Ford claims the market dynamic has changed since it dropped the Fiesta Van a year ago, with anti-diesel sentiment leading to increased demand from urban operators for small petrol vans in particular.
The Sport Van is powered by the 125hp 1.0-litre petrol Ecoboost engine but Ford retains a diesel engine in the range with the 120hp 1.5-litre TDCi powertrain. It has a payload of 500kg and a load volume of 1.0m3 compared to the 660kg and 2.4m3 capacities of the Courier.
Ford’s Sync3 communications and entertainment system is included as standard on the Fiesta Van and comes with an 8in colour touchscreen.
The van also features the brand’s new FordPass Connect on-board modem technology, which provides wi-fi connectivity for up to 10 devices.
Preceding the Fiesta Van to market will be a facelifted Courier, which will also get the choice of the 1.0-litre Ecoboost or 1.5 TDCi diesel engines. All models will get six-speed manual transmission – the five-speed gearbox will be dropped.
Also on the comeback trail and expected to break cover with a range of mini LCVs in 2020 is Piaggio Commercial Vehicles.
Following a tie up with Chinese manufacturer Foton Motor Group, the Italian firm will launch a Euro6 Porter in panel van, fixed deck, tipper and chassis modes in left-hand drive as well as a range of Ape models. Piaggio says electric versions of both vehicles will be offered.
Piaggio will be the only manufacturer of mini LCVs in the UK after Bassadone Automotive Group dropped its plans to bring DFSK’s budget microvans to the UK from China, following a management reshuffle. Bassadone, which owns Ssangyong Motor UK, is focusing its resources exclusively on importing the Korean manufacturer’s range to the UK.