1982-2012 Vauxhall Astravan Review

June 9th, 2015
1982 Astra Van

Bedford Astra Van from 1982

There have been scores of car-derived vans over the years, but few were as successful as the Astravan. The Vauxhall Astravan made its debut in 1982, at which time there were lots of car-derived vans, but by 2006 it was pretty much the only one left. It replaced the outgoing Chevanne, itself a car-based van using the Chevette platform. The Astravan is based very closely on the platform of the Astra Estate, but a bit of work by the Vauxhall designers allowed them to move the fuel tank and therefore create a longer wheelbase and a flat load space.

There is no doubt that modern light commercial vehicles (LCVs) such as the Citroen Berlingo or VW Caddy will give you more load space and payloads than the Vauxhall Astravan for a similar amount of cash, so why did Vauxhall persevere for so long with the Astravan? The answer is simply customer demand. Vauxhall says that around half of all Astravans were being sold to existing customers, generating a loyalty that other manufacturers would kill for. There was therefore no way that Vauxhall was going to kill off the Astravan until it absolutely had to. That moment came at the end of 2012, when Vauxhall announced that the Astravan was no more and would be replaced by the Combo.astra

It had to happen sooner or later, of course. The version of the Astra on which the Vauxhall Astravan was based had been out of production for three years. Small modern LCVs were now the product of extensive collaboration between firms to keep the cost down. These newer models offered more load space and payloads and were cheaper to buy and run, so there was really nowhere for the Vauxhall Astravan to go as it simply could no longer compete. In fact, it was a miracle that the Astravan lasted for so long, with a proud history spanning 20 years. The secret, perhaps, was in its car-like design and road manners. These new vans are all very well, but they look like vans, not cars. The Vauxhall Astravan, on the other hand, looks pretty much like an Astra estate with the rear windows panelled in. There are some alterations under the skin to the axles to take bigger loads, and the steering has been altered for similar reasons, but it looks and handles pretty much like a standard Astra.

astravan rearThat was the secret of success for the Vauxhall Astravan, and it was why so many customers kept coming back for more. For fleet managers, a van is perhaps just a platform to deliver loads in the most economical and efficient way possible, but for owners and drivers these numbers are only part of the equation. The other part is how enjoyable the van is to drive, and the Vauxhall Astravan certainly delivers on this front. It is fast on the motorway and nippy around town and can easily keep up with its saloon counterparts. It also looks good and can double quite easily as a two-seat car at the weekend. So for owner-operators it was a case of two birds with one stone. Now that it is discontinued, prices are coming down, so a used Vauxhall Astravan could represent a very good deal.

Nissan Interstar – High Roof, Long Wheelbase Review

May 27th, 2015

If you are looking for a van with a few miles on the clock and a huge amount of capacity, then you should look carefully at the Nissan Interstar in LWB guise with the high roof. In 2007, these vans were about as big as you could get in the 3.5 tonne gross vehicle weight sector, and that remains the case today. This is not a van for document couriers or florists; it is a van for heavy-duty operators who need to transport large quantities over long distances. In short, the Nissan Interstar LWB is the ideal tool for operators who need something just short of truck licence capacity.

Interstar

Nissan Interstar

Many readers will be aware that the Nissan Interstar is much the same van as the Renault Master and Vauxhall Movano. Sharing development costs and using common platforms is now the way of the world in both the car and van sectors, as companies strive to keep down the huge costs of bringing a new vehicle to market. This makes deciding which model to plump for even more difficult, as the similarities between the vans are so great. One factor which may come into play is the fact that Nissan also makes the Cabstar, so larger operators may be tempted by the prospect of a one-stop shop when negotiating a deal. That is hardly going to influence the average used van buyer, however, so looking closely at the small differences in the specification becomes more important. Most important of all, however, is simply finding a good second-hand example of whatever van you are looking for in the sector.

The Nissan Interstar enjoyed a number of enhancements for the 2007 model year. These included a pretty decent Euro IV 2.5 Diesel engine across the range, tuned to offer either 100hp or 120hp, which simplified engine selection greatly. This power plant was paired with another new driveline component, the six-speed manual transmission. You also get an ESP traction control system, but just as an option, and ABS as standard.

The load space of 14 cubic metres is not quite the largest you will get in the 3.5 tonne GVW sector, but it is more than decent. What is outstanding, however, is the payload of 1.5 tonnes, which means that there is unlikely to be a great need for any extra space.

