Vans of the Year

Date: Monday, December 08, 2008

A warm welcome to Vans of the Year 2008; What Van?’s eagerly-awaited verdict on the vast array of light commercials on sale in the UK today.


 

Each year we sort the best from the rest and determine the winners in each of the 12 categories in the following pages. We then select the number one model overall; the What Van? Van of the Year for 2008.


Every year the task becomes more difficult. Modern vans achieve standards that would barely have been dreamt of two decades ago. Exhaust emissions are lower thanks to tighter legislation and the colossal sums of money invested by manufacturers, and safety levels have soared thanks to the widespread use of ABS, Electronic Stability Programme and airbags.


Things still aren’t perfect. Some products definitely require further improvement and all the extra features fitted to vans have resulted in a widespread reduction in payload capacity; but the industry is without doubt getting there.


The verdicts represent the distilled experience of What Van?’s long-serving editorial staff. At one time or another we’ve driven and exhaustively assessed every light commercial sold in Britain. We’ve taken into account performance, ride, handling, noise, vibration, harshness, fuel economy, load cube, weight-shifting capability, equipment and value for money.


Manufacturers whose products have not won the top prize in each category may find that they’ve waltzed off with our much-coveted Highly Commended accolade instead. And if they haven’t been awarded a trophy this year, then they needn’t feel too disheartened. As we indicated earlier, the gap between the winners and those who have just missed out gets narrower and narrower as the years roll by.


Light commercial producers are under massive economic pressure worldwide as sales fall, factories slash output and workers are laid off. Let’s hope that 2009 won’t be as grim as the pundits are predicting and that vital research and development budgets won’t be cut as companies scrabble to save cash. The motor industry needs to keep improving its light commercials as customer expectations continue to rise and legislation gets tougher. In the meantime, congratulations to all the winners and keep up the good, and much-appreciated, work.

 

 

 

 

 

VAN OF THE YEAR

Citroën Nemo, Fiat Fiorino & Peugeot Bipper

 

MICROVAN

Piaggio Porter

 

SMALL VAN

Vauxhall Corsavan

Highly Commended: Peugeot 207

 

LIGHT VAN

Citroën Nemo, Fiat Fiorino & Peugeot Bipper

Highly Commended: Volkswagen Caddy

 

SMALL PANEL VAN

Citroën Dispatch, Fiat Scudo & Peugeot Expert

Highly Commended: Ford Transit

 

LARGE PANEL VAN

Iveco Daily

Highly Commended: Mercedes Sprinter

 

PICK-UP

Mitsubishi L200

Highly Commended: Toyota Hilux

 

4x4 VAN

Mitsubishi Outlander

Highly Commended: SsangYong Kyron

 

MINIBUS

Ford Transit

Highly Commended: Citroën Relay

 

ONE-STOP SHOP

Citroën

Highly Commended: Ford

 

SECURITY

Light Van: Ford Transit Connect

Panel Van: Ford Transit

 

TECHNOLOGY

Michelin Agilis ll


EDITOR'S CHOICE

Volkswagen Caddy



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