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Fiat Fiorino Motoring Review

Competing with South Africa's stalwart quarter-tonne bakkie segment, Fiat's bold little van - the Fiorino - is said to be compact enough to cope with inner-city traffic but big enough inside to deal with odd-shaped items that wouldn't ordinarily fit under the canopy of a bakkie.  With a measure of cuteness but decidedly practical and fuel efficient, the Fiorino forms part of Fiat's professional range offering a wide variety of light commercial vehicles suitable for both small and large business operations.

The chunky panel-van-looking Fiat Fiorino measures 3.86 metres long and can swallow 2.5 cubic metres of payload with a loading length of 2.5 metres.  The front passenger seat can be folded down which further increases its payload to 2.8 cubic metres.  For maximum accessibility there is a low loading sill and the rear doors open like a cupboard (unlike the tail-gate of a bakkie).  A sliding side door is fitted as standard on the 1.3 diesel.  A second sliding side door is also available as an option if needed.  As all businesses will do well with a professional appearance, the Fiat Fiorino offers a dynamic exterior design.  It has a muscular front end emphasised by modern headlights and optional integrated front bumper fog lights.  With a robust stance and sleek side lines, the Fiat Fiorino makes for an attractive and professional business partner.

Buy a car like this and you will have a comfortable and accommodating interior – perfectly suited for life on the road.  The centre console includes an ashtray, cup holders, cigarette lighter and a 12V socket. The glove compartment is large and is able to store documents and a laptop.  Hydraulic power steering comes standard and extra cost specifications available are:  parking sensors, remote central locking, aircon, a radio/CD/MP3 player with steering-wheel controls, a Fiat built-in Blue&Me Tom Tom system that allows one to navigate, make phone calls and listen to music using the touch display, steering wheel controls and a USB port on the central tunnel.

The Fiat Fiorino comes in two possible engine variants, once petrol the other diesel.  The 1.4 petrol version produces 54 kW at 5200 rpm and 118 Nm at 2600 rpm, at a cost of 6.4 litres/100 km on a combined cycle.  The 1.3-litre diesel derivative uses Fiat's electronically controlled common rail Multijet direct injection system with turbo and intercooler and delivers 55 kW at 4000 rpm and 190 Nm of torque at 1500 rpm while burning only 4.6 litres per 100 km.

When it comes to safety and security, Fiat have thought of all the possible scenarios, especially on our South African roads.  For those concerned with the security of their goods, the Fiorino’s panel van layout means all goods are securely hidden from prying eyes, while the option of a separate unlocking feature for the front and rear doors is available if desired.  The optional locking system offered in combination with remote central locking allows use of the load compartment even when the driver’s cab is closed, giving greater safety during loading and unloading operations.  Added to this is a comprehensive driver safety list including:  driver and passenger airbags along with ABS and Electronic Brake-force Distribution (EBD) as standard across the range.

The Fiat Fiorino is a welcome addition to South Africa's light commercial vehicle range and should suit any business looking for a delivery work-horse capable of handling its everyday business needs.  Pricing is a competitive R132 490 for the Fiat Fiorino 1.4 and around R152 990 for the Fiat Fiorino 1.3 MultiJet.  Service intervals are set at 1 year/20 000 km with a 3 year/100 000 km warranty. Service plans are available on request.  (Prices are subject to change according to various factors so please consult your dealer for the latest price.)

Written by Stuart Moir
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