virtues and vices of the Relay and the Boxer.

However, the Ducato has one advantage over its French cousins with the range of Fiat engines used, which includes a strong 2.3-litre diesel in various power outputs and a very swift 3.0-litre diesel with 180PS.

The Ducato is a little more expensive to buy than some rivals but it’s also offered with an optional six-speed semi-automatic gearbox in place of the standard six-speed manual transmission. Fiat offers a wide range of different body shapes and sizes, as well as a long wheelbase model. There is further choice thanks to the Ducato being offered in minibus or chassis cab versions, with the later popular among motorhome manufacturers.

Drivers are keen on the Ducato for its high-set driving position and generous amounts of storage inside the cab that makes it a good working environment. Throw in good levels of equipment, generous maximum payloads and a tight turning circle and the Ducato is a solid workhorse of a van.

Ask Honest John

How to choose a good used camper van?

"I am selling my house and thinking of buying a larger camper van to live in while looking for a new place as my current camper is too tiny to do this. I am looking at various models based on a Fiat Ducato van. For instance, a 2017 2.3-litre 130bhp 16,000 miles. Any particular pros and cons of a five-year vehicle? Would a 2018/2019 model be more economical or reliable or is there little difference? I have looked into the MPG and it would be my only vehicle."
Avoid low-mileage Ducatos that spend half of the year parked up on a driveway doing nothing. These vehicles will be prone to costly problems with the injectors, EGR valves and DPF. Large diesel vans are designed to cover large mileages over seven or eight years before being scrapped. They are not designed for 2,000 or 3,000 miles a year and long periods in storage. So what will a good used Ducato camper van look like? It will be used regularly and the owner will have a comprehensive history file for the vehicle that shows an annual service (and oil change) every 12 months or 12,000 miles (whichever comes first). If the van has gas, pay for a habitation safety check. Listen for any knocks from the suspension when test-driving the van (this will point to wear). Also, check the tyres for uneven wear pointing to poor alignment of the suspension.
Answered by Dan Powell

When should I replace the cam belt on my Fiat Ducato camper?

"I’ve got a 2005 Fiat Ducato camper van. I am trying to find out how often the cam belt needs changing. Can you help?"
Both the 2.3 and 2.8 engines use a cam belt. I would suggest replacing the belt, pulley, tensioner and water pump every five years of 60,000 miles (whichever comes first). If the belt fails it will most likely wreck the engine. And I've heard some harrowing reports of engine loss on the Ducato camper due to the belt being run beyond five years/60,000 miles.
Answered by Dan Powell

What motorhomes get the best mpg?

"What motorhomes see the best fuel economy?"
Anything that's based on the Fiat Ducato: L
Answered by Dan Powell

We want to buy a van-conversion campervan - does the Fiat Ducato have a reliable engine?

"We're buying a new or nearly new van conversion-type campervan in the next year or two, most likely a 6m long Knaus. Most big brands like Knaus are based on the Fiat Ducato and, for 2020, Fiat has just introduced their Euro6 van engine now with AdBlue. What's the industry reliability of the current Fiat van engines (115/130/150bhp) and the likely reliability and perception of the new 2020 Euro's 6 engine range? Also, do you have any comments on Fiat vs the Mercedes equivalent that seem to be highly regarded by motorhome and campervan manufacturers and buyers even when sold at a premium price?"
The majority of Fiat Ducato complaints (we hear about) are gearbox related. This seems to be a problem for many of the larger vans that have either the 2.3 130 or 3.0 157 engines with six-speed gearboxes. It seems that the old four-speed 'box was adapted to five-speed and six-speed but the extra gears are not very well supported and failures are common. Fiat has introduced a new nine-speed automatic to correct this reported issue, but it's too early to say if it's more reliable. We will likely know within the next 12 months and (if we receive any complaints) they'll be listed in the good/bad section of our Ducato review: For us, the Mercedes-Benz Sprinter is the best large van on the market:
Answered by Dan Powell
More Questions

What does a Fiat Ducato cost?