The engine is torquey and offers that torque at low engine revs, which means that the Nissan Interstar pulls incredibly well and feels like a more rapid van than it actually is. The driver’s seat is excellent and probably one of the best you will find in a van of this age, while the large flat steering wheel reminds the driver that this van has a huge truck-like capacity. The storage options in the cab are great and include two big overhead bins. In short, the LWB high-roof Nissan Interstar is a stellar performer and well worth a good look at in this sector.

2013 Fiesta Van Review | Vanlocator UK

May 20th, 2015

Ford Fiesta VanThe Fiesta car-derived van has long been a staple in the small-van sector. This niche in the market has become more important in recent years, as many operators find themselves able to downsize from larger vans and save some money on the purchase and running costs in the process. Many operators also find that smaller vans are more suited to urban duties and hence suffer fewer of the bumps and scrapes associated with larger vans trying to squeeze into tight spaces.

The Ford Fiesta van is well placed to exploit this trend, and it has been doing so for a long time – since being launched in the late 1970s. The Fiesta van was overhauled in 2010 and promptly won the City Van of the Year award. The opposition rallied with a swarm of spacious car-based cube vans, but despite those models offering extra load-carrying capacity, the Fiesta van has been able to hold on to its market-leading position and commands as much as 63% of unit sales in the niche.

The 2013 version also benefited from a substantial refresh, and while the load volume remains smaller than those cube rivals, the Fiesta still wins all the plaudits when it comes to driving characteristics because of its car-like handling and ride. Ford has recognised that many people who buy a van actually have very modest load-carrying needs, so the Fiesta is a very good fit for this type of customer.

The 2013 Fiesta was given a facelift relatively close to the overhaul of the 2010 version, but Ford took advantage of the Fiesta car upgrade to tackle the increasing threat from the Mercedes Citan, a new and impressive offering in the small-van sector. This new model was offered with the Ford SYNC emergency assist system as an option, which automatically calls the emergency services in the event of an accident. It also has a useful system called Active City Stop, which brakes the car at low speeds if it detects an object in front of the van. This is joined in the kit list by other useful features, such as a camera and hill-start assist.

The Ford Fiesta van is indeed a tempting option for any operator who is looking to downsize their fleet and get rid of much of that unused load space. It has very pleasing road manners, and the fuel consumption fugues are impressive, achieving up to 85mpg on the Econetic model. It is also a good-looking little van, which can be important both for the driver and for the company image. The seats are sporty-looking and offer good support, even if a larger driver might find them a bit tight. There is lots of legroom for such a small van, and the adjustable steering wheel makes it easier to find a comfortable driving position. Cabin storage space is limited, but you do get two cup holders, and the load area is usefully square with a wipe-clean floor. As with many car-derived vans, however, there is a bit of a lip at the boot, so you can’t simply slide loads in and out.

The 95hp engine offers lively performance and is quiet and refined. There is also little noise from the back, despite there being only a mesh bulkhead.

The diesel power plant is highly refined, and despite the fact that there is only a mesh bulkhead, hardly any noise emanates from the back. Electronic Stability Control is only offered as an option on the two lower-end models, but this apart it is hard to find fault with the Fiesta van for anyone who can live with a load space of up to one cubic metre.

Fiat Scudo Panorama Review | Vanlocator UK

May 14th, 2015

The market for a more executive sort of minibus-type transport is a growing one. You can see this sort of thing in hotel shuttle buses and in the rental market, where some clients are looking for something a little more akin to the types of car they normally drive. For example, a group of businessmen going on a golfing outing are likely to need transport, but they would want it to remind them of their upmarket, mostly German, saloons that they have left behind. It is no wonder then that the Germans have the upscale minibus market largely sewn up, with classy offerings from both Volkswagen and Mercedes. Fiat, however, provides a different option with the Panorama.

Scudo Panorama

Fiat Scudo Panorama

This is a luxury conversion of Fiat’s light panel van, the Scudo, and it has seats for nine people and an impressive specification. Fiat also offers a more utilitarian Combi version. The Panorama comes in long or short wheelbases, but there is no high-roof option. It can be configured with either two or three seating rows to accommodate between five and nine people, with a further choice of either two seats or a three-seat bench at the front.

