Be like a Doblo – do manufacturers still plan to invest in kombivans?

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Will automakers still bet on station wagons? The example of Fiat Doblo may be significant. The Polish Passenger Car Factory has started working on an electric version of this car. Is this the way for the next vehicles of this class?

Kombivan, or what?

Kombivan as a class of car is distinguished by a specific type of body, which is a compromise between a passenger station wagon and a delivery van. Both passenger cars and delivery vans can be listed among them. It can occur in versions of two or five people. Undoubtedly, an important feature of such cars is a very spacious luggage area. In addition to the Doblo, the discussed class includes, for example:

  • Citroen Berlingo,
  • Skoda Roomster,
  • Volkswagen Caddy,
  • Dacia Dokker,
  • Renault Kangoo.

Fiat Doblo as a station wagon

Viewing the Fiat Doblo as a model kombivan is a matter of convention and can be subject to debate. However, we must agree that it meets all the requirements that allow a car to be classified in the discussed class.

Key characteristics of the Fiat Doblo

Originating from the inspiration of the Italian brand, the car had its premiere exactly twenty years ago – in 2000.Its popularity made it decided in 2010 to start serial production of the second generation of the vehicle. Important dates in the development of this car are:

  • 2003 – appearance on the market of the off-road version of the Fiat Doblo with an engine with a capacity of 1.8l and 112-114 hp,
  • 2004 – a major facelift involving modification of the headlights, but also the bumpers and rear lamps,
  • 2006 – Doblo Cargo delivery variant recognized as the Delivery Van of the Year,
  • 2010- Production of the second generation model on a larger chassis, which is built in Turkey as Doblo Classic,
  • 2011 – The Doblo Work Up with a 4 m2 load bed was launched,
  • 2014 – another facelift – this time the trunk lid and front belt have been changed, the radiator and dashboard are also new,
  • 2020 – production of passenger versions of the Fiat Doblo ends, delivery vans are still to be produced

Fiat Doblo in electric version – works undertaken by FSO

The Electric Car Factory, a Polish incumbent, undertook work lasting 2.5 years to convert the Doblo to an electric-powered machine. With relatively little radical changes in design, it was decided to focus heavily on work with the drive unit. The result of this work was a car with a payload of 600 kg, which gained as a drive an electric motor of 116 hp with a 32.2 kWh battery. The average range of the machine is 130 kilometers

The work, which began in 2017, was also subsidized with funds from European funds. Unfortunately, it did not make it into mass production. The history of passenger versions of Doblo also ended in 2020. Who knows, perhaps going in the direction of a greener drive could have saved the Italian brand’s car in the showroom car market?

Advantages of passenger kombivans

It is quite obvious that we will have a demand for small cargo cars. However, what about their passenger variant? The data presented in 2018 by Master1.pl shows that among people wishing to purchase a family car, station wagons are increasingly popular. Their popularity is growing primarily at the expense of cars in the station wagon version. Even every tenth car sold at Master1.pl has this type of body

It is possible that the advantage which is more and more perceived by family car users is the unrivalled capacity of station wagons. The luggage compartment is very high and regular in shape, which gives additional possibilities

Combivan as a car of the future?

Can a station wagon, even a Doblo successor, become a car of the future? It can happen, especially in the family car class. The key, however, is to move to modern electric engines – and in the future, hydrogen engines. The success of the Citroen Berlingo, which was named “Best Buy Car of Europe” in 2019 and continues to evolve, proves it best

(Photo: pixabay.com)

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