Bite-Sized LCV Reviews: Every small van model we've ever tested

Date: Friday, June 28, 2019

Looking to buy a small van? Then read our handy, quick road test reviews of the models in the market before making your next buying decision.

 HC Fiat Fiorino _v1

Fiat Professional Fiorino Cargo

Fiat’s impressive compact urban runaround captured the What Van? Small Van of the Year Highly Commended prize in the 2019 Awards.

It is on offer with an excellent 1.3-litre Multijet II diesel engine at either 80hp or 95hp, plus Fiat has achieved the Euro6 standard without an AdBlue reservoir. A 77hp 1.4-litre petrol is also up for grabs.

Rear access to the 2.5m3 load bay – 2.8m3 if you fold down the passenger seat – is by means of twin asymmetric doors. A 5.0in touchscreen and Bluetooth are standard on most variants. While the screen may seem small, it’s large enough to play host to the optional satnav system.

The cab is less cramped and offers a bit more storage than might appear to be the case initially, and the seats are comfortable.

The Fiorino is lively and fun to drive and offers manoeuvrability in tight spots. Mid-range acceleration is strong and it takes corners as if on rails, while there’s a generous amount of feedback through the steering. Nor does it get out of shape when changing direction suddenly. Small vans tend not to ride all that well, but this one rides better than most.

Sample model:  Cargo 1.3 JTD Multijet 11 Ecojet

Engine size    1.3-litre
Payload     660kg
Load volume     2.5m3
Combined mpg 74.3mpg
CO2    100g/km
Price (ex VAT) £14,440


_The Fiesta Sportvan_

Ford Fiesta Sportvan

Having ceased production in 2017, Ford decided to bring back the Fiesta car-derived city van due to popular demand.

The line-up includes the Fiesta SportVan. It is powered by a 125hp 1.0-litre petrol Ecoboost engine and is available with a 1.5-litre TDCi diesel with 120hp.

Ford’s Sync 3 communications and entertainment system is included as standard and comes with an 8.0in colour touchscreen.Sports suspension, sports seats and stainless steel sports foot pedals all hit the sweet spot for the driver and it’s reassuring to know that a full-sized bulkhead – lower half steel, upper half mesh – offers protection.

Manual aircon and a quick-clear heated windscreen should ensure the interior atmosphere doesn’t get too steamy. And while our van didn’t come with rear parking sensors, it’s small and dextrous enough to make parking a doddle anyway.Performance and handling is excellent. The 120hp 1.5 TDCi engine, which comes with stop/start, is spirited and lively, the six-speed manual gearbox is slick and precise, and the steering is sharp and well-weighted.

Sample model: Fiesta Sportvan 1.5L

Engine size    1.5-litre
Payload      511kg
Load volume     1.0m3
Combined mpg 64.2mpg
CO2     111g/km
Price (ex VAT) £16,971


Ford TRANSIT_Courier _Limited _

Ford Transit Courier

The Transit Courier retained our Small Van of the Year title in 2019.

The powertrain choice is between a 1.5-litre TDCi diesel unit or a 1.0-litre Ecoboost petrol. Ford has tweaked them to meet Euro6.2 emissions standards and buyers get the choice of either a 75hp or 100hp diesel or a 100hp petrol, all of which come with a new six-speed manual transmission as standard.

Base, Trend and Limited trim variants add progressively more kit, while a Sport trim adds exterior contrast strips and red contrast-stitched leather on the inside.

The highlight of the Courier has always been its exceptional handling and comfort. The steering is sharp and informative, while the suspension treads a neat balance between comfortable and communicative. The 1.5-litre engine seems quieter, and the 100hp in particular is suitably spirited for such a small van. The gearchange, meanwhile, is slick and smooth, while consumption is slightly better than the previous model, with a claimed 76.3mpg.

Finally, with superior loading capabilities it is more van-like than the Fiesta Van.

Sample model: Courier Limited

Engine size    1.5-litre
Payload     590kg
Load volume    2.4m3
Combined mpg 76.3mpg
CO2    117g/km
Price (ex VAT) £15,595



Vauxhall Corsavan

Vauxhall has confirmed that despite a new Corsa passenger car being on the way, there will not be a new Corsavan, with issues including the car’s five-door-only design making it unsuitable for conversion, and underwhelming van model sales in overseas markets.

It offers a maximum payload of 571kg and its load area is accessed via a rear hatch tailgate and contains four tie-down points and a wipe-clean rubber floor.

Kit includes ESP, which brings with it standard safety features such as cornering brake control, active rollover protection and hill-start assist.

All models also get six airbags, electric windows and door mirrors, an audio system with aux-in, DAB and Bluetooth, a tyre pressure monitoring system and speed-sensitive power steering.

Corsavan engines are Euro6-compliant. We drove the generously specified Sportive 1.3 CDTi 95hp S/S. It features a stylish interior, with reasonable storage provisions and an impressive amount of legroom. On the road, it is lively and nimble and likely to appeal to customers looking for an engaging drive as well as a little load-lugger.

Sample model: Sportive 1.3 CDTi 95hp s/s

Engine size    1.3-litre
Payload     571kg
Load volume    0.9m3
Combined mpg 74.3mpg
CO2    101g/km
Price (ex VAT) £15,458


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