Peugeot's new Partner is to make its worldwide exhibition debut at this year's British Commercial Vehicle Show. Available with a cab that seats three abreast — although you wouldn't want to be the one in the middle — it's produced in two different lengths, with either 3.3m3 or 3.7m3 of load space. Payloads range from 625kg to 800kg.
Peugeot and Citroën are sister companies, and Partner and Berlingo are virtually identical apart from their badges, so don't be surprised to see the new Berlingo on the Citroën stand. It too will be taking its global bow.
The NEC will also witness the UK debut of Renault's new Kangoo Van and Kangoo Van Compact. A short-wheelbase version of the standard model, the latter has Citroën's Nemo, Fiat's Fiorino and Peugeot's Bipper, firmly in its sights; all three will be on display on their respective manufacturer's stands.
Based on the Scenic platform, both Kangoo models made their worldwide debut at last year's European Road Transport Show in Amsterdam. Unfortunately it will be many months before they go on sale in Britain, which could give Bipper etc. a short-term advantage.
Kangoo Van Compact offers a 2.3m3 load area and the ability to shift 500kg of cargo. Its larger stablemate boasts a 3.0m3 cargo box and allows you to transport from 650kg to 800kg depending on which derivative is selected.
By flattening Compact's passenger seat you can increase load space to 2.9m3. Do the same to the standard Kangoo and it rises to 3.6m3 — both facilities are optional.
Buyers can opt for a 1.5dCi diesel at 70hp, 85hp or 105hp or a 1.6-litre petrol lump at either 90hp or 105hp. Both engines are married to a five-speed manual gearbox, with the most powerful of the diesels supplied with a six-speed. Petrol or diesel, the 105hp options aren't available in the Compact.
ABS is standard across the range and both vans can be specified with TunePoint. It allows the cab's occupants to listen to their own music collection via three ports for connecting USB flash sticks, MP3 players and iPods.
Moving up the weight scale, Renault will also be introducing new Trafic and Master special editions under the Navigation banner. Goodies include air-conditioning, colour satellite navigation and rear parking sensors.
Bipper and Nemo took their global bow at Amsterdam too. Fiorino was there as well, having first broken cover at a show in Italy a short while before.
The results of a joint venture between PSA (Peugeot and Citroën's parent), Fiat and Turkish manufacturer Tofas, each member of the Turkish-built trio shares the same basic design.
Slotting in beneath models such as the current Citroën Berlingo — due to stay in production for the foreseeable future in parallel with its successor, as is the current Partner — but above hatchback car-derived vans such as Peugeot's 207, they offer a 2.5m3 cargo area and can carry 610kg.
The big difference lies in their diesel engines. Bipper and Nemo take a PSA-sourced 1.4-litre HDi generating 68hp while Fiorino gets a 1.3-litre Multijet JTD engine from Fiat generating 75hp.
Nip round to the Volkswagen stand and you'll be able to get a good look at the new Caddy Maxi. An addition to the Caddy line-up, it's longer than its stablemate and features a 4.2m3 cargo area.
Able to carry up to 800kg, it's produced with a pair of TDI diesels. The 1.9-litre pumps out 105hp while the 2.0-litre generates 140hp.
The ruinously high price of diesel in Britain thanks to extortionate and unreasonable taxation may also prompt you to cast your eyes over the Caddy BlueMotion concept vehicle. Based on the standard Caddy, it can cover over 60 miles on little more than a gallon of diesel thanks to tweaks to the engine management software, longer gearing and a variety of aerodynamic measures.
Wander over to the Isuzu stand and, although it will not be on show, you may want to talk to the stand staff about a forthcoming addition to the company's pick-up range; a single-cab Rodeo 4x2 powered by the same diesel as the 4x4. Its launch is something of a surprise given that the latest Rodeo has up until now been sold solely as a 4x4 double cab in Britain.
It'll be up against a newcomer from Nissan that's making its first appearance worldwide; the NP300 pick-up.
The successor to the D22 Pickup, and on sale very shortly, it's powered by the same engine, but brought up to Euro-4 exhaust emission standards, and is on offer as a 4x4 in single-cab, two-door extended cab and double-cab guise. A 4x2 single cab is being marketed too.
Despite the new name NP300 does not look hugely different from its predecessor. ABS, driver and passenger air-bags, a CD player and electric windows are all standard. The 4x4s get front fog lamps as standard too, and air-conditioning is listed as an option.
In addition Nissan will be showing off its new ready-to-go-to-work line-up of conversions under the Good to Go banner.
The exhibition vehicles will include three Good to Go Cabstars; a cage tipper with a bin lift, a double cab tipper and a box van, all converted by Vic Young. They'll be adjacent to a fridge van conversion based on an Interstar.
Toyota will be there with Hilux, Hiace and Dyna, while Mitsubishi will be promoting its award-winning L200 and the rest of its 4x4 4Work light commercial line-up, which includes the excellent Outlander and mighty Shogun.
Land Rover will be showing a van version of the latest Freelander alongside a Discovery van and a gaggle of Defenders, including a 130 with a dropside body.
