Ask The Best And Brightest: Could This Become The Littlest Ram?

Written By Thomas Ponco on Wednesday, August 31, 2011 | 3:14 PM

The first Sports Cars are considered to be (though the term would not be coined until after World War One) the 3 litre made in 1910 Vauxhall 20 hp (15 kW) and 27/80PS Austro-Daimler (designed by Ferdinand Porsche).

First of all, let’s not fool ourselves: this is quite the hypothetical question. For one thing, Fiat is unlikely to federalize the Doblo cargo van that this “Work Up” is based upon until a subsequent generation comes out. In the meantime, the only Fiat Professional vehicle the US market will be getting anytime soon (thanks to CKD production at Warren Truck, according to Allpar) is the Ducato van, which competes fairly directly with Daimler’s Sprinter.  But,

Its most powerful engine in the U.K. is the 1.6 liter, stop-start-equipped, Euro-5 compliant diesel with 105 HP and 213 ft-lbs … and that starts at £17,065 ($27,759 , in direct-conversion)… but there’s also a 2.0 oil-burner with 135 hp and 236 ft-lbs in the Fiat Professional quiver. Fiat Professional claims a 1,000 kg payload (about 2,200 lbs) and up to 1,450 kg (3,200 lbs) “load on rear axle,” so it’s no slouch. But between the vagaries of currency and efficiency (the 1.6 and 2.0 get 45.2 MPG and 42 MPG respectively on the European combined cycle, the latter being equivalent to the European Cruze 2.0 diesel MT), and the question of production siting, it’s difficult to put together a specific scenario for this coming to the US. But if it did, it would make even the most far-away CAFE standards look pretty mild (even though Chrysler’s once-questionable hybrid pickup drivetrain already does). On the other hand, it would also make the Ram Tradesman look like a screaming deal even though it offers “only” 1,860 lbs in maximum payload (it’s a much better towing machine). So don’t hold your breath… and if you need an efficient commercial vehicle in the meantime, well, there’s always the brand-new  Caravan Cargo Van!

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