April 24, 2017
Sales of new vans hit record levels in 2016, with over 370,000 new vans and pickups sold in the UK alone. The market is booming, as 2017 shapes up to be a great year for new vans.
The domination of the Ford Transit Custom shows no signs of abating. In 2016, the Custom sold almost 50,000 units, almost double that of its nearest competitor – the ‘big’ Transit. Ford have replaced the previous 2.2-litre TDCi diesel engine with a new, more efficient and more powerful range of 2.0-litre EcoBlue Euro 6-compliant engines. Coupled with the recent addition of a six-speed automatic gearbox, Ford have cemented the Custom’s status as one of, if not the best panel van on the market.
Another van based on the Renault Trafic, the Nissan NV300’s economy, dimensions and weights are virtually identical to its French cousin. Powered by the same 1.6-litre diesel engine as the Trafic, the NV300 can easily accommodate three Europallets or up to ten 8’ x 4’ plasterboard sheets. It can also pull up to 2-tonnes with the optional towbar fitted. Nissan’s five-year, 100,000 mile warranty is a year longer than Renault’s.
Thinking about a pickup? After something a bit more ‘premium’? Well, the new Mercedes X-Class pickup is due this year, and is primed to set new standards for luxury in a growing market. Based on the Nissan Navara, the X-Class will be capable of towing up to 3.5-tonnes and feature multi-link rear suspension. It does get a number of upgrades on the Navara, including leather seats and online touchscreen infotainment.
Due to arrive imminently, the new Crafter is expected to set new benchmarks for comfort and quality in the large van sector. Having severed its links to the Mercedes Sprinter – the van on which the previous model was based – the Crafter is an all-new van. It offers huge load-carrying capabilities, great ride quality and refined handling. Volkswagen will be hoping for big things.
The new and upgraded Isuzu D-Max will make its UK debut at the CV Show 2017 at the NEC in Birmingham in two weeks’ time. As such, there aren’t even any images online of the new model. Expect the same payload and towing capacities but a much-improved standard features list.
With older diesel-powered engines getting a hard time of it in the media – especially in London – it’s no surprise that manufacturers are looking to alternative solutions for powering their vans. Renault’s Kangoo Z.E has been available for some time now, and the range is expanding with the Master ZE due later this year. It’s claimed that loadspace is unaffected, charging time is just six hours from a mains socket while the van’s range on a full charge is claimed to be 124 miles.
The Nissan Navara must be doing something right – Renault has also decided to release a pickup based on the International Pickup of the Year 2016. The Renault Alaskan is powered by a 2.3-litre dCi engine with power outputs of either 160ps or 190ps. Trim specs have yet to be confirmed.
With some significant new updates, the Volkswagen Amarok is now better than ever. A new 3.0-litre V6 engine may be going against the grain, but an improved 3.2-tonne towing capacity and a claimed fuel economy of 37.2mpg comfortably beats that of the previous 160ps engine.
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