THE roads are alive with new van and pick-up models, not to mention the new era of Euro 6 emissions regulations, so let’s have a look at six of the best business vans.
No better place to start than this year’s Business Vans Awards 2016, dominated by the Luton-built Vauxhall Vivaro.
What is Euro 6?
- The Euro 6 EU Legislation aims to make all vehicles cleaner, both petrol or diesel, with lower levels of van exhaust emissions including Nitrogen Oxide (NOx), Carbon Monoxide (CO) and sooty particulates. The results are better fuel economy and lower CO2 emissions.
- Notably the permitted NOx from diesels is cut from the Euro 5 limit of 180mg/km to 80mg/km. Petrol remains at 60mg/km
The top-selling retail van this year added the Business Van of the Year 2016 prize to its rapidly filling trophy cabinet. It’s also been judged Best Green Van and as a workhorse also Best Large Trades Van in a triple triumph for Vauxhall’s team at Luton.
And there’s more, with Vauxhall Movano also winning the category for Best Heavy Van.
Volkswagen also swept up triple honours, with the Transporter T6 Kombi judged Best Crew Van, the Amarok the Best Pick-Up, and Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles winning Best Finance and Service Package.
And Ford weren’t to be left out after marking 50 years of the Transit, with Transit Courier Best Small Delivery Van and Transit Custom Best Small Trades Van.
So let’s have a look at those winners.
Business Van of the Year: Vauxhall Vivaro
Vauxhall Vivaro 1.6CDTi 16v BiTurbo 120PS L1H1 Sportive (Euro 6)
- Gross vehicle weight: 2,800kg
- Payload: 1,092kg
- Load volume: 8.6 cu m
- Fuel economy (comb): 43.4mpg
- CO2 emissions: 170g/km
- Price (ex-VAT): £22,758
Vauxhall’s Euro 6 models have come in since our awards and so the summary here is the best match the model judged Best Green Van, Best Large Trades and Van of the Year 2016.
For £400 more the power rises to 125PS with Stop/start cutting the emissions to 155g/km and improving the economy to 47.0mpg.
“So why is it our top van you may ask?
Well in a nutshell, it’s a massive step forward over its already excellent predecessor,” says Martyn Collins, editor of Business Vans.
Best Small Trades Van: Ford Transit Custom 2.2 TDCi Trend
Ford Transit Custom Trend 340 L2 H2 2.0-litre TDCi (130PS) FWD
- Gross vehicle weight: 3,365kg
- Payload: 1,341kg
- Load volume: 8,300 litres
- Fuel economy (comb): 43.8mpg
- CO2 emissions: 173g/km with Stop/Start – EU6
- Price (ex-VAT): £25,280
The Ford Transit Custom is the mid-sized Transit and added this award to an impressive back catalogue but since then it’s got the new EcoBlue engines which are smaller but more efficient and meet EU6 emissions regulations as detailed in the panel, left.
It has its reputation for being great to drive, affordable to run, practical and safe.
Hit the road and the car-like handling and ride is hard to fault, like its cars and other commercials. It seems like there’s a Transit Custom for everyone, as there’s a vast choice of models available.
Best Small Delivery Van: Ford Transit Courier 1.0-litre Ecoboost Trend
Ford Transit Courier
- Gross vehicle weight: 1,765 kg
- Payload: 650kg
- Load volume: 2.3 cu m
- Fuel economy (comb): 53.3 mpg
- CO2 emissions: 120 g/km
- Price (ex-VAT): £14,214
The Transit Courier’s compact dimensions are perfectly suited to urban environments, where it slides into tight spaces.
But with its 2.3 cubic load area and 660kg payload, it’s certainly no lightweight.
In fact it almost matches that of vans from a class above. So it’s perfect for small delivery services.
Low running costs are key in this segment and the Ford doesn’t disappoint; go for the nippy 100PS 1.0-litre EcoBoost petrol and the CO2 is just 120g/km with 53.3mpg consumption.
Best Heavy Van: Vauxhall Movano 3500 Panel Van
Vauxhall Movano Panel 3500 2.3CDTI 16v 136 BiTurbo L4H2 RWD ecoFLEX Start/Stop
- Gross vehicle weight: 2,270kg
- Payload: 1,176kg
- Load volume: 14.9 cu m
- Fuel economy (comb): 34mpg
- CO2 emissions: 219g/km
- Price (ex-VAT): £23,064
The familiar Movano won Best Heavy Van because it has key features needed for a van in this class – tough but still reliable and able to cover long distances keeping the driver and passengers comfortable but also safe.
To be fuel efficient and offer a wide range of different versions to suit all tastes is a big ask but the established Vauxhall Movano turned out to be the ‘hidden gem’.
Lightly refreshed last year, the winning Movano version, the Panel 3500 2.3CDTI 16v 136 BiTurbo L4H2 RWD ecoFLEX Start/Stop provides operators with an attractive blend of an expansive load area and sturdy build with the expected driver safety, comfort and convenience features.
And not to be overlooked are the long 25,000-mile service intervals which go towards reducing operating costs.
Best Pick-Up: Volkswagen Amarok 2.0 Trendline 180PS 4motion
Volkswagen Amarok 2.0 Trendline 180PS 4Motion (EU5)
- Gross vehicle weight: 3,170kg
- Payload: 1,112 kg
- Fuel economy (comb): 35.2 mpg
- CO2 emissions: 211g/km
- Price (ex-VAT): £22,745
This is proving the year of the pick-up and the Volkswagen Amarok’s continued reign as Best Pick-Up in the 2016 Business Van Awards, we think, stands it in good stead against the many new models being launched this year.
And of course not to be forgotten is its own successor well on the way – read about new Amarok here.
The Amarok came top again simply because the winning 2.0-litre Trendline 180PS 4motion version is perfect for small firms and traders who want a no-nonsense workhorse with a higher level of specification and four-wheel drive traction.
Best Crew Van: Volkswagen Transporter Kombi 2.0 Startline
Volkswagen Transporter Kombi 2.0 TDI T32 Startline SWB MR 102PS
- Gross vehicle weight: 3,000 kg
- Payload: 1,224 kg
- Load volume: 5.8 cu m
- Fuel economy (comb): 40.4 mpg
- CO2 emissions: 184 g/km
- Price (ex-VAT): £17,436
On first look the T6 looks like a tweaked T5, but underneath the evolutionary styling there have been some major updates to the engines and interior.
With its large load area and if regularly carrying a crew to a job, the Volkswagen can cut the mustard.
The Kombi version of the T6 Transporter is likely to carry on a trend seen with the T5 as a tax-efficient dual use vehicle – a working van during the day, but with that extra bench seat practicality plus sliding rear windows, the Transporter Kombi then transforms into a family vehicle.
Standard equipment levels are generous, also including some of the latest technology debuted in Volkswagen car models, such as the Automatic Post-Collision Braking system.
- The Business Van Awards 2016 are sponsored by Vanarama.