With fresh technology and a stylish front end, the FIAT Talento certainly ticks all the boxes for the mid sized van buyer – we drove one thanks to Donnelly Group.
Vans are not something I drive much as they tend to be noisy, rattly and in general not nice places to spend any length of time in comparison to a car, however in the last year I have had the chance to review a few vans and my perception is changing.
Modern vans are much different to that which I experienced years ago, despite the general silhouette remaining vastly the same, vans are becoming much more car like with a plethora of technology not only in the power-train but also incorporated within the cabin.
FIAT Professional is what the commercial end of the Italian firms business is known as these days and with it comes the removal of some of their own ageing models and an introduction of models that will look very familiar to many.
Models that form a collaboration between many manufacturers to keep costs down and quality high and with grounded underpinnings and solid reliability, each manufacturer then adds their own twist, vast options and varying finance incentives.
This new FIAT Talento is based on the tried and tested Renault Traffic / Vauxhall Vivaro and on that basis is off to a good start. Being hugely popular, I would be certain that if you have had a gardener, plumber or joiner at the house that at least one of them will have been in a van of this platform.
The Talento comes in three base colours – white, red or grey with the option of six metallic colours – silver, green, blue, grey, beige or black and isn’t confined to being just a panel van with the option of crew cab and mini-bus as well as coming in platform, refrigerated or workshop body.
Available in short or long wheel-base and with low or high-roof the Talento really should fulfil the needs of everyone looking for a mid-sized commercial. With load space of up to 8.6m3 on offer as well as an internal length carrying ability of 4.1m when utilising the space created under the passenger seat via an entry hatch in the bulkhead it ticks all the boxes.
During my few days with the Talento I was assigned a task by the wife of collecting a large snuggle chair as well as a 6ft x 4ft canvas we had recently purchased and thanks to the double rear doors as well as sliding side door along with the help of a friend, loading and unloading was effortless.
Payload on the Talento maybe isn’t as good as some rivals, but at 1200kg and the ability to carry three euro pallets, it is plenty for most potential users and the short wheel-base, low-roof model tested looked rather smart finished in metallic silver, with partly colour coded front bumper and coded wing mirrors.
Two trim levels are on offer, ‘Standard’ and ‘SX’ which keeps things simple, however there are six style packs available providing varying options to suit your style tastes or practical needs. Inside the cabin is as van like as you would expect.
By that I mean hard wearing and easily cleaned with stacks of storage areas, cup holders for that endless supply of RedBull and enough surface area on top of the dash for an annual subscription to the daily sport.
Alongside the three seats (available in grey or brown cloth), on which three adults would soon become very close friends, there are electric windows, electrically adjustable mirrors, air conditioning, 12v sockets as well as USB charging ports.
A seven inch sat nav is available in the Talento but even this base model had BlueTooth and USB playback of music and I am pretty sure it had DAB also along with some phone answering buttons behind the steering wheel which were hard to see.
Engine wise the Talento comes with only a 1.6 diesel with four outputs – a single turbo engine comes with either 95bhp and 190lb/ft or 120bhp and 220lb/ft whilst the most popular choice for pulling power and economy is the twin turbo unit available with either 125bhp and 236lb/ft (as tested) or 145bhp and 250lb/ft.
Utilising the van as a load carrier and on its legal limit I would imagine single turbo engines could feel a little underpowered, yet will still get the job done, whilst my experience in the twin turbo Talento was surprisingly good.
With some cornering roll as expected from such a vehicle the 125 engine pulled substantially from little speed, right through the gears and thanks to the harmonious work of the two turbochargers there was little to no lag, even on the most challenging of meandering country roads.
An ‘Eco’ mode button allowed the Talento into a more frugal mode, though with this activated performance was drastically hindered during normal, I guess once on the motorway with the cruise control active the Eco function would come into its best.
Hill Start Assist and Trailer Stability Assist come as standard on the Talento and over maybe 200 miles of mostly country driving I was shocked at the lack of engine and road noise, never mind the fact that there was a sever lack of those all so characteristic rattles we tend to expect from a van.
Available from £12,495 plus vat you could expect to pay around £20,000 for a fully loaded top of the range Talento and with great finance options from Donnelly Group on this all new FIAT seems to be more than affordable.
Words and Photos: Graham Curry