Citroen class=

Citroen Berlingo

The third-generation Berlingo is the holder of our 2019 LCV of the Year Award, along with its Peugeot Partner and Vauxhall Combo cousins.

Two wheelbase lengths are available and payloads go up to a 1,050kg with load volumes extending to 4.4m3.

A 1.6-litre Euro6.1 diesel engine is around for a little while at the same time as a 130hp 1.5-litre Euro6.2 that will eventually supersede the 1.6 and offer the same 75hp and 100hp outputs. It’s a sophisticated unit, although the 1.6 is credible too. A 1.2-litre Puretech petrol engine with 110hp and 130hp outputs can also be specified, with the 130hp getting an auto transmission (the other gets a six-speed manual).

This gearbox is also available on the 130hp diesel and is a gem – fast, smooth, and a boon to drivers in city traffic. A five-speed manual is fitted as standard on both 1.6 models, but it feels unsophisticated, while the six-speed manual mated to the 1.5 is an improvement.

Interiors, meanwhile, are smart and spacious, and come with driver assistance features such as traffic sign recognition and driver attention alert.

Sample model: Enterprise 1.5 130hp

Engine size    1.5-litre
Payload     1,000kg
Load volume    3.8mm3
Combined mpg 64.2mpg
CO2    116g/km
Price (ex VAT) £20,350


Fiat -Professional _Doblo class=

Fiat Professional Doblo Cargo

The Doblo Cargo’s virtues include top-notch handling, a high standard of build quality, and reliability.

Fiat also ensures plenty of choice: two roof heights and two wheelbase lengths, plus load area volumes of 3.4-5.0m3. Gross payloads extend from 750kg to 1,005kg.

Sliding nearside and offside doors are fitted to most models, and the cargo bay is available with clever features, such as a rear roof flap through which over-length items like ladders can be poked.

Four trim levels are on offer: Standard, SX, Tecnico and Sportivo. In summer 2019 Fiat added a new powerplant: an 80hp version of the 1.3-litre Multijet engine. This becomes the entry point to a range that also includes a 95hp version, and a 1.6-litre Multijet with either 105hp or 120hp. A 95hp 1.4-litre petrol is available too.

The range gets an Eco pack as standard. It includes stop-start, a smart alternator and an electronically controlled fuel pump, designed to save energy and provide higher combustion efficiency.

Finally, the bi-link independent rear suspension helps deliver sharp handling and a comfortable ride.

Sample model: 1.6 JTD 16v Multijet II L1H1

Engine size    1.6-litre
Payload     750kg
Load volume    3.4m3
Combined mpg 55.4mpg
CO2    134g/km
Price (ex VAT) £16,735


 HC Fiat Fiorino class=

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 class=

Ford Fiesta Van

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

The line-up includes entry level and Sport. The former can be ordered with an 85hp 1.1-litre petrol engine or an 85hp 1.5-litre TDCi diesel. The latter, looked at here, is powered by a 125hp 1.0-litre petrol Ecoboost engine or 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 that a full-sized bulkhead offers protection.

Manual aircon and a quick-clear heated windscreen should ensure the interior doesn’t get too steamy. And while our van didn’t have rear parking sensors, it’s small and dextrous enough to make parking a doddle anyway.

Performance and handling are excellent. The 120hp 1.5 TDCi engine is spirited and lively, the six-speed manual gearbox is slick and precise, and the steering is sharp and well-weighted.

Sample model:  Sport Van 1.5L TDCi Start/Stop

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


New Transit class=

Ford Transit Connect

Ford revised the Transit Connect in 2018 with changes that included a new-look face, reduced aerodynamic drag, and a reworked cabin.

There’s also a new 1.5-litre Ecoblue diesel engine at 75hp, 100hp or 120hp, plus a new version of the 1.0-litre Ecoboost petrol engine offering 100hp. Spec options start at Base, move on through Trend and Limited and end with Sport. Customers can also choose from either short- or long-wheelbase models. A performance-focused version is being developed by tuning company MS-RT. It will be available from autumn 2019.

Out on the road the Connect is a very smooth performer, both in terms of the ride and the gear change using the six-speed standard gearbox (an eight-speed auto is also available). The handling is remarkably sharp and the steering responsive. The van accelerates strongly through the gears and in-cab noise levels are commendably low.

Access to the loadbay is via twin rear doors and a sliding nearside door. A full-height steel bulkhead is fitted. Build quality is solid, and the comfortable cab is well laid-out for the driver.

Sample model: Trend 1.5TDCI Ecoblue 210 LWB

Engine size    1.5-litre
Payload     695kg
Load volume    3.6m3
Combined mpg 60.1mpg
CO2    123g/km
Price (ex VAT) £17,965


Ford TRANSIT_Courier _Limited _ class=

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



Mercedes-Benz Citan

Three different load cubes – 2.4m3, 3.1m3 or 3.8m3 – are available for the Renault Kangoo-based Citan, and it comes with a pleasant, if not exactly exciting, working environment featuring cruise control, speed-limiter functions, and a height-adjustable steering and driver’s seat, the latter being comfortable and supportive.