The standard spec includes both ABS and EBD, and there is also a deadlock alarm, remote central locking, electric windows, dual-zone climate control and an assortment of air bags. The long-wheelbase version gets ESP traction control but only as an option.

Power comes by way of the impressive a Fiat MultiJet two litre engine, with a choice of 120hp or 136hp power outputs, paired with a six-speed gearbox. Early editions had no automatic transmission option. Fuel economy is fair, with the Panorama getting up to 39.2mpg on the combined cycle. CO2 emissions are up to 198g/km.

Inside the cabin, you will find some nice thick carpeting, which does the double job of absorbing road noise and creating a quite atmosphere while adding a touch of luxury. If you go for the short-wheelbase version, however, you should be aware that with all nine seats in place there is little room left for luggage. A better bet is therefore the long-wheelbase version, which has a decent 770 litre luggage space with all the seats in place. There is some flexibility, though, with five or six cubic metres of luggage space available in the short- and long-wheelbase versions respectively when you take the rear seats out.

Fiat Panorama

Scudo Panorama Seating

The two rear seat rows are also split, allowing you to take one or two seats out of each row for more luggage and passenger combinations. A word of warning, though: the seats are pretty heavy, so it is not an easy job for one person. Up front, the three-seat bench is a little tight for three adults, and the two-seat version is much more accommodating. A neat feature is the raising of the seat rows as you move back, with each one elevated over the row in front to provide better forward views. There is a pair of handy overhead lockers. Overall, a used Fiat Panorama makes a decent fist of taking on the German opposition.

2008 Citroen Dispatch Review – High Roof, Long Wheelbase

May 12th, 2015

The looks of a van are perhaps not the most important feature we consider when buying a used van, but nonetheless, we have to live with the vehicle for a long time and for many hours in a working day, so a hideous-looking van could be a little off-putting after a while. Image can also be important in business, so this is another reason why we value good looks in a van. Of course, nobody deliberately builds an ugly van, but it is when some vans undergo a little modification from the original design that problems can occur. A classic case is when they take a perfectly good little van and then decide to puff it up with a longer wheelbase and a high roof. While this can undoubtedly make the van more practical, it can also destroy any attempt the designer has made to create a well-proportioned and handsome van.

dispatch Citroen

Citroen Dispatch L2H2

Thankfully, there are exceptions to this rule, and the Citroen Dispatch is certainly one of those. The original 2007 version only came in in short-wheelbase guise, but the newer version was quickly released to fill the niche between this and the larger Relay van. The design is a great success, and as well as offering lots more space it also, if anything, looks even better than the original.

The load volume has been increased to a full seven cubic metres, which is a useful amount of space in anyone’s book and only slightly less capacious than the smallest version of the Relay. The load bay is also 2584mm long, or nearly nine feet to those of a certain vintage. The gross vehicle weight is a shade under three tonnes, while the payload is 1,188kg. These are all figures that put some distance between this model and the standard Dispatch.

The engines have been beefed up, with a 1.6 90hp diesel and a two-litre power plant offering a choice of 120hp or 136hp. The two-litre is wedded to a six-speed gear box, while the 1.6 has a five-gear transmission. Many van drivers will know that the Citroen Dispatch is essentially the same van as the Peugeot Expert, but in choosing the Citroen version, drivers get the Smartnav system with Traffic Master and stolen-vehicle tracking capability.

The 2008 Citroen was a huge improvement over earlier versions and won many plaudits. It was International Van of the Year for 2008 and probably rightly so. It looks good, and those looks are protected by a ring of plastic around the Dispatch’s nether regions which absorbs all those nasty prangs and scrapes. Drivers will also soon find that getting in and out of the cab is a breeze. This may not be a big deal if you do long-haul work, but on multi-drop routes, when you get in and out of the cab a hundred times a day or more, it can make a big difference. Once inside, you will find some clever touches, like a fold-down desk, a pair of overhead lockers and cup holders. There are three seats but the cab is not as big as some rivals, and it would be a squeeze for three sizeable adults. There is good access to the load space via a pair of sliding doors, and there is also a light back there, which is a very useful touch for night-time work.

The 120hp version should be enough for most operations, and likewise the five-speed box copes just fine. ABS is standard, and the van handles well out on the road with very little in the way of poor road manners needing to be tamed. It is also pretty well priced. A used Citroen Dispatch may not be a stand-out van, but it is a very capable fleet vehicle that can easily do the job.

