Ducato is a mechanical base designed with a focus on the needs of motorhome manufacturers and users, starting with the chassis: in fact, we shouldn’t underestimate the frame on which the living quarters sit, because the container which becomes the living part of the motorhome once furnished can only be installed onto a good basic structure. For over 40 years, the chassis of Ducato has been the subject of continuous improvement, with a view to always obtaining the best mix of robustness, easiness to drive and structural versatility. The cornerstones on which the success of Ducato lies are its front-wheel drive and chassis with limited ground clearance, not to mention its excellent “coachability” (the possibility of creating very wide, very long vehicles) and the incredible number of variants available. In fact, the different combinations of cab, chassis, wheelbase (345, 380 and 403 cm), engines and transmission give rise to countless different versions of Ducato.
Wide track and low-frame chassis
Ducato is not just "a good transport vehicle", but a base specifically designed for motorhomes. The cab, for example, is a good size: it is proportional to the living quarters and allows good internal liveability, to such a degree that for years now Ducato-based motorhomes have been integrating the cab into the living quarters through the use of swivel seats. And then there's the option of the widened rear track, which should not be underestimated. In fact its offers greater driving stability, but also makes for a more fluid vehicle design, where the wheels are flush with the side instead of set back. The widened track can be combined with a lowered chassis that reduces the height of the vehicle and provides the so-called "double floor", housing water tanks and storage compartments. In addition, for years now, Ducato has been prepared for conversion without the cab roof, so avoiding laborious operations such as cutting sheet metal and stiffening the bore. And as proof that Ducato never stops evolving, the latest version comes with a push-button parking brake, a great advantage for the design of the cab interior.
Ducato and the success of its vans
In recent years, the growing success of a particular category of motorhomes commonly known as "vans” has undoubtedly been centred around Ducato. We're talking about camper vans on a van base, with the original sheet metal body, suitably transformed by adding thermal insulation, preparing the systems and creating the furnishings for the interior. But why is Ducato so popular with both manufacturers and van users? Quite simply, apart from its widely acknowledged long-term reliability, we could say for its immediately attractive dynamic and slender design: this is definitely a prime advantage, but there are also other technical and ergonomic aspects. The extensive width of the rear area is perhaps the most characteristic element: despite having an attractive silhouette, the Ducato van maintains at least part of its considerable width up to mid-height, and this makes it possible to create a bed transverse to the direction of travel in the rear area, with obvious advantages for the usability of the passenger compartment. Obviously, the large width also benefits the front living area, and it is here that we find one of the other strong points of Ducato: the elimination of the overhead luggage compartment above the cab. This way, vans made on a Ducato base can enjoy an unrivalled sense of space in the living area and move easily from the cab to the rest of the interior.
This article talks about the specific features and content that manufacturers can choose to adopt on their Ducato-based motorhomes, so you should check whether the model you are buying from your dealer includes this equipment. The trim levels and optionals for the models may also vary according to specific market or legal requirements.