Sector Analysis: Light vans

Date: Thursday, June 4, 2015   |   Author: James Dallas

A host of new models, such as the facelifted Fiat Doblo Cargo, are coming to market this year to swell the ranks of the increasingly competitive light van sector, as James Dallas reports

The Doblo Cargo gets a new face for 2015

Following a series of product launches in the heavy and medium van sectors during the past 18 months, 2015 looks like being the year of the light van, with a raft of new models coming to market.

First to break cover was Fiat’s facelifted version of its highly acclaimed Doblo Cargo, which won the What Van? Light Van of the year award for four consecutive years until 2014, sharing the prize on the past two occasions with Vauxhall’s shared version of the van, the Combo.

Fiat won plaudits for introducing bi-link rear suspension into the Doblo Cargo in 2009, claiming the lightweight compact system improves ride quality while also lowering load height. Bi-link suspension allows a rear-axle load of up to 1450kg, and the Doblo, as well as the Vauxhall-badged Combo, offers a maximum payload of one tonne, up with the Ford Transit Connect at the top of the sector. Not surprisingly, the bi-link system is retained in the 2015 van. Load volumes reach 5.0m3 in the XL configuration, which is still more space than any other models in the sector offer.

The cornerstone engines in the line-up remain the 1.3- and 1.6- litre turbodiesels, but the brand claims it has improved efficiencies by up to 12%. The top-selling 90hp 1.3 multijet II and 105hp 1.6 multijet II engines are also now available in new Ecojet versions, priced £500 more than basic models at £14,445 and £16,245 respectively. The 1.3 Ecojet achieves official fuel consumption of 64.2mpg (60.1mpg for the 1.6) with emissions of 115g/km.

In a surprise move, Vauxhall has announced its next generation light van will be built in conjunction with Peugeot and Citroen at PSa’s plant in Vigo, Spain. Three vans will come to market in 2018 - replacing the current Citroen Berlingo, Peugeot Partner and Vauxhall/Opel Combo models. Visitors to the CV Show in april were able to peruse Citroen’s revised Berlingo before it goes on sale in July.

Prices range from £12,515 to £15,015, excluding VaT and the van will be powered by five new Euro6 compliant diesel engines.

The greenest model is the 110hp 1.6-litre, which officially emits 106/km of CO2, although all derivatives come in at under 112g/km, according to Citroen. The current 75hp and 90hp Euro5 engines will continue to be available until may 2016.

The Berlingo is available in two body formats: L1 (volume up to 3.7m3) and L2 (volume up to 4.1m3). Payloads will remain largely in line with the current model, ranging from 625kg to 750kg and peaking at 850kg. an electric variant with a claimed range of up to 105 miles is offered, as is a platform cab for body conversions.

Peugeot debuted the latest version of the UK’s biggest-selling light van, the Partner, at the CV Show. also available with Euro6 tech, six engines power the Partner and passenger-carrying Partner Tepee with outputs ranging from 75hp to 100hp. The most efficient diesel engine
is the Blue HDi 100hp 1.6-litre unit, which emits 108g/km
and comes with stop-start. The line-up gets five-speed manual gearboxes, apart from the 1.6 Blue HDi ETG6, which is also marketed with a six-speed semi- auto transmission. a single petrol engine is offered: a 98hp 1.6-litre unit with emissions of 147g/km.

VW will launch its fourth- generation Caddy in the third quarter of 2015. The new model will come with a selection of Euro6 and, initially, Euro5 diesel engines, with power ranging from 75hp to 150hp. The Euro5 engines will be phased out when Euro6 technology becomes

mandatory in September 2016. all Euro6 engines will be 2.0-litre powertrains and the most frugal Bluemotion unit is expected by VW to return over 70mpg.

A trio of light vans featured in the SmmT’s top 10 list of best- selling vans for the first quarter of 2015. The Peugeot Partner was the fourth biggest seller overall on 5611, the Citroen Berlingo racked up 5207 units and Ford’s youthful Transit Connect was not too far behind on 4096.

The blue oval has targeted a 20% sector share for the van by 2020. according to Glass’s Guide, previous generation Connects
in tidy condition are scarce so used prices for the best examples are strong. Despite plenty of Berlingos and Partners being available, Glass’s says the best ones do well as they are known to offer great value for money.
A shortage of Renault Kangoos has boosted values and previous generation Combos continue
to appeal. In contrast, late-plate Combos and Doblos struggle.


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