The TGE marks the first time bus and truck maker MAN has entered the light commercial sector, but while it is the new kid on the block, it isn’t entirely taking a stab in the dark, due to the links with parent company Volkswagen, which produces the Crafter.

Both vans are produced in Volkswagen’s huge new production facility in Poland, the TGE coming to market as an almost identical but restyled version of the Crafter. But with MAN badges on it, could the TGE struggle to establish itself in an already highly competitive market and against a manufacturer with a far bigger name?

The range will be available in front-wheel drive, as well as rear- and all-wheel drive models, and all will be offered with manual or automatic transmissions.

Stuart Beeton, head of van at MAN, told What Van? the product will provide some key differences to its Crafter rival.

“Priced from £23,990, the agreement is that where the vehicles’ specification is aligned to the Crafter, the price list is also aligned, within a 5% tolerance. The Crafter also has three spec levels, and the TGE has one. It comes as a base specification and the customer can add on whatever they want to personalise it to their needs,” he explained.

As well as the Crafter, Beeton admitted that Iveco will be a rival to the range in so much as both brands have similar HGV structures and strategies.

As for the target market for the TGE, Beeton said that this is “people who want to run LCVs with the same standards that are applied to HGVs, so people for whom aftersales is a factor, for instance… safety, compliance and aftersales”.

With this predicted target market comes predicted sales, and Beeton says the manufacturer is looking to hit 3,000 to 3,500 units a year by 2020.

We were offered an opportunity to drive the entire TGE range, which we took to the track of Rockingham Raceway Corby, a great location to test the manufacturer’s first attempt at a van and gauge its potential for success.

Here, we decided to review the 3.0t 140hp manual panel van with front-wheel drive, which MAN expects to be the bestseller of the range.


One of the most important factors in the TGE’s potential success is what it is like to drive and spend long working hours in, and the 140hp six-speed manual van we tested was not short of practical features and creature comforts designed to take the strain out of the driver’s day.

Power for the new LCV family member comes from a 2.0-litre four-cylinder turbodiesel engine with four power outputs. Gross weights range from 3.0 to 5.5 tonnes, and the TGE is produced in van, chassis cab and chassis double-cab guises.

A smooth, slick gear change helped us make progress quickly, and the van handled well, zipping around the track and not showing the least inclination to break away, with the steering tightening up nicely at speed.

The steering, handling and ride of the vehicle has been really thought through and the vehicle overall was an absolute pleasure to drive.



Interior and equipment

As for the cabin, it is full of robust-looking materials and practical storage spaces for mobile phones, laptops, sunglasses, work gloves, water bottles and coffee mugs.

Pull up the passenger seat cushions and you will find storage underneath; pull down the middle seat’s back and it turns into a desk complete with pen trays, a couple of cupholders and an elasticated band to keep paperwork in place. Legroom for the passenger in the centre isn’t bad either and, just like its Crafter counterpart, is better than that in other three-seater cabs we have encountered.

Other than the mandatory anti-lock braking (ABS), standard spec includes technology such as electronic brake assist (EBA) and electronic stability control (ESC), which we were able to really put to the test on the wet part of the track. 

However, the range lacks VW’s post-collision assist, which is available as standard on the entire Crafter range – a real shame. Aircon is also surprisingly an extra, at £1,375, and the standard spec on our vehicle meant we had to ensure we were driving it around the track on a pretty warm day with the windows down.


The van went on sale in September, and Thomas Hemmerich, managing director of MAN Truck & Bus, explained that the MAN dealer network is strategically located across the UK to support all of its customers needs: “We are offering extended opening hours, around-the-clock, 365 days per year mobile 24-hour roadside assistance, and an embedded can-do commercial attitude ingrained within our company. This is just a few of the many factors that will set us apart from our competitors in the light commercial vehicle sector.”

Hemmerich explained what impact he expects the TGE to make in the van segment: “The launch of our new TGE range in the UK market is an important milestone in our history; after 100 years of building heavy commercial vehicles, MAN Truck and Bus now has a light commercial vehicle range to offer our customers.”

Unlike Ford, Renault and Fiat, MAN Trucks have entered the market through a different route, explained Hemmerich: “Instead of a passenger car manufacturer venturing into LCV we have decided to give heavy trucks a break and head into the LCV world with our new TGE, which is a great thing to offer as we already have knowledge of the commercial vehicle market.”

As for future plans, Beeton said that while MAN is committed to e-mobility and there are plans for an electric TGE, no time frame has been laid out as of yet.

Only time will tell if the TGE can mark its ground in the LCV sector where no new companies have laid foot for a while. First impressions, though, are that the new kid on the block looks like it’s going to be a fierce competitor.

Man TGE 3. 140 Std manual

Price (ex VAT) £25,686
Price range (ex VAT) £23,990–£29,956
Insurance group 41A
Warranty 5yrs/120,000mls
Service intervals tbc
Load length 5,986mm
Load width (min/max)  1,311/1,832mm
Load bay height  1,587mm
Gross payload 831kg
Load volume 9.9m3
Engine size/power  1,968cc/140hp
Combined fuel economy 38.2mpg
CO2 193g/km