An excellent first stab at the Scudo base by Autocruise. We look forward to the Pulse becoming a mainstay of the UK market.
Compact dimensions; kitchen design; storage and comfortable rear bed
Lounge table design; roof bed
The Pulse comes with an excellent Reimo manually operated elevating roof that feels well-built, is easy to raise and is secure when open or shut. Our only gripe is with the fiddly straps used to secure the roof in the closed position.
Bodywork is excellent, with the facilities – freshwater inlet, wastewater outlet and hook-up socket – on the offside. Fresh and waste water tanks are underslung.
The Pulse comes with two rear doors, but the offside one has been sealed to allow the installation of kitchen units.
Fiat’s Scudo van is emerging as the platform of choice for those seeking to combine everyday practicality with touring versatility.
It’s easy to see why converters are attracted to the Scudo. It has a car-like cabin and driving position, and it handles very well on the road. Additionally, the quality of the interior is a notch above that of Fiat’s ubiquitous Ducato, since the Scudo is also sold in another incarnation as a people-carrier.
The Pulse comes with a beefy 2.0-litre turbo-diesel, which kicks out 221 lb/ft at 2000rpm, and 120bhp at 4000rpm.
We like the Pulse’s two-tone upholstery. It adds a little bit of flair to the generally grey ‘automotive’ palette which provides the stain-masking qualities required for a daily driver. The furniture finish looks a little functional, but the white units lift the ambience a little.
You get two three-point seatbelts fitted to the rear benches. The rear bench is also fitted on runners so can be slid forwards, and locks in position – useful when travelling with small children.
The lounge seats four, thanks to swivelling cab seats. It’s more comfortable with three occupants, however, because the driver’s seat doesn’t offer much legroom when swivelled.
Head- and legroom are very good for lounging. The Pulse also has an airy interior, brightened up by the white trim and furniture, but its two lounge tables leave a lot to be desired.
First, we’re not fans of the fiddly adjusting system, which involves loosening screws to level or rotate the table. Second, the support for the larger table fits into a bracket on the front of the drawer under the rear bench. This fascia flexes, making the table slightly unsteady. Third, the tabletop stows in the storage area at the very rear of the ’van. This is inaccessible from the seats, so you have to step out of the ’van to retrieve the table.
Despite the fact that this layout inevitably compromises the kitchen (because that rear bench will always get in the way to some extent) the Pulse acquits itself well.
It has a good kitchen with decent storage. We particularly liked the two-piece door on the large cabinet at floor level, which is not impeded by the rear bench.
However, there are some faults: the glass covers on its hob and sink obstruct the window when they are both open. This means that one or the other has to be closed when you’re cooking. Also, fabric trim around the hob will, we fear, be a magnet for cooking odours.
Then there’s the position of the Pulse’s gas cut-off valves – they’re in a cubby hole towards the rear of the vehicle, beneath the wardrobe, which means they can only be accessed from outside. We would like to have seen internal access, too.
The Pulse has a ‘boot’ area at the back in to which part of the rear bed intrudes, something that’s common to many ’vans of this layout.
The Pulse’s boot is pretty roomy. It’s divided into two sections by the rear bed base (useful for keeping clean and dirty items separate). Alternatively, you can lift up the bed base to create a taller load area. The sliding rear bench also means that you can tailor the split between storage and habitation space.
The wardrobe is located on the offside. It has two doors – one for rear and one for front access. Each gives good access to the area inside.