On the face of it, opting for a 150hp petrol Volkswagen Transporter rather than one of its 150hp diesel stablemates should make sense if you are a low-mileage user, given that the former is £1,000 cheaper than the latter. If you don’t clock up the miles, the theory goes, then you won’t benefit from the fact that diesels are more frugal than petrol vans.
Unfortunately, the theory is wrong, at least in this case. Even if you cover no more than 10,000 miles annually the diesel is the winner, despite the front-end price premium.
We asked running-cost guru KwikCarcost to work out how much it would cost per mile to run our petrol Transporter for 10,000 miles annually for four years, and how much it would cost to run its diesel counterpart.
Even at this low mileage the diesel is cheaper, at 74.1p a mile. At 80.1p a mile, the petrol Transporter will cost you a full 6p a mile more.
In four years’ time the petrol light commercial will have depreciated to 31.6% of its list price. The diesel will have depreciated to 35.6% – evidence that there is still reason to be confident in diesel’s future.
Petrol or diesel, a three-year/100,000-mile warranty is included in the deal, with emergency roadside assistance provided for the duration. So is a three-year paint warranty, while the anti-perforation corrosion warranty lasts for 12 years. The initial service is set at two years/20,000 miles and is followed by a 12-month/20,000-mile servicing schedule.
Reversing sensors should reduce the risk of damage when backing up and they can be switched off if necessary. Optional front parking aids are fitted too.
The body has no side rubbing strips, which makes the van’s paint finish – cherry red, since you ask – vulnerable to minor damage. The same finish decorates the Transporter’s colour-coded front and rear bumpers, mirror casings and door handles.
VW Transporter Highline T30 SWB 2.0 TSI 150hp petrol
Price (ex VAT) £25,745
Price range (ex VAT) £19,870-£40,100
Gross payload 1,054kg
Load length 2,572mm
Load width (min/max) 1,244/1,700mm
Load bay height 1,410mm
Load volume 5.8m3
Loading height 568mm
Rear door aperture 1,473x1,305mm
Side door aperture 1,017x1,282mm
Gross vehicle weight 3,000kg
Braked trailer towing weight 2,500kg
Residual value 25.9% *
Cost per mile 52.7p
Engine size/power 1,968cc, 150hp @ 3,750-6,000rpm
Torque 280Nm @ 1,500-3,750rpm
Fuel economy 31.0mpg
Fuel tank 80 litres
Service intervals 2yrs/20,000mls
Insurance group 38E
Price as tested £27,820
* after 4yrs/80,000mls
Discover Media navigation system £930
Front and rear parking sensors £285
Heated driver and passenger seats £265
Lining for cargo area’s sides £195
Rubber load bed cover £155
Cab seat trim covers £110
Ford Transit Custom
Verdict: The van to beat in this sector of the market, and beating it is going to be a big ask for any manufacturer. Performance, ride and handling are all class-leading, residuals are to die for, and the Transit Custom is now on offer with an auto gearbox. Facelifted model goes on sale early this year with a plug-in hybrid due for 2019.
Verdict: Peugeot’s Expert is also marketed through Citroen dealers under the Dispatch banner and through Toyota dealers as the Proace. A significant and welcome improvement on its ageing predecessor, this model is a sensible package offering most of the facilities the driver is likely to require.
Verdict: Made in Luton and proud of it, the Vauxhall Vivaro rides and handles well, is not short of performance, and also comes with one or two thoughtful ideas. This light commercial vehicle also shares the same design as Renault’s Trafic, Fiat Professional’s Talento, and the Nissan NV300.