Updated VW Transporter T6 Unleashed

May 7th, 2015

The Transporter is a staple of the panel van market in the UK and throughout Europe, so it is no surprise to see VW preparing a new model for release later this year.

And as with its predecessors, the Transporter T6 is going to be available in several guises to cater for various commercial applications.

t6

The T6 will be released later this year

The latest Transporter will be quite a milestone for VW vans, since it is set to go on sale six and a half decades after the original T1 first appeared, harking back to a long heritage and hinting at the enduring impact of this range.

And in spite of its commercial roots, it seems that the new Transporter is being developed to closely mirror the driving experience of a car rather than a commercial vehicle, according to those in charge of its design.

The design

This starts on an aesthetic level, with the exterior sporting the same unifying design ethos that can be seen on VW’s other recent vehicles.

Optional extras such as LED headlights are available, while safety is bolstered thanks to the availability of a driver alert system which can even sense when the person behind the wheel is tired and notify them to pull over for a rest to avoid causing an accident.

Commercial operators will value the inclusion of a reversing camera and even a tailgate which can open and close itself electrically for ease of access and convenience.

And the upshot of all these things in combination is that the Transporter T6 comes closer than any of its predecessors to resembling the likes of a VW Golf, both in terms of interior equipment and additional features.

t6 range

The model comes in several different variants

The variants

The panel van variant of the Transporter T6 will come with a range of Euro 5-compliant engines, with the base model offering 83bhp while the top-tier unit will pump out 201bhp.

The more powerful models can be kitted out with a seven-speed automatic gearbox, and across the range VW claims to have achieved a fuel-efficiency improvement of 15% when compared with the outgoing Transporter range.

This kind of generational improvement to fuel consumption is impressive, although buyers looking to secure the Transporter T6 second-hand will need to wait until 2016 for the first examples to start appearing on the market, as it is not due to go on sale in the UK until later in 2015.

SWB and LWB variants of the new Transporter are on the cards, offering cargo area capacities ranging from 4.3 cubic metres on the basic model up to 5.8 cubic metres on the high-roof iteration.

Standard panel van versions will be joined by minibus models and also the obligatory camper, bearing the California name tag.

VW is harking back to the retro roots of this van range by offering a special edition called the Generation Six.

As well as a stylish and historically accurate paint job, this model will benefit from its own unique wheels and interior upholstery that is designed to pay homage to VW’s older vans.

Vauxhall Corsavan 2014 Model: Review

May 6th, 2015

The Vauxhall Corsavan has undergone a number of significant revisions over the two decades since it was first introduced – most recently in 2014, when the latest iteration of the supermini platform on which it is based was released. Competing with the likes of the Fiesta van from Ford and Fiat’s Punto van, the Corsavan occupies a compact but compelling niche in the market, making it a commercial vehicle well worth considering for many businesses.

In its most recent guise, the economic benefits of choosing a car-derived van become apparent, especially in the supermini segment. Vauxhall endows the 2014 iteration with eminently efficient engines, including a 1.3 litre CDTi power plant that is available with either 74bhp or 94bhp at its disposal. A stop-start ignition system to save on fuel when sitting in traffic is also standard across the range now, enabling the most efficient model to achieve 85.6 miles to the gallon on a good run.

Interestingly, there is an odd balance struck between the load area of the Corsavan’s rear compartment and the actual payload weight it can handle. With just 0.92 cubic metres available behind the driver and passenger seats, it is not going to offer you a huge amount of room, even when compared against other supermini conversions. However, it can carry 571kg of equipment, which makes it a miniature Hercules that does better than any other vans in its class.

The previous generation of the Corsavan has a maximum payload capacity of 550kg, meaning that there are improvements to be gained by opting for one of the newer models. However, commercial operators seeking a small van for urban use will still find a lot to like in the second-hand Corsavan examples that are on the market at the moment. Even Ford’s current Fiesta van lags behind the Corsavan range with its 508kg payload capacity.

An additional benefit of choosing a supermini-sized van such as this Vauxhall example is that things such as interior equipment and overall handling will mirror those of the standard consumer-oriented car equivalent. This means the Corsavan comes loaded with safety benefits as standard, such as six airbags, an ESP system as well as brake assist and the ability to add options such as lane-departure warning and traffic-signal recognition.

