What is it?
With the exception of the Ford Transit and the Iveco Daily, every 3.5-tonne panel van on sale in the UK is built in collaboration with two or more manufacturers.
Research and development costs are so astronomical nowadays that experts reckon it takes sales of at least 100,000 units a year for a manufacturer to break even after all the upfront costs have been factored in.
Even best-seller Ford doesn’t shift that many Transits in the UK in a year.
Vauxhall’s strategy is typical of this new method of third millennium manufacturing.
It rebadges the Fiat Doblo Cargo as the Vauxhall Combo and has a long-standing agreement with Renault to rebadge the Renault Trafic as the Vivaro and the Renault Master as the van on test here, the Vauxhall Movano. The Master, by the way, also appears in a modified format as the Nissan NV400.
Whether you choose the Movano, Master or NV400 probably depends on individual preferences, or you may, say, choose the British Griffin if there is a handy Vauxhall dealer nearby. Either way, all three manufacturers now offer excellent back-up for van operators.
The latest models can be ordered in front or rear wheel drive and gross vehicle weights for the Movano now go up to 4.5 tonnes (note that these bigger models need an O-licence and tachograph to operate).
The EcoFLEX moniker – adopted by Vauxhall for its car range back in 2009 and rolled out over the van range since – denotes that there have been a few tweaks and twiddles under the bonnet to make the variant more environmentally-friendly.
And that means extra economical on fuel, too, which we reckon is likely to be of more interest to you van buyers.
Fuel is the biggest cost of a van after the initial purchase and even 1mpg difference equates to a saving of around £400 over an 80,000-mile fleet lifecycle. That’s worth having.
Our Vauxhall Movano EcoFLEX review vehicle is the long wheelbase high roof EcoFLEX which, despite its large size, is slated to return a healthy 37.2mpg on the combined cycle.
Under the bonnet goes a 2.3-litre turbodiesel powerplant offering 100bhp and 285Nm of torque, while payload is 1530kg and load volume is 13 cubic metres.