Surprisingly nimble considering it's not the most aerodynamic looking vehicle
Functional rather than fashionable, but very solid
All versions have stability control, but only four airbags
Those tough, scuff-proof materials bode well, but Fiat has a poor reliability record
Plenty of space for five, plus a couple of big dogs stretched out in the boot
Avoid the entry-level trim, and you won't do too badly
There are four engines available. The biggest is a 2.0-litre diesel that's willing at low revs but not that quick, but the 104bhp 1.6 diesel isn't much slower and makes the Doblo much more affordable. It's quite smooth, too, although it's a little noisy when you rev it hard. There is also an 89bhp 1.6 diesel and a 1.4 petrol. The Doblo isn't exactly fun to drive, but it's more agile than its looks suggest, despite numb steering. The Doblo's upright shape creates some wind noise at speed but it's nothing that'll drive you mad. The ride is generally comfortable but you can feel and hear the suspension labouring over sharper bumps.
The Doblo's interior is user-friendly, with simple, well-placed controls and a high-up gear lever that's easy to reach. Like its van counterpart, it uses plenty of rugged, durable materials inside that should stand up well to family life. The steering wheel adjusts for both height and reach, but entry-level versions miss out on height adjustment for the driver's seat. Visibility is good, thanks to the large glass area. The Doblo's height means there's lots of headroom and a deep boot, while sliding doors make it easy to access the rear seats. A flat floor in the back means the centre passenger can sit comfortably, although rear legroom isn't especially generous - no more than in a VW Golf, anyway. The rear seats fold completely flat to make a van-like interior, but you'll need strong arms and plenty of space to open and close the huge tailgate. You can opt for two extra seats to be mounted in the boot, but you'll need to remove them each time you want to put more than a couple of shopping bags in. The biggest luxuries on entry-level Active versions are electric front windows and a CD player; you have to upgrade to Mylife trim to add air-conditioning and a height-adjustable driver's seat, while top-end Eleganza models include alloy wheels, a leather steering wheel and electric rear windows.
The Doblo is built to be hardwearing, so its interior is decidedly utilitarian. As for mechanical durability, however, Fiat has a poor record. All Doblos come with stability control and twin front airbags, plus front side airbags that also cover the same area as a curtain airbag. However, curtain airbags for the rear windows are not an option. Deadlocks and an immobiliser are standard.
The Doblo is reasonably priced considering its size, although the cheapest versions are a bit too basic. The diesel engines are clean and efficient thanks to standard stop-start technology across the range, so running costs won't be too high, but you'll probably lose a considerable chunk through depreciation.