First Drive: Vauxhall Movano minibus

Date: Friday, November 2, 2012

Vauxhall’s line-up of vehicles for its large van Movano range extends to tippers, dropsides, Luton vans and to this model, a 17-seat minibus that maximises the regulations regarding minibus operation.

 Complete with a tachograph, now needed for commercial usage of minibuses, 17 seats is the maximum that drivers who passed their test before 1 January 1997 are able to take charge of on a standard car licence. Those after that date can drive minibuses with 16 passenger seats, but only non-commercially and if they are over 21 and have had a licence for at least two years.
The Movano 17-seater is based on the L3H2 version of the panel van, and the minibus is a factory build and available through the company’s heavy van dealer network – rather than having to go through a third party converter – complete with three-year guarantee.
Access into the rear 14 seats, set in a formation of double seats on one side and single on the other, is via a wide sliding side door that comes with an electrically retractable step, a quality touch that never ceases to impress occupants. Each seat gets its own aircraft-style ventilation and reading light, but full-length aircon is a very expensive £2640 option. While there is overhead luggage space running the full length of both sides of the minibus, it’s only useful for coats as even small bags won’t squeeze in there. Legroom isn’t exactly fantastic for adult occupants in any of the double seats, but that’s the case with most rival vehicles too. On the options list is a floor-mounted fixing rail for the rearmost two double seats, allowing easy removal to create additional luggage space. Parking sensors, at £318, are highly recommended, especially if people not used to driving larger vehicles will pilot the vehicle.
The Movano minibus is otherwise much like the rest of the range: decent to drive, with the 125hp 2.2 diesel doing a good job of pulling a full load, and there’s as much oddment storage space in the front as even 17 people could need. For those needing a better balance of human and luggage space, the Movano also comes in six- and nine-seater Combi configuration.


Good all-round drive and ease of use, although a little more rear space wouldn’t hurt


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