A strange phenomenon has occurred recently – It’s the resurgence of the car-derived van, observes Ian Shaw.
Only a few years back, industry commentators hailed the demise of the car-derived van.
But far from our humble pie being delivered by the likes of the Citroen Nemo, Peugeot Bipper and Fiat Fiorino, there seems to be something of a post-cubism renaissance in the true car-based van.
Ford recently U-turned on the Fiesta Van, bolstering its re-introduction with a sporty model, while that hot-hatch doyen, the Corsa, has continued with its LCV ambitions unabated.
This is the fifth generation of the Opel Corsa, although in the UK, of course, Vauxhall chose the model name Nova before aligning with its European cousin.
Vauxhall was relatively late to this sector in truth, but nobody could accuse the latest Corsa of being behind the times, boasting one of the best cabin layouts in the business.
At the business end the Corsavan is not in the car-cube contenders’ league, of course. It has just 0.92m3 of load space and a load length of just over 1.2m, although on a 2.5m wheelbase that’s a reasonable achievement. Payload is 550kg, which, again, is right on the money for a van in this class.
Although vans are now very car-like in every respect, naturally it’s this class that fully reaps the advances in car design.
The Corsavan personifies this. The engines are strong: there is a 70hp 1.2-litre petrol unit that is not only very quiet but revs up so freely you will find yourself doing it just for fun, possibly to the detriment of your fuel consumption, so a better choice might be the diesel, by far the most popular on the used market.
This is a 1.3-litre common-rail turbo – naturally – and offers 75hp or 95hp, depending upon the model.
Either option is excellent. The lower-powered version is actually a bit more linear and less turbo-happy, but the higher output certainly has some punch.
It is also the most economical, with Vauxhall claiming up to 82mpg on the combined cycle. In the working day with its attendant traffic it’s doubtful you will ever match that, but the high 60s should be possible.
The five-speed transmission is slick and the ratios well chosen for city and open road alike. Here, the Corsavan’s refinement comes through. Yes, there’s always going to be more boom and road noise compared to the car version, due to the loss of the insulating effect of the rear seats, but it’s marginal, with steering and ride being well matched.
Since this is such a competitive sector of the car market, superminis like the Corsa have their specs continually updated, so go for a later model, particularly in Sportive trim, and your desires for aircon, Bluetooth and plug-in connectivity will be answered. There’s also the option of OnStar, Vauxhall’s connectivity and tracker system.
If you don’t need masses of load volume and weight capacity, but do need a compact, agile, economical and comfortable place to carry out a long-day’s work, the Corsavan must be worth a look.
|1.3CDTi 95hp Sportive||15||2015||70,000||£5,395|
|1.3CDTi 95hp Sportive||16||2016||4,500||£8,950|
|1.3CDTi 95hp Sportive||66||2016||13,000||£9,995|