Automotive

Fiat gives camper vans more grip with the all-new Ducato 4x4

Fiat gives camper vans more gr...
Fiat Ducato 4x4 Expedition 2017
Fiat Ducato 4x4 Expedition 2017
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Fiat updates the Ducato 4x4 Expedition show van to celebrate the launch of the production 4x4
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Fiat updates the Ducato 4x4 Expedition show van to celebrate the launch of the production 4x4
The Fiat Ducato 4x4 Expedition 2017 is based on the new 4WD Ducato
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The Fiat Ducato 4x4 Expedition 2017 is based on the new 4WD Ducato
The new show van has lost the skid plate and winch that gave the front-end a little toughness on the 2015 version
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The new show van has lost the skid plate and winch that gave the front-end a little toughness on the 2015 version
The Expedition 2017 is clearly built with high-flying motocross action in mind
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The Expedition 2017 is clearly built with high-flying motocross action in mind
Fiat reveals the Ducato 4x4 and the Expedition 2017 show van
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Fiat reveals the Ducato 4x4 and the Expedition 2017 show van
Fiat imagines the Ducato 4x4 helping support all kinds of adventures
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Fiat imagines the Ducato 4x4 helping support all kinds of adventures
Fiat imagines the Ducato 4x4 helping support all kinds of adventures
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Fiat imagines the Ducato 4x4 helping support all kinds of adventures
Fiat is debuting the Ducato 4x4 at the Düsseldorf Caravan Salon this week
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Fiat is debuting the Ducato 4x4 at the Düsseldorf Caravan Salon this week
The Expedition 2017 serves as an example of the type of go-anywhere adventure van that Fiat imagines the Ducato 4x4 will inspire
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The Expedition 2017 serves as an example of the type of go-anywhere adventure van that Fiat imagines the Ducato 4x4 will inspire
Fiat Ducato 4x4 Expedition 2017
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Fiat Ducato 4x4 Expedition 2017
The large roof rack holds spare tires and a cargo box
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The large roof rack holds spare tires and a cargo box
Fiat will offer a range of engines on the Ducato 4x4
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Fiat will offer a range of engines on the Ducato 4x4
Fiat Ducato 4x4 Expedition 2017
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Fiat Ducato 4x4 Expedition 2017
Fiat Ducato 4x4 Expedition 2017
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Fiat Ducato 4x4 Expedition 2017
The interior looks dedicated entirely to bike-hauling and wrenching, but it's hard to tell for sure from this partial view
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The interior looks dedicated entirely to bike-hauling and wrenching, but it's hard to tell for sure from this partial view
Fiat Ducato 4x4 Expedition 2017
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Fiat Ducato 4x4 Expedition 2017
Fiat Ducato 4x4 Expedition 2017
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Fiat Ducato 4x4 Expedition 2017
Fiat Ducato 4x4 Expedition 2017
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Fiat Ducato 4x4 Expedition 2017
Fiat Ducato 4x4 Expedition 2017
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Fiat Ducato 4x4 Expedition 2017
View gallery - 19 images

Three out of every four camper vans sold in Europe stands on Fiat Ducato underpinnings, making the Ducato the camper king of European roadways. Now Fiat aims to make it equally at home on the swaths and ribbons of off-road that stretch through the Swiss Alps, Dolomites and beyond. The Fiat Ducato 4x4 on show now at the Düsseldorf Caravan Salon gives van lifers better all-weather, all-terrain footing for exploring farther, year-round. It's a van so tough, they got Chuck Norris to advertise it.

Fiat Professional first played with the idea of a new Ducato 4x4 at the 2015 Düsseldorf show, where it showed the Ducato 4x4 Expedition Show Van. Now, it's readying the new 4WD Ducato for production. It started showing a Ducato 4x4 concept earlier this year at motocross and media events and is giving the van a more official debut at this week's Düsseldorf show.

Since developing the fifth-generation Ducato that launched in 2006, Fiat has made motorhome conversion an integral piece of the Ducato's design. The new 4x4 system follows suit, its hardware mounted to the side of the underbody so as not to present unnecessary challenges to converters.