Build quality is solid.

The Citan corners precisely, with no wallowing or wobbling, and the steering has a reassuringly meaty feel to it, offering ample feedback. The ride is firm, but not unpleasantly so, and the crisp gear change is a pleasure. In-cab noise levels are well-controlled too.

We can attest that the 114hp 1.2-litre petrol-engined model delivers a relaxing and smooth driving experience, particularly on short city routes where its slick, six-speed manual gearbox comes into its own. This model is more than happy to function in third gear at speeds barely touching 20mph, whereas out on a dual-carriageway the top gear is a welcome feature.

Mercedes has promised an electric version of its next Citan, but this will not arrive until late 2020.

Sample model: 109 1.5 CDI Compact

Engine size    1.5-litre
Payload     435kg
Load volume    2.4m3
Combined mpg 60.1mpg
CO2    123g/km
Price (ex VAT)  £15,750


Nissan Nv class=

Nissan NV200

Nissan’s NV200 is up for grabs in Visia, Acenta and Tekna grades, and with five- and six-speed manual transmission.

The 1.5-litre dCi engine is available with power outputs of 85hp and 110hp. The combination of the 110hp engine and six-speed transmission surpasses the respectable rather than exceptional performance provided by the 85hp engine and somewhat notchy five-speed transmission, which are not best suited to motorway journeys in particular.

That six-speed gearbox is slick and crisp, and although we did not drive our test van fully loaded there was no sense it would lack muscle and power if called for.

The steering wheel is rake-adjustable and the cab is protected by a full-steel bulkhead, while the cargo area is conveniently reached via twin rear loading doors and sliding doors on both sides.

A kerb-to-kerb turning circle of 10.6m aids manoeuvrability when ducking and diving about town, while standard equipment onboard includes Bluetooth connectivity.

Finally, a fridge van and the electric e-NV200 vehicle also form a part of this Nissan range.

Sample model: Acenta 1.5dCi

Engine size    1.5-litre
Payload     728kg
Load volume    4.2m3
Combined mpg 56.5mpg
CO2    131g/km
Price (ex VAT) £15,735


E -nv class=

Nissan E-NV200

In designing the E-NV200 Nissan has blended elements of its electric Leaf car with the carrying capabilities of the NV200 LCV.

The model has a payload of 770kg, more than the conventional model’s 740kg, and the load box can be reached through sliding doors on both sides of the body or through a choice of asymmetrical rear doors or a tailgate.

Nissan says maintenance costs are 40% cheaper than those of a diesel model due to not having an engine, gearbox or clutch, which are susceptible to wear and tear. And with a range of 106 miles on a full lithium-ion battery, which powers the 80kW electric motor, fuel costs are significantly lower.

The van can be fully charged within eight hours using a domestic supply, while a 50kW quick charger can recharge the battery to 80% in 30 minutes.

The ride in Drive mode is quiet and smooth, and acceleration is brisk, but the cabin lacks storage facilities, and the driving position and steering wheel aren’t fully adjustable.

Finally, all E-NV200 versions get ESP, iPod and MP3 compatibility, a reversing camera and a full bulkhead

Sample model: E Acenta Rapid

Engine size    80kW
Payload     770kg
Load volume    4.2m3
Battery range 106 miles
CO2    0g/km
Price (ex VAT) £22,860


Pug class=

Peugeot Partner

The Partner raises the bar in its sector for driveability and practicality, which is why it took What Van?’s 2019 LCV of the Year Award, alongside PSA siblings the Citroen Berlingo and Vauxhall Combo.

The spec walk starts at S, moves through Professional and ends at Asphalt. Also available is the Grip model. Aimed at operations that go off-road, it boasts 30mm more ground clearance plus Grip Control traction control.

We sampled an L1 Partner in Professional trim, powered by the 130hp 1.5-litre engine with a six-speed ’box. Our SWB van was not short of performance even with 0.5t of bagged gravel. A slick, quick gear-change enables full use of the power on offer, and the handling will keep you out of trouble on tight rural bends.

The van is also very manoeuvrable at low speeds. While the ride was fine with the weight onboard, the suspension can struggle on uneven surfaces without it. Empty or full, more effort should be made to tune out wind noise, plus there clearly isn’t enough room  for three seats in the cab. Kit levels are generous throughout the range, though.

Sample model: Professional L1 1000 BlueHDi 130

Engine size    1.5-litre
Payload     1,001kg
Load volume    3.3m3
Combined mpg 64.2mpg
CO2    117g/km
Price (ex VAT) £19,905


Kangoo class=

Renault Kangoo

We tested a 90hp 1.5-litre diesel ML19 Energy dCi 90 Renault Kangoo in Business+ spec.