Disappointingly, Iveco will not be showing its new Massif 4x4 Defender-basher, but Daily — What Van?'s Van of the Year in 2007 — will be well represented. Iveco's dedicated light commercial vehicle stand — it has a separate one for the trucks — will feature three high specification Dailys covering the models available between 3.2 and 6.5 tonnes, with each vehicle featuring Iveco's AGile transmission, which is an increasingly popular choice for vehicles operating in congested urban environments.
Optional across the complete Daily product line-up, the AGile gearbox offers two different modes, allowing the driver to choose between fully automatic or manual sequential gear selection using a lever on the dashboard. It uses an intelligent system that adapts automatically to each drivers' individual style while maximising fuel economy and offering levels of driving comfort normally only associated with a car.
Among the optional extras fitted to the display vehicles include a state-of-the-art full screen satellite navigation system, bluetooth handsfree phone function, reversing camera and sensors, loading light, ESP and a long-range 100 litre fuel tank; all available as factory-fitted options on every new Daily.
LDV will be putting an all-new vehicle on its stand. We're talking about a concept 7.5-tonner called the MX100.
The Birmingham-based manufacturer is owned by GAZ of Russia, and the newcomer is based on a GAZ model called the Valdai that's been redesigned to make it more acceptable to Western customers.
The work has been done by automotive engineering and styling specialist UltraMotive and the results are impressive.
The rear-wheel drive MX100 chassis cab gets an attractive cab that shares the Maxus family look and employs the smaller vehicle's dashboard.
Air-operated disc brakes are fitted all round along with a beefy chassis and LDV executives reckon the newcomer should be able to handle a 4.0 tonne-plus payload.
MX100 will attract plenty of attention, but don't ignore Maxus. It will be there in a variety of guises, including as a 17-seater yellow school minibus, as an executive bus, a mobile post office, an ambulance, a dropside, a tipper, a Luton, a combi and as a conventional panel van.
Vauxhall will be showing off a Luton-bodied Movano alongside various incarnations of Vivaro, Corsavan and Astravan, while Mercedes-Benz will be promoting both Sprinter and Vito. The latter will be on display in very natty 120CDI Sport-X Dualiner guise, powered by a V6 diesel with 204hp on tap.
Ford will be making its presence felt too. Don't be surprised to see the new 4.6 tonne Transit, or the new Transit curtainsider and three-way tippers, and executives will be more than happy to talk about the new 3.2-litre 200hp five-cylinder diesel that's now on offer in rear-wheel drive versions of Britain's best-selling panel van.
At the heart of the stand, however, will be the ever-expanding line-up of SportVans. Transit and Fiestavan versions are already available, but this year sees the introduction of the Connect SportVan.
Electric van maker Modec will have three vehicles on its stand, all in customer livery — a dropside plus two box vans — plus a chassis cab on the Lloyds TSB Autolease stand so that visitors can see how the powertrain it uses works. A Modec van will appear on the Bri-Stor stand too; Bri-Stor supplies and fits load area racking among other products.
Rival Smith Electric Vehicles will be displaying the Edison, which is based on a Transit, and the Newton, a 7.5- to 12.0-tonner that employs a cab sourced from Avia. The former will be equipped with a compact lithium ion battery pack.
Aixam, manufacturer of tiny LCVs, will also be featuring several battery-powered examples from its Mega range. Available as either a van or chassis cab to which a selection of bodywork can be fitted, including a dropside and a tipper, they have a top speed of 40 mph and a range of around 60 miles per charge.
Still with alternative means of propulsion, Connaught Engineering will be talking about its retrofit hybrid system. It has developed one for the rear-wheel drive Transit, one will soon be available for its front-wheel drive counterpart, and a version for Sprinter is in the pipeline.
Benefits include cuts in CO2 emissions and fuel consumption of up to 25 per cent.
An almost bewildering number of other exhibitors will be at the event. Glass transportation specialist Supertrucks will be showing off a prototype vehicle based on a modified Citroën Relay chassis cab designed to make it easier to unload big sheets of glass, while Locks4Vans will be promoting its latest range of security products.
Tevo will be exhibiting its load area storage systems while temperature-controlled conversion and bodybuilding specialist Trumac will be displaying two Sprinter 3.5-tonners in the exhibition's Cool Pavilion. One will be a fridge van, while the other will be a chassis cab with a refrigerated box body.
Ratcliff Palfinger's line-up will include its new 500kg-capacity modular-built RQ527 Flexi-Lift aimed at operators of 3.5- to 6.5-tonners, and with a choice of platform depths. Michelin looks set to roll out its new range of Agilis van tyres.
TomTom Work, the business-to-business division of sat nav specialists TomTom, will be extolling the virtues of the TomTom Link 300. It's an onboard unit that allows operators to track and trace their vans and send messages and location information between them and the online TomTom Webfleet application.
The Commercial Vehicle Show is owned by a partnership made up of the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders, the Road Haulage Association and the Institute of Road Transport Engineers, part of the Society of Operations Engineers.
With over 13,000 visitors already registered online it's going to be a busy exhibition. Make sure you don't miss it and don't forget that pre-registration really speeds up initial entry to the show. Our humble stand can be found opposite Nissan in Hall 12, so come and pay us a visit.