Fiat's LCV wing, Fiat Professional, is being expanded with the Opel Vivaro-rivaling Scudo Combi 8/9-seater, targeted at private or professional use.
With its avant garde design, the bus's front end is curvy where the rear is more MPV-like with its squared-off design, oversized wraparound bumpers and large bump strips.
Though utilitarian in design, the Scudo's interior displays some Italian flair with its two-tone facia.
Take a seat
Seating arrangements are fairly straightforward. There are two individual seats up front (although a two-seat passenger bench is an option) and two three-seat benches in the rear. The rear seats are elevated to afford these passengers views of the road and all seats are supremely comfortable on those longer journeys.
The passenger and load compartments are also designed to be manoeuvred to meet a range of needs. Using a system of levers, seats can be shifted or totally removed for different tasks and Fiat claims there are up to 15 different seating arrangements.
Thankfully, there is also an assortment of storage spaces including a ceiling recess and a refrigerated glove box along with a multitude of spaces in the console and door pockets for housing all the oddments one is bound to collect.
Further features include electric front windows, steering controls for the audio system, air conditioning that can be independently controlled for the front and rear occupants, power adjustment for the side mirrors and power steering.
Unfortunately, while all occupants stand to benefit from the standard ABS with EBD in an emergency, only the front passengers get airbags.
Torquey diesel plant
Scudo's 2.0-litre Multijet engine produces 88 kW at 3 600 r/min and has a peak torque figure of 300 Nm at 2 000 r/min.
This powerplant is by no means a slouch and it generates enough torque from the lower rev ranges to suggest the urgency of a bigger petrol engine.
The 2.0 Multijet is mated to a six-speed manual gearbox.
Options include 16-inch alloys, park distance sensors, metallic paint and the Integral Pack featuring body-coloured bumpers, side mouldings, electrically folding exterior mirrors and front foglights.
Service intervals for the Scudo are at 30 000-km intervals. The MPV is covered by Fiat Auto SA's three-year/100 000 km warranty and comes with a five-year/100 000 km service plan.
Pricing (from February 1, 2009)
Recommended retail R363 100
16-inch alloys R4 240
Metallic paint R3 120
Front passenger bench seat R1 060
Body colour pack R3 710
Side airbags R2 120
Park assist (rear) R2 120