Show Preview — What Van? Live 2007

Date: Friday, September 07, 2007

It's here once again. We're talking about What Van? Live, Europe's biggest light commercial ride and drive event, due to take place at the Heritage Motor Centre at Gaydon in Warwickshire (M40, J12) on 26/27 September.

 

Peugeot

   
One of the biggest stars of the show will be Peugeot. It's almost certain to bring its newly-launched 207 Van along, and it's bound to be one of the event's major hits.

While petrol heads may rejoice that it's up for grabs with a 75hp 1.4-litre petrol engine, the vast majority of businesses will favour either the 68hp 1.4-litre or the 90hp 1.6-litre diesel. Both are HDi engines with common rail technology.

Based on the three-door 207 car, and with a 1.1m3 cargo bay, 207 Van can handle a payload of up to 450kg.

That won't be the only model on the Peugeot stand. It will be bringing along the new Expert too, which made its UK debut earlier this year. Customers can choose from two different HDi diesels; a 1.6-litre producing 90hp or a 2.0-litre generating either 120hp or 136hp.

The smaller of the two engines gets a five-speed gearbox. Its bigger stablemate gets a six-speeder.

Cargo space ranges from 5.0m3 if you opt for the short-wheelbase standard roof model rising to 6.0m3 if you pick the long-wheelbase standard roof and 7.0m3 if you choose the long-wheelbase high roof. Gross payload capacity runs from 1,000kg to 1,200kg, and even the short-wheelbase derivatives come with eight cargo tie-down points.

Load deck lengths range from 2,254mm to 2,584mm, but longer items such as copper piping can be transported thanks to a cleverly-designed optional overhead storage tunnel.

It means they can be slid into the back of the vehicle at roof height and go through the bulkhead — also an option — into the cab but above the occupants at windscreen height, safely inside the tunnel. Objects up to 2,884mm long can be handled.

Nissan


Boxer, Expert's bigger brother, will be there too, but rival manufacturers will be determined not to be overawed. Nissan for instance will almost certainly have its Boxer-rivalling Interstar on hand, not to mention Primastar and Kubistar and its hard-working D22 pick-up.

Watch out too for the superb Navara pick-up; a What Van? favourite.

Builders, roofers and other people working in the construction trade will be just as interested in the latest Cabstar, however.

First breaking cover at the end of 2006, the newest incarnation of this well-known forward-control workhorse gets a roomier, better-designed and better-looking cab than its predecessor plus more powerful engines, and is based on an all-new platform.

Buyers can select from a single or a double cab, two common rail diesel engines and three power options. The 2.5-litre is on offer at either 110hp or 130hp while a 3.0-litre is marketed with a healthy 150hp on tap.

Both five- and six-speed boxes are on offer, and Cabstar is marketed in the UK at 3.4 and 3.5 tonnes. All the latter have twinned rear wheels. The 3.4-tonners come with single rear wheels only.

Three wheelbases are on offer — 2,500mm, 2,900mm and 3,400mm — and it's worth noting that vehicles with the two longest wheelbases come with Easy Hill Start. It does exactly what it says on the tin, stopping Cabstar from rolling backwards when it's stationary on an incline without the driver having to use the handbrake or service brake.

Iveco


Also present will be Iveco with the latest version of Daily. Its exterior and interior have been restyled and its engine range is as impressive as ever.

The mainstay of the common rail diesel line-up is the 2.3-litre at 96hp, 116hp or 136hp. If that's not enough power for you then you can always opt for the 3.0-litre at either 146hp or 176hp.

Cargo volumes run from around 7.0m3 to an echoing 17.0m3 or so while in the UK gross weights range from 3.2 to 6.5 tonnes. Payload capacities go from 1,060kg to a hefty 3,640kg.

ABS with Electronic Brakeforce Distribution is fitted as standard and Daily can be ordered with a six-speed AGile automated manual gearbox.

To showcase what it has to offer on the van front Iveco will be bringing along a 12m3 high roof 3,300mm-wheelbase 136hp 35S14 3.5-tonner with a five-speed gearbox, not to mention a 17m3 extra high roof 3,950mm-wheelbase 176hp 35S18 3.5-tonner with a six-speed box.