The diesel engines will generally be preferred for vans, even of this size, thanks to the added torque and improved fuel efficiency they offer compared with petrol power plants. And other conveniences such as a built-in touchscreen satellite navigation system can be included as extras, making well-specified second-hand Vauxhall Corsavans an appealing prospect for buyers.

Clearly, the size of the load space will be an issue for certain operators, and it could be that even with a lower maximum payload an alternative to the Corsavan will be preferable as a result of the smaller area it offers in the rear. However, for those that value pulling power and the ability to carry weighty loads unhindered, Vauxhall’s small van may be ideal.

Isuzu Rodeo Denver Review | Vanlocator UK

April 30th, 2015

The van market has always been quite diverse, with everything from box vans and Lutons to panel vans and little car-derived runabouts. Then, a few years ago, it got a little more diverse with the entry of the 4×4 SUV-type van. Someone must have noticed that if you stick some panels on the side windows of one of these larger SUV-type pick-ups, then it makes a pretty decent van. Models such as the Nissan Navara, Ford Ranger and Mitsubishi were soon selling well, along with the Isuzu Rodeo

Isuzu-Rodeo-denver automatic

Isuzu Rodeo Denver

we have here.

These vehicles can make a lot of sense for certain operators. They are large and chunky and have an outdoorsy image. This makes them popular for certain professions such as tree surgeons or outdoor sports companies. They also have serious off-road capabilities, so the popularity is not just due to looks. For operators who need to go off-road on to rough site tracks or just into the wilds of the British countryside, a 4×4 van such as the Isuzu Rodeo Denver can make a lot of sense.

The Isuzu Rodeo Denver did not sell as well as the other 4×4 vans mentioned above, but that was no reflection on the vehicle’s abilities. Instead, it was more to do with the scarcity of Isuzu dealers in the UK. We know this because when it comes to sheer ability and practicality, the Isuzu Rodeo Denver can take them all on. When this class of van first started becoming popular around the turn of the century, most of the models on offer were pretty industrial, with little in the way of creature comforts for the unfortunate driver. Even then, however, the Isuzu Rodeo Denver offered a little more and was a bit more practical in terms of everyday driving, which could be accomplished without damage to the spine from the bone-shaking ride of most of its contemporaries.

In 2007, the company upgraded the Isuzu Rodeo Denver, making it even more capable. It may be a small fish in the UK pond of 4×4 vans, but globally it is a huge hit, dominating markets in south-east Asia, Australasia and North Africa. And when you think about it, that is a very good thing indeed. These are regions where a 4×4 has to be on its game, coping with the roughest of roads and harshest of conditions while being far from any workshop. If someone in the UK wants a robust 4×4 van, they might want to stop following the crowd and take a hint from those who really need their 4x4s. Isuzu also makes more diesel engine than anyone else in the world, so the power plant has a pretty good pedigree too.

There were three models on offer in the UK: the Isuzu Rodeo Denver, Denver Max and Denver Max LE. All came with a proper double cab, making them ideal for crew work. A 2.5 litre diesel with common rail fuel injection powers the vehicles, offering 135bhp to 166bhp. Even the base versions get alloys, electric windows, air conditioning and keyless central locking. The 4×4 drive is selectable. These Isuzu Rodeo Denvers may not have been the biggest sellers in the country, but they are some of the most capable you can get, and a used Isuzu Rodeo Denver could be a bargain for the right operator.

Toyota Hiace Review | Vanlocator UK

April 30th, 2015

A little like the Ford Transit, the Toyota Hiace is almost an icon in van terms. All around the world you will find Toyota Hiace vans lugging loads and people in the most unlikely and out-of-the-way places. Most of them are pretty long in the tooth too, which is why a used Toyota Hiace might make such sense: they just never seem to stop. If you are looking for a van of a certain vintage, then a Toyota Hiace will be one of the models near the top of your list. It is an unremarkable-looking beast, but it is the longevity and robustness and not the looks that make the Toyota Hiace stand out from the crowd.

Toyota Hiace in 2011

Toyota Hiace in 2011

Toyota Hiace vans from around the mid-2000s are in plentiful supply, and prices are low for vans of such vintage. By 2006, the Hiace hadn’t been updated significantly for almost a decade. It came in long- or short-wheelbase versions with gross vehicle weights of 3,000kg or 2,800kg. Every model had a driver’s airbag and ABS. Both versions of the Toyota Hiace from this period had the same 2.5 litre diesel with common rail fuel injection. It was tuned to offer 88bhp or 102bhp and either 141 or 191lb-ft of torque. The service intervals were 20,000 miles, which is pretty good now, never mind a decade ago, but there was also the requirement for an oil change every 10,000 miles.