The permanent 4WD features two transfer cases and an automatic viscous coupling designed to transfer torque between the front and rear axles, maintaining traction through wet pavement, shifty sand and gloppy mud. The 4WD system also works with safety aids like the electronic stability control, helping to maintain traction through different conditions and challenges. Fiat says this cooperation will improve handling when the camper cabin is fully loaded.

While the Ducato has been known best as a front-wheel drive van since its debut in 1981, the new Ducato 4x4 is not the first of its kind. Fiat previously developed a 4x4 option around the time it introduced the second-generation Ducato in 1990. That system was created with the help of Steyr-Daimler-Puch, the same Austrian company that worked on the more well-known Volkswagen Syncro 4WD.

The Expedition 2017 serves as an example of the type of go-anywhere adventure van that Fiat imagines the Ducato 4x4 will inspire
The Expedition 2017 serves as an example of the type of go-anywhere adventure van that Fiat imagines the Ducato 4x4 will inspire

To provide some visual evidence of how big a Ducato 4x4 can be for the motorhome market, Fiat has revamped the 2015 Expedition show van into the Ducato 4x4 Expedition 2017 Show Vehicle. We would have expected the company to spend at least a few minutes of those two years coming up with a punchier name, but we guess the flashy van makes a lasting enough impression on its own, name be damned.

Much like a concept car moving to a production model, the Ducato 4x4 Expedition 2017 has been toned down from the previous version, showing a more road-oriented spec. The off-road tires have been replaced with a more road-friendly set that will undoubtedly have less rumble on the highway. Also gone are the front skid plate and winch.

The changes result in a van that looks more like a road tourer than an off-road expedition van, but not completely. The new paint job announces "4x4 Expedition" loudly on the sides, and the roof rack with its dirt bike tire holder and front auxiliary lights hints at 4x4-backed off-road adventure – still not quite as much as the 2015 van, but enough to let you know it's a new breed of Ducato camper van.

Fiat Ducato 4x4 Expedition 2017
Fiat Ducato 4x4 Expedition 2017

The photos of dirt bikers flying high over top the van make us conclude it's more of an adventure-support van designed to navigate dusty washboard roads to the trail head or competition, whereas the 2015 van felt more like a camper engineered for aimless off-road expeditions and silent, starry nights miles from neighbors without hooves or fur.

Fiat's photo gallery does not include a tour of the interior, but from the one photo that shows a glimpse inside the rear load doors, it appears the cabin is purposed more for carrying and working on bikes than for living in, though there could be a modular folding bed or kitchen block hiding in there somewhere.

The interior looks dedicated entirely to bike-hauling and wrenching, but it's hard to tell for sure from this partial view
The interior looks dedicated entirely to bike-hauling and wrenching, but it's hard to tell for sure from this partial view

The 2017 Expedition van is merely an advertising vehicle to get motorhome shoppers and converters thinking about the type of "utmost freedom" and "extreme adventure" a Ducato 4x4 will bring, so we're not going to concern ourselves too much with further specifications. The big story is the Ducato 4x4, which will come with the full spectrum of Ducato MultiJet2 engine options, from the 115-hp 2.0-liter to the 180-hp 2.3-liter. And though Fiat has debuted the 4x4 option in a very motorhome-focused way, it will make it available on the full spectrum of Ducato van and truck offerings.

Oh yeah, about Chuck Norris ... while Fiat was gearing up for Ducato 4x4 launch a few months back, it was also putting out its new ad campaign. You can get a taste right now.

Source: Fiat Professional

View gallery - 19 images
2 comments
jjread
Camper Vans? Ducato had enough money to make a commercial with Chuck Norris, but can't show photos of the inside of the van...ooops!
blanky2
Cant speak for the camper van but ive had the Fiat Ducato 120 HR LWB from almost new (37K) 3 years ago and its been the best van ive ever had..period. Despite being the butt of courier jokes from way back when, its better, more comfy, more reliable and more economical than any Mercedes Sprinter ive had experience of..and that's 3..the last thankfully being nicked. Now done 220K and its never failed to start, never broken down and with its 6-speed box is as quick as the day I bought it. A 28K service schedule is class leading too