Want to give the chancellor of the exchequer, George Osborne, some sleepless nights? Then acquaint him with how frugal Vauxhall's Corsavan can be.
Offering 95hp, the diesel-driven Euro5 1.3 CDTi Ecoflex Start/Stop version achieves an extraordinary 83.1mpg on the combined cycle, and by doing so offers one of the best ways of countering high diesel prices we can think of. Given that a ruinously steep percentage of the cost of every litre of diesel we buy is made up of VAT and duty, put a few more Corsavans on the road and the chancellor will have to start looking elsewhere for his revenue.
Such frugality alone would justify our decision to award the Corsavan our Small Van of the Year accolade for 2013– which it picked up last year too – but it is not the only reason why we’ve decided to give it top marks. Low fuel use spells low CO2 output, and the version we have just referred to produces a mere 89g/km.
Now being fitted to a growing number of light commercials under a variety of different names, stop/start kills the engine if it is allowed to idle wastefully at the lights or in a traffic jam. Other features fitted to this most fuel-efficient of Corsavans include optimised gear ratios, aerodynamic wheel covers, and an indicator on the instrument panel that tells you when to go up a gear if you want to achieve the best economy figures.
Other Corsavan variants include a 70hp 1.2-litre petrol model and a 75hp 1.3 CDTi diesel – they can both be ordered in Start/Stop
guise if required – and a 95hp 1.3 CDTi diesel in top-of-the-range Sportive specifications.
Opt for Sportive and you benefit from a six-speed manual transmission – its stablemates are equipped with five-speed manual boxes – along with plenty of bling.
The standard fixtures and fittings include metallic or pearlescent paint, a chrome exhaust tailpipe, 15-inch alloy wheels, sports-style seats and air-conditioning, not to mention front fog lights. Electrically adjustable and heated exterior mirrors and electric windows are included in the deal too.
Vauxhall has prioritised safety across the entire Corsavan range: another sound reason for giving the smallest light commercial in the manufacturer’s catalogue a gong. Devices provided that are designed to help protect drivers and their passengers include ABS, Emergency Brake Assist, Electronic Brakeforce Distribution, Cornering Brake Control and Drag Torque Control. Electronic Stability Programme with Traction Control is listed as an option.
Okay, the Corsavan cannot carry an enormous load, but there is more than enough space in the 0.92m3 cargo area for a good-sized tool box, documents destined for urgent delivery or a security guard’s dog. Across-the-board payload capacity is 550kg.
All Corsavans offer lively performance along with precise handling and a slick gear change. One of the vehicle’s more surprising plus-points when you consider its compact dimensions is the generously proportioned cab, with ample legroom.
Ford’s attractive Fiesta Van is our Highly Commended choice this year, and in Econetic guise it combines Scrooge-like fuel economy with minimal CO2 emissions. It is fun to drive, too, and, like the Vauxhall Corsavan, seems likely to hold its value in the used market.