Vauxhall Movano Prime 2.2D Review

Date: Thursday, November 16, 2023

On Sale: Now
Key Rival: Fiat Ducato

The Movano has something of a dual-nationality about it and more than a little bit of a split personality too.

This Movano is, of course, essentially the same van as a Relay, Boxer or Ducato and as such offers myriad lengths and heights. This L3 H2 has the 4,035mm wheelbase shared with the longest (L4) body that features more rear overhang. This L3 is 5,998mm overall, giving a load length of just over 3.0m, a maximum load width of over 1.8m and in H2 guise a height of over 1.9m. This 13.0m3 of space is accessed by twin rear and twin side loading doors, is fully plywood-lined and offers a total of 14 lashing eyes in the floor, bulkhead and body sides. Good steps make for easy loading despite its height off the ground. 

The spacious cab has masses of storage. Overhead shelves, small upper and massive lower door bins, two cupholders below the facia and one more on it, a small glovebox and a lidded bin above means there should be enough room for phones, work gloves, drink bottles and more. The twin passenger bench seat also has a fold-down mini table/clipboard. The driver’s seat, an ISRI suspension type with a generous range of adjustment, initially seems good but its short cushion lacks under-thigh support and the backrest feels thin and hard. For taller drivers especially, a better basic seat devoid of levitation would be preferable tothis. The identity crisis is apparent when you turn the key. A rather half-hearted griffin symbol appears in the instrument cluster yet all the icons on the centre screen are burgundy-coloured domes, like a FIAT badge. The screen is decent, if a touch slower compared with a Mercedes or Ford system. The satnav is a little reluctant to re-route and has no actual voice control – only via a connected phone. The switchgear and climate controls are logical, big enough to use in gloves and include just a simple switch to easily remove the annoying ‘lane-keeping’ chime.

Once under way the 165hp 2.2-litre engine is a mixed bag. It provides maximum torque of 370Nm at 1,750 rpm (equating to 56mph in top gear) but being such a small capacity it’s all turbo-dependent. This means judicious use of the six-speed manual box but the change quality is notchy with inconsistent ratio gaps, most noticeably 1st to 2nd and 4th to 5th. The sticky clutch and ‘grabby’ hill holder make urban work a chore, despite great mirrors and excellent steering-lock angles. The brakes and the steering have great feel also. The engine and transmission characteristics are much better suited to motorway work but here the poor driver’s seat means long stints in the saddle are not relished. The engine is not particularly quiet either, while driving in heavy rain illustrates the lack of insulation with plenty of noise entering the cab from both rainfall and road spray beneath. The automatic lights and wipers respond well at night while dipped beam is pretty good, main beam is sufficiently weak to render it pointless. However, some comfort can be had at the pumps, we saw almost 41.0mpg (unladen) over a mixed mainly motorway and A-road route with a little urban traffic, too.

There are some signs of how old the basic design of the Relay/Boxer/Ducato is. The A-pillar and quarter lights combine to give a bit of a blind spot when entering a roundabout. Using the ignition key in the fuel filler seems antiquated – although at least it prevents it from being left in the cab – while the passenger side under-facia trim falling onto the floor two-days into the test shows Sevel build-quality remains true under the Stellantis banner. The Movano would be a great motorway van with a better seat, and a good urban van with an automatic box, but for now its split personality remains. One thing it did show, however, is that no matter what the badge, a diesel engine is still, by far, the best propulsion for a 3.5 tonne van, with a 10 minute refuel giving 600 miles.

Vauxhall Movano Prime 2.2D 165hp L3H2 3500

Price (ex VAT) £33,950 (as tested £34,600 – paint option)

Price range (ex VAT) £33,109–41,833

Insurance group 33E

Warranty 3yrs/100,000mls

Service intervals 30,000mls 

Load length 3,705mm

Load width (min/max) 1,422mm/1,870mm

Load bay height 1,932mm

Gross payload 1,415kg

Load volume 13.0m3

Engine size/power 2,197cc/165bhp

Combined fuel economy 40.4mpg

CO2 295g/km



Great productivity, but not a driver’s van and feeling its age.


View The WhatVan Digital Edition