There’s no denying that the Sportvan is huge fun to drive. It corners as if on rails, with next to zero body roll and ample feedback through the steering. The response is instant. Nor do we have any quibbles about the performance, which is hardly surprising with 120hp on tap in such a small van. Acceleration from rest is strong and continues to be so as you go up through the gears. The gear-change is Swiss-watch precise, requiring the minimum of effort.
Drawbacks? With low-profile tyres and a stiff suspension the ride is never going to be all that smooth, and the driver has to put up with rather too much tyre noise. Other sources of noise are muted though, and the build quality is worthy of applause.
So is the satnav. The mapping and the accompanying visual instructions are clear, as are the verbal directions. Tire of them, and you can always switch them off.
Fitted with a variable-geometry turbocharger and a cast aluminium cylinder head and block, the Sport Van’s high-pressure common-rail direct-injection diesel generates maximum power at 3,600rpm.
Top torque of 270Nm bites across a 1,750-2,500rpm plateau.
The four-cylinder in-line eight-valve transverse-mounted engine is married to a six-speed manual gearbox.
A push-button starter is fitted but the key fob has to be present for it to work.
You might want to keep the fob in a metal-lined Faraday pouch to ensure thieves do not steal its code and use it to start your vehicle.