As you would expect, the entry-level models of the Toyota Hiace 280 and 300 were the most popular, and they were priced at £11,985 and £13,485 respectively. For that you got a radio/cassette player, a rear tailgate, remote central locking and a central storage box. Those who forked out for the GS model got a tinted and heated rear window complete with wash wipe, mud flaps, a tilt-adjusting steering wheel and a steel bulkhead with windows. You could also specify twin rear doors on the long-wheelbase model. The big spenders who forked out for the top-of-the-range GS Xtra 300 LWB also got electric front windows, a radio with CD player and air conditioning. That would set you back a shade under £16,000 when bought new in 2005. The Toyota Hiace also came with a host of optional extras, including satellite navigation, roof bars, ply lining, light guards, tow bars and parking sensors. You could also get a high-roof version, the Hi-Top, which boosted load space by nearly 20% over the standard version.

The ProAce replaces the Hi Ace

The ProAce replaces the Hi Ace

The problem with Toyota Hiace vans of this age was that they were showing that age even back then. The design was getting old and it looked it, especially inside the cab. The cabin is extremely basic, with little in the way of creature comforts. Outside, there is good protection in the form of plastic bumpers to front and rear but little in the way of side protection. You can therefore expect a bit of wear and tear to the bodywork on a van of this age. That said, the Toyota Hiace is all about basic functionality, and the reliability is legendary. So if this is what you are looking for in a second-hand van, a used Toyota Hiace might do the job.

Should You Take a Punt on a Used Fiat Punto Van? A Review

April 27th, 2015

The Fiat Punto van had something of a quiet life in the years leading up to 2005. It was a decent enough small car-derived van, but perhaps nothing really special. Sales, too, were nothing really special either. In fact, if it’s exclusivity you are looking for in a small van, then the Fiat Punto van may be the one for you, as there are really very few on the road in comparison to competitors. Things changed a little in 2005, however, at least in terms of the Fiat Punto van’s qualities if not its sales. That is when Fiat introduced the 1.3 diesel multijet common rail injection engine. To put it mildly, this engine is a little cracker.Fiat Punto Van

This diesel engine version came in at just under £8,000 new, which was a few hundred pounds more expensive than the petrol version. It was a premium worth paying, however, in terms of fuel consumption and low-rpm power. The 1.2 litre petrol version has 60bhp and 75lb-ft of torque, while the diesel gives out 70bhp and a far more impressive 132lb-ft of torque down at 1,750rpm. The diesel is also Euro IV compliant so has a good record on emissions. The Fiat Punto van was pitched directly at the Peugeot 206 van, the Renault Clio van and the Vauxhall Corsavan. This lot are almost impossible to separate on load volumes and payload, and the price differential between them isn’t much either. That is where the Fiat Punto van wins hands down. Brand new, it beat those vans by up to £500 on price.

The Fiat Punto van suffers from depreciation more than most, but for a van of this age depreciation is your friend. A 2005 Fiat Punto van is going to have experienced a great deal of depreciation, and it is likely to be cheaper than its rivals. What is more, it was never as popular as those vans, so this brings the price down too. All of this means that a used Fiat Punto van of 2005 vintage can be had for a very reasonable price indeed. In addition, when you are buying a van of this age, you can just forget about depreciation – the bulk of the price decrease has already happened and won’t affect things much if and when you decide to sell.

Inside the cabin, it begins to be fairly obvious how Fiat has achieved those low price points. You won’t find fripperies like a CD player, electric windows or central locking in the base version. All were available as options, though, but when you are buying a van of this age, you probably want a model with the least possible to go wrong. There is adequate space in the cabin, and the seat adjusts for lumbar support. There is also a decent length in the squab and excellent side support.

In the rear, there is a decent load compartment which is nice and square, making the space more useful. You can release the tailgate from the driver’s seat, which is handy, but the boot lip stops you from easily sliding loads inside.

In short, if you are looking for a basic and budget-priced little van with a superb engine, you could do a lot worse than the Fiat Punto van.