Fiat Ulysse
Fiat Ulysse

 

Vital Statistics

Model

Fiat Ulysse 2.2 JTD 16V Eleganza

Engine

2,179cc 4-cyliner DOHC 16V Turbo charged diesel

Power

128 bhp

Transmission

5 speed manual

Fuel consumption

38.2mpg (government combined fuel cycle)

Acceleration

0-62mph: 12.6sec 

Top Speed

113 mph

 

In a competitive market you have to question the judgment of car manufacturers who produce virtually identical vehicles then hope a few tweaks to the trim, bodywork and specifications will be enough to tempt customers. The Fiat Ulysse is a good illustration.

Under its skin, the second-generation Ulysse is almost identical to the Peugeot 807 and Citroën C8 but has failed to catch the eye of buyers. If that’s not great news for Fiat it is great news for used car buyers who can benefit from its lack of success by picking up one of the best value second-hand MPVs money can buy.

Introduced to Britain in early 2003, the Ulysse was available from launch with a 2 litre petrol engine producing 136bhp, and a pair of 2 litre and 2.2 litre diesels producing 109bhp and 128bhp respectively. In keeping with MPV traditions it’s the diesels that are the most desirable. Unlike Peugeot and Citroën, Fiat declined to offer the more powerful 2.2 litre petrol engine, predicting correctly that demand would be low.

Responding to the unenthusiastic take-up of the car, Fiat decided to differentiate the Ulysse from its competitors in a number of ways. First it offered it at a knockdown price — around £500 less than the equivalent C8 or 807. Second it included satellite navigation as standard on all but the base model. But with competitive pricing and good specifications, something had to give, and Fiat sacrificed powered operation of the car’s twin sliding side doors, present on its competitors.

The Ulysse comes in three levels of trim, the entry level Dynamic model is a no-frills package with steel wheels and no roof bars, but it does have a sophisticated dual-zone climate control system and CD player. Spend about £1,200 more and a second-hand Eleganza can be yours with cruise control, factory-fitted roof bars, satellite navigation and reverse parking aid. The range-topping Prestigo adds leather but expect to pay around £800 for the privilege.

One area in which the Ulysse does excel is on-road manners. Compared with the previous model, the handling of the new Ulysse is much more like that of an estate car than a mini bus. The ride is also more compliant, and there’s much more room in the rear-most row of seats. It also boasts the latest in family friendly conveniences — cupholders abound, seatbacks are equipped with folding tables and the centre console even includes a refrigerated storage area.

Examples are starting to appear on the second-hand market in reasonable numbers. The majority will be for sale via the Fiat dealer network. If you are buying through the private ads, you should still be covered by the original three-year/60,000-mile warranty, provided the vehicle has been serviced in line with the manufacturer’s terms and conditions.

So there you have it. The Fiat Ulysse was never destined to steal many sales from its virtually identical brothers, the Citroën C8 and Peugeot 807, but as a consequence it is a desirable and economical used alternative. All you have to decide is whether those electric sliding side doors are the most important feature on your next MPV. If the answer is no then the Fiat Ulysse could be just the ticket.

 

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Check the following
  • Fuel economy: The 2 litre diesel Ulysse is fractionally more economical than a Citroen C8 or Peugeot 807 with the same engine
  • Seats: The Ulysse can be specified with six, seven or eight seats when new. Eight-seaters are the most common. Avoid any car if the third row of seats is missing
  • Wear and tear: Robust upholstery should remain fresh so any signs of abnormal wear could indicate a car has been used for private hire or taxi work
  • Turbocharger: Check high-mileage cars for smoking exhaust under hard acceleration, a sign of turbo trouble
  • Insurance groups: Both 2 litre petrol and diesel models are group 10, and the larger 2.2 diesel is group 11
  • Roof bars: Not standard on base Dynamic models but they can be retro fitted
  • Climate control: Sophisticated system can be adjusted for different temperature zones
  • Swivelling front seats: Optional extra when new
  • Centre console: Refrigerated storage is ideal for chilling cans
  • Stereo: CD player standard
  • Timing belt: Requires replacement between 60,000 and 70,000 miles
  • Capacity: The 324-litre boot space is marginally smaller than on the previous Ulysse as the new vehicle's extra inches are dedicated to passenger space rather than boot capacity
The one to buy
  • Fiat Ulysse 2.2 JTD Eleganza
    2003 03-reg
    20,000 miles
    Pay £13,195 from a main dealer with 12 months’ warranty or £12,295 privately.

Values Fiat Ulysse 2.2 JTD 16V Eleganza

Mileage

10,000miles

20,000 miles

40,000 miles

2003 ‘03’               Trade

£11,950

£11,350

£10,200

                               Retail

£13,795

£13,195

£12,095

2004 '53'                Trade

£12,650

£12,000

£11,000

                               Retail

£14,495

£13,895

£12,850

2004 ‘54’               Trade

£13,650

£12,950

£11,850

                               Retail

£15,295

£14,595

£13,495

       
2.0 litre diesel worth £600 less than equivalent 2.2 litre diesel

5 Alternatives for similar money

Year

Mileage
Retail Price
Trade Price

Citroen C8 2.0 HDi LX

 

2003 '53'

10,000
£13,295
£11,750

Ford Galaxy 1.9 TDi Zetec

 

2002 '52'

20,000
£13,295
£11,550

VW Sharan 1.9 TDi SE

 

2003 '52'

10,000
£13,450
£11,800

Mercedes Benz V220 CDi Ambiente 

 

2000 'V'

50,000
£13,095
£9,900

Chrysler Grand Voyager 2.5CRD LX 

2001 'Y'

40,000
£13,195
£11,150

Figures based on CAP May 2005 edition

 © Jason Dawe Productions Limited October 2004