And it’s equally fair to say that by the time we arrived back

Road Test: Fiat Doblo 1.6 Multijet 105hp EleganzaThe Fiat’s Doblo MPV scores highly in the practicality stakes due to the sheer abundance of space within its somewhat cuboid form.00:00, 2 JUN 2013Updated13:00, 6 JUN 2013So it is fair to say that when Fiat’s Doblo MPV arrived at chez Gibson the morning before we were due to decamp to North Wales for a long weekend it was in for a stern test.And it’s equally fair to say that by the time we arrived back three days later that it had passed with pretty much flying colours.While it’s boxy demeanour means that this people carrier is likely to win few beauty contests it will always score highly in the practicality stakes due to the sheer abundance of space within its somewhat cuboid form.Boxes are, after all, box shaped for the very good reason that they’re easy to cram loads of stuff into.And so it proved on the morning of our departure when the Doblo’s cavernous boot swallowed all of our luggage for the weekend with consummate ease.The wide tailgate and low floor, with no lip to lift heavy items over, meant that everything was loaded and stacked neatly and tidily in double quick time with space to spare in the 790 litres available which can be increased by folding the rear seats down and rises to a mammoth 3,200 litres if you remove them altogether.Once en route the equally capacious cabin meant that there was plenty of room for everyone to get comfortable.Millie, aged 9, and seven year old Rory had space to literally stand up and swing the proverbial cat in the back so generous was the rear leg and headroom.The wide rear seats would very comfortably fit three adults even on the longest journeys but as there was only to two of them it meant the middle one could be used for a basket of more than enough toys, games consoles and goodies to keep them occupied for the 120 mile or so trek to Prestatyn.All of which meant that, aside from the odd request for sweets from mum Sam’s stash up front, the journey passed without them either driving us both insane and/or starting their own private war in the back.And there was plenty of oddment storage in the front for Mrs G to provide a wide choice of sweets with generous door bins, a roomy and lockable glovebox and a handy large shelf above the windscreen capable of holding mobile phones, maps, books, etc.Getting into this spacious interior is made easy by large rear sliding doors and the whole place has a light and airy feel thanks to a wide expanse of glass on all sides.The 105 horse power 1.6 litre turbodiesel power pack in the range topping Eleganza model I drove sits between a 1.4 litre petrol option and a more powerful 2.0 litre oil burner and offers a good combination of performance and economy, with town traffic or motorway cruising equally well handled.The interior of the Fiat DobloThe ride is comfortable and grip and handling surprisingly precise for a car of the Doblo’s dimensions with body roll pretty well controlled no doubt helped by the fact that it shares aspects of its platform with Fiat’s sporty supermini the Punto.Fuel economy of 54 miles per gallon on average with carbon emissions of 138g/km also make this 1.6 litre diesel, paired with a versatile six speed manual transmission, the sensible option for the family budget. An automatic start/stop system is standard across the range to help achieve these figures.Kit levels are a little stingy though, with Fiat hoping to coax you into parting with a little more cash for the real bells and whistles as optional extras.Nevertheless, Eleganza trim makes the Doblo a very pleasant motor in which to travel with 16 inch alloys, air conditioning, a leather multi function steering wheel and stereo equipped with Fiat’s Blue hands free system with USB port.The latter promises voice activation of connected phones and media players but it is worth checking compatibility. We found that you need expensive extra connections for it to work with an iPod while my non Apple, MP3 player proved incompatible.We could still use the aux in socket to play the kids’ favourite pop ditties (unfortunately!) although we had to control them manually via the player itself.Rear parking sensors, cruise control and satnav will cost you extra, as will the family pack if you want to convert your Doblo into a seven seater..

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