It will also be promoting its ready-bodied, ready-to-go-to-work, DriveAway Options line-up of special conversions. They'll be represented by a 3,450mm-wheelbase 116hp 35C12 3.5-tonner with an Ingimex Titan tipper body and a 3,450mm-wheelbase 176hp 65C18 6.5-tonner with a box bodied sourced from Boalloy.

No news yet though on a UK debut for the high ground clearance 4x4 Daily we saw earlier this year. Equipped with a permanently engaged four-wheel drive system with three diff locks, it's in production as a 3.5- and 5.5-tonner and comes solely with the 176hp engine.

Boasting a huge steel front bumper that can accommodate a heavy duty winch or a snowplough, the off-roading Daily is equipped with three power take-off points. You'll find one on the engine, one on the gearbox and one on the upper shaft of the transfer box.

All new Iveco commercial vehicles are to have their major components and glass security marked with a unique code in conjunction with automotive security specialist Retainagroup

Volkswagen


A full range of vans will on hand to drive at VW's busy stand. Dominant will be the new Crafter, which will be present in both panel van and chassis cab form. Drive it to understand why it won What Van?'s Large Panel Van of the Year award, as well as being voted Van of the Year.

Below the Crafter in size, if not in competence, will be two Transporters, including the leather-trimmed 172hp Sportline special edition. There'll also be a Caravelle MPV — the Transporter's glassed relative. Rounding out the seven-van stand will be two Caddys, one a TDI fitted with the excellent DSG semi-automatic gearbox, the other a non-turbo SDI.

Citroën


{mosimage}The French manufacturer offers a full size range of vans, including the all-new Relay and Dispatch, and a goodly selection will be available for driving at this year's event.

The C2 is the smallest van in Citroën's line-up and is powered by a very fuel-efficient 1.4-litre turbodiesel. Next up is the Berlingo which has received a new lease of life thanks to the addition of the latest generation 1.6HDi engine. There will also be a dual-fuel (petrol/LPG) model on hand for assessment.

Launched earlier this year the new Dispatch takes the model to a new level with a choice of three engines, two wheelbases and two roof heights. Van and five-seater Combi versions will be available for driving.

Completely redesigned at the end of last year Citroën's Relay panel van is on sale in a comprehensive selection of configurations, including a host of chassis cab-based Ready to Run packages. Take one for a spin and see and feel the improvements for yourself.

Modec


{mosimage}Electric vans are attracting more and more interest, so the Modec stand should enjoy plenty of visitors.

Its striking-looking, battery-powered vehicle is sold as a chassis cab, box van or dropside/tipper and its nickel sodium chloride battery pack gives it a claimed range of typically around 100 miles. The chassis cab offers a body/payload allowance of 2,000kg while the van boasts a 12.0m3 cargo area.

Modec's products don't come cheap — prices start at around £25,000 — but the Coventry-based manufacturer estimates that the electricity needed to propel one of its vehicles for a mile will cost no more than 3p to 4p. That's considerably cheaper than running on diesel, and electrics are exempt from Vehicle Excise Duty and the London congestion tax.

Piaggio


{mosimage}Also available with battery power is one of the smallest light commercials that will be at Gaydon; Piaggio's Porter.

Sold with a petrol engine too, it's marketed as a van, an MPV, a chassis cab, a tipper, and as a pick-up with two different sizes of body. At the show Porter will be represented by a petrol tipper and an electric MPV.

Ancillary Services


Manufacturers won't be the only ones present at the event. Suppliers of services and bolt-on extras will be there too.

The line-up will include finance house ING, satellite navigation specialist Trafficmaster, van tracking specialist Digicore and driver training specialist SAFED. The Highways Agency will be explaining what it does and light commercial loading ramp supplier WM System will be promoting its products, as will heavy-duty van roof rack maker Trukrax.

Tipping the scales at from 40kg to 120kg, WM System's line-up of Euro Ramps will support loads weighing from 350kg to 1,500kg. The TruckRax range encompasses roof bars and racks and luggage racks along with a wide selection of accessories.

The foregoing doesn't pretend to be a comprehensive list of exhibitors. There'll be plenty of others present too, so see you there.

If you're planning to drive at What Van? Live don't forget to bring your driving licence. Entrance to the event is free, but click here for pre-registration to speed up entry.

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