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The Fiat Ducato has been named as the top rated van in the latest round of Euro NCAP van safety ratings.

Based on an evaluation of crash avoidance systems and their performance, the Ducato was the clear winner achieving a platinum rating.

Euro NCAP drew attention to the poor level safety equipment in commercial vans last year where the Ducato received a Bronze rating. As the workhorse of choice for couriers and small businesses, vans spend a lot of time on the road where, because of their size and mass, they represent a larger hazard to smaller vehicles and vulnerable road users if involved in a collision.

New legislation will force van manufacturers to fit basic avoidance systems, already widely available on passenger cars, in a few years’ time but Euro NCAP’s commercial van ratings aim to encourage manufacturers to fit more advanced systems more quickly.

What are the Euro NCAP van safety ratings?

Euro NCAP revisited 19 of the best-selling vans in Europe with only one van assessed being rated as ‘Not Recommended’. This compares to five vans last year.

The Vauxhall Movano is now built on a new Stellantis platform and gets a bronze medal alongside the Renault Master. This was achieved thanks to small but notable improvements to its speed and lane assistance systems. Its twin, the Nissan Interstar (previously the Nissan NV400), also gets these improvements but lacks an Autonomous Emergency Braking (AEB) system so is in the Not Recommended category.

The Ducato’s upgrade is thanks to a major safety make-over and now features an advanced sensor set, offering AEB pedestrian and AEB cyclist, and excels in these tests.

The Ducato’s 88% overall score sees it leapfrog the competition to become the first platinum-rated van but the other Stellantis vehicles which the Ducato shares its platform with – Peugeot Boxer, Citroën Relay and Vauxhall Movano – are rated lower. They don’t have the same equipment levels and are therefore only ranked as gold.

Euro NCAP tests vans with safety equipment which is standard or optional, so the assessments represent the best that can be expected of each vehicle. In terms of fitment, little has changed in the last twelve months and safety equipment is still offered mainly as an option.

See the updated Euro NCAP van safety ratings for the safest vans and worst vans in 2023.

Fiat Ducato
Ford Transit
Volkswagen Transporter
Ford Transit Custom
Mercedes-Benz Vito
Mercedes-Benz Sprinter
Nissan Primastar
Renault Trafic
Peugeot Expert
Volkswagen Crafter
Vauxhall Vivaro
Iveco Daily
Citroën Dispatch
Toyota Proace
Vauxhall Movano
Peugeot Boxer
Citroën Relay
Renault Master
Nissan Interstar

Orders for the new Fiat Ducato are officially open in the UK, with the large van getting a full overhaul of its safety systems and technology as well as more minor tweaks to the engines and its appearance.

The main change to the new model is a new Full Digital Cockpit, upgrading the Ducato’s traditional dials with a customisable interface to allow you to easily check on anything from navigation instructions to driver assistance systems.

It also provides a link to the Uconnect infotainment system which is the centrepiece of the new van with its 10-inch screen the main attraction in the dashboard. Not only does the screen give you a view of the TomTom sat nav system, it also enables to you connect wirelessly to Apple CarPlay or Android Auto. A smaller 7-inch screen is also available that also allows Apple and Android connections, while the smallest 5-inch screen provides digital radio and Bluetooth connections.

Read our Fiat Ducato review

Safety upgrades mean that the new Fiat Ducato is capable of Level 2 autonomous driving with a range of Advanced Driver Assistance Systems (ADAS) for driving on the road and to help with parking. New safety features including speed limiters, advanced braking, road sign recognition and adaptive cruise control with Stop & Go. There’s also Lane Keeping Assist and a new Traffic Jam Assist feature (which we’ll tell you more about in the Fiat Ducato review).

Other assistance systems include Crosswind Assist, trailer stability control and active park assist for semi-autonomous parking, either in bays on or the street. A Digital Central Mirror is your window to the outside world at the rear of the van, replacing the standard (and usually redundant) mirror with a clear digital image.

The inside has been upgrades with a new dash design, steering wheel and gear lever. There’s also a change to the door panels and the air conditioning controls. There’s a new Eat-and-Work passenger seat, which is marking speak for a table on the back of the middle chair, a wireless mobile phone charging compartment and double USB-A and USB-C ports. The seats get new padding and Fiat has said it has improved the space around them and their comfort.

Fiat Ducato interior

New electric power steering should improve the way the van drives, and Euro 6D-Final engines based on the Multijet 3 engine improve C02 emissions by 7%.

The Ducato celebrates its 40th year in production in 2021, having been launched in 1981 and enjoyed considerable success across Europe in that time. It regularly featured as Europe’s best-selling commercial vehicle.

The latest model has been revamped with a new rendition of the Fiat badge, as well as minor changes to the front, most notably in the deisng of the new full-LED lights.

Fiat will make the new Ducato available in three trim levels, Tecnico, Tecnico Plus and Business Edition with addition option packs for further customisation.

Prices will start from £27,005 with deliveries in the latter part of the year.

For more on the size of the Fiat Ducato dimensions read our guide

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