Vans of the Year

Date: Monday, December 8, 2008



With over 80 specially converted light commercial vehicles now available in the UK, the breadth of Citroën’s Ready to Run programme is astounding. That’s one reason why the French manufacturer has won What Van?’s One-Stop Shop award for 2008.

Recent additions to this already-praiseworthy line-up include chilled fridge conversions for Nemo, chilled and frozen conversions for Berlingo and box bodies built to chilled and frozen specifications for Relay. Dispatch and Relay fridge vans are available as well, as is a refrigerated Berlingo First.

Berlingos transformed into glass carriers by Supertrucks have just joined the party. So have versions of Nemo, Berlingo First and Berlingo converted to run on liquefied petroleum gas (lpg) by Nicholson McLaren Engineering (NME). In another first, vans that have been worked on by NME can also be converted to temperature-controlled specifications by Somers. As a result they can deliver sandwiches and other snacks to city centre workers in an environmentally friendly manner. If they do so in London the lpg conversions mean that they won’t be subject to the congestion tax.

Ready to Run further embraces 12-, 15- and 17-seater Relay minibuses, including wheelchair accessible models, converted by Advanced Vehicle Builders.

With seats, seat belts, seat mountings and an under-frame all tested to M1 passenger car standards, one neat feature of the standard minibuses is the ability to remove the three-seater rear bench easily and quickly. That’s a useful facility should you wish to carry more luggage, but fewer passengers.

Buckstone Motor Bodies supplies Luton vans to the programme while Ingimex contributes its usual high quality dropsides. The models are Relay-based, as is a car transporter courtesy of KFS, while Tipmaster produces a Relay tipper that represents remarkably good value for money.

Employing long and extra long wheelbase chassis, the Lutons offer load cubes of up to 20m3 and cargo deck lengths of up to 4,000mm. Offering a payload capacity of up to 1,180kg, the bodies employ anodised aluminium sections and 11mm grp panels. They’re equipped with colour-impregnated rear roller shutters plus full-height internal tie rails. The vehicles are also fitted with reverse parking sensors and a full-width combined under-run bumper and rear step.

Ingimex’s Thor dropside body features alloy dropsides plus a non-slip phenol resin bonded one-piece ply floor with retractable load tie-down points. Like the tipper, it is phenomenally good value for the modest price asked.

KFS’s transporter will move vehicles that weigh up to 1,600kg and its alloy body is supplied complete with alloy loading ramps.

The Ready to Run portfolio also embraces a 300kg-capacity internally mounted fold-away tail-lift for Dispatch and Relay panel vans sourced from Tipmaster. It tips the scales at just 145kg.

As well as the Berlingo referred to earlier, Berlingo First, Dispatch and Relay can all be ordered as glass carriers. The Supertrucks conversion includes an anodised aluminium roof rack, a side rack and two fixed internal racks, all complete with securing poles.

All Citroën Ready to Run bodies and conversions are covered by a three year/100,000 mile warranty with no mileage limit in the first two years to match the cover provided with the base Citroen vehicle.

Citroën is, of course, not the only light commercial manufacturer to run a One-Stop Shop programme. Ford is one of several competitors who do and its scheme receives our Highly Commended award.


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