Its five-speed gearbox offered a slick change – although there were times on the motorway when a sixth gear would’ve been nice – nor did we have any complaints about performance.
The van was lively and eager even with weight onboard and offered a good ride plus sharp, responsive handling. The steering provides sufficient feedback and feels neither dead nor sloppy.

Entering Eco mode improves economy by up to 10%, says Renault, and doing so has little impact on performance when lightly laden.

All Renault Kangoos come with a full-height steel bulkhead, DAB with Bluetooth, USB and aux-in ports, a driver’s airbag, electric windows, folding electric exterior mirrors, and reversing sensors. The Kangoo is also sold as the long-wheelbase Maxi with a 4.0m3 load area, and both can be ordered in electric Z.E guise.

The next-generation Kangoo is due to arrive in 2020.

Sample model: 1.5dCi Energy 90 Business

Engine size    1.5-litre
Payload     800kg
Load volume    3.0m3
Combined mpg 62.8mpg
CO2    119g/km
Price (ex VAT) £16,826


Renault --New -Kangoo -Van class=

Renault Kangoo Van Z.E.

Renault’s revised electric Kangoo Van ZE has been dubbed the ZE.33 due to its new 33kW battery that the manufacturer says has increased range by 50% to 124 miles under real-world conditions in summer and up to 99 miles in winter.

There are four versions – the Kangoo Van ZE.33 (two seats and a load volume of 3.6m3), Maxi Van ZE.33 (two seats, 4.6m3), Maxi Crew Van ZE.33 (five seats, 1.3m3) and Maxi Crew Van Cab ZE.33 (which has a multi-positional, adjustable bulkhead that can accommodate either five people or a 3.6m3 load). At the end of 2017 Renault says it will also launch a Maxi version with a load volume of 6.0m3.

We drove the Kangoo ZE and found that much of the previous harshness in acceleration and braking has been eradicated. The test van had a 250kg load in the back, which improved the ride by tempering its more extreme EV tendencies without diminishing the load-lugging ability of the 60hp and 225rpm maximum torque available.

Full battery charging time has been reduced from eight to six hours, and a one-hour charge can top-up the range with an extra 22 miles.

Sample model:  ZE.33

Engine size    33kW
Payload         650kg
Load volume    3.6m3
Battery range    170 miles
CO2    0g/km
Price (ex VAT & PiVG) £14,195


Vauxhall class=

Vauxhall Combo Cargo

The Combo is based on Peugeot’s Partner and Citroen’s Berlingo.

All three, along with the Toyota Proace City, jointly won the What Van? Light Van of the Year Award for 2020.

No matter which brand you opt for you will come away with a fuel-efficient compact van that is well-designed, well-equipped and well put-together, with engines and transmissions that are well-matched to their task.

Two wheelbases – L1 and L2 – and one roof height are offered, giving a load cube of either 3.3m3 or 3.8m3.

Most will want to opt for the responsive and fuel-frugal 1.5-litre BlueHDi diesel at 75hp, 100hp or 130hp. The alternative – and one urban operators may want – is the 1.2-litre three-cylinder Puretech petrol engine at 110hp. A 130hp variant is also listed.

Gearbox choices include a five- or six-speed manual and the eight-speed EAT8 automatic – fast and smooth, it is what you need for multi-drop work in congested urban areas. Ride and handling are both top-notch, and the smoothness of the manual ’box’s change also left us impressed.

Sample model: LE Nav L1H1 2000

Engine size    1.5-litre
Payload     658kg
Load volume    3.3m3
Combined mpg 56.5mpg
CO2    117g/km
Price (ex VAT) £20,105



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


VW_Caddy class=

Volkswagen Caddy

Buyers can pick from a 102hp 1.0-litre TSI petrol engine or a 2.0-litre TDI diesel at 102hp or 150hp.

Transmissions include a five-speed manual or the impressive auto dual-clutch six-speed Direct Shift Gearbox.

Load volume is either 3.2m3 or 4.2m3, with the latter carrying the Caddy Maxi moniker. Gross payload capacity ranges from 545kg to 736kg.

In addition to Startline, the Caddy is offered with Trendline and Highline trim levels. We sampled the 102hp short-wheelbase Startline Business Edition.

The van handles remarkably well. Push it hard through bends and it clings doggedly to the tarmac. The ride is firm, but not unpleasantly so, and a slick, quick gear change helps you make rapid progress. With plenty of mid-range get-up-and-go, the engine offers ample horses for a van of this size. Furthermore, it is frugal, despite the fact that it is married to a five- rather than a six-speed transmission.

However, our Caddy was a tad noisy, with lots of wind noise and road roar from the rear accompanied by the sound of diesel sloshing around the fuel tank.

Sample model: Startline Business Edition

Engine size    2.0-litre
Payload     668kg
Load volume    3.2m3
Combined mpg 60.1mpg
CO2    124g/km
Price (ex VAT) £16,105