Four small vans to look out for

Date: Monday, August 21, 2017   |   Author: James Dallas

Fiat Professional Fiorino Cargo

The Fiorino Cargo is the 2017 What Van? Small Van of the Year. With a gross payload of up to 660kg, it is on offer with a 1.3-litre Multijet II diesel engine at either 80hp or 95hp, plus Fiat has achieved the Euro6 standard without an AdBlue reservoir. A 77hp 1.4-litre petrol power pack is also up for grabs.

Rear access to the 2.5m3 load bay – 2.8m3 if you fold down the passenger seat – is by means of twin, opaque, asymmetric doors. A five-inch touchscreen and Bluetooth are standard on most variants. While the screen may seem a touch small it’s large enough to play host to the optional satnav system. The cab is less cramped and offers a bit more storage than might appear to be the case initially, and the seats are surprisingly comfortable.

The Fiorino is lively and huge fun to drive. Mid-range acceleration is strong and the compact little Fiat goes around corners as if on rails, while there’s generous amount of feedback through the steering. Nor does it get out of shape when changing direction suddenly. Small vans tend not to ride all that well, but this one also rides better than most.

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Ford Fiesta Van

You can still pick up the Fiesta car-derived city van even though Ford ceased producing it at the end of April. Buy one and you’ll get a versatile van with low running costs that’s well-suited to the requirements of both local traders and large urban delivery fleets.
There’s 1.0m3 of cargo space, with payloads ranging from 485kg to 508kg, and a load length of 1,296mm. The vehicle is fitted with a steel bulkhead and four tie-down hooks to secure loads.

Ride and handling are excellent under any driving conditions, and the cabin is stylish, well laid out and provides plenty of legroom. All the diesel engines in the range achieve sub-100g/km of CO2 and economy of 76.4mpg or better, thanks to the likes of stop/start.

Other tech available includes Active City Stop to help prevent low-speed collisions, and Mykey, which allows operators to set speed limiters and stereo volume maximums.
However, operators looking for a more comprehensive load-carrying solution will no doubt find Ford pointing them towards the Fiesta Van’s replacement.

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Ford Transit Courier

The baby of Ford’s LCV line-up following the departure of the Fiesta Van (top right) features a well laid-out, user-friendly and stylish dashboard.

It is great to drive too. In fact, the Courier is one of the few LCVs that can genuinely claim to offer car-like handling. The little van is able to weave nimbly through urban traffic, making light of the challenges presented by narrowed lanes, roadworks and temporary roundabouts, and once let off the leash on B-roads and country lanes it is a pleasure to be behind the wheel.

There are 1.5- and 1.6-litre diesel engines available, as well as a 100hp 1.0-litre petrol Ecoboost aimed at the urban operators. The 95hp 1.5-litre diesel engine is the most efficient in the line-up, with 7.6mpg on the combined cycle.

A compact, cubic load-lugger, the Courier offers a load space of 2.4m3 and a payload of 660kg, although the Ecoboost’s weight limit is 10kg shy of this. A full-height, full-width steel bulkhead comes as standard, either glazed or unglazed, and there are six tie-down points in a load area that will swallow a Europallet.

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Vauxhall CorsaVan

All Corsavan engines are Euro6-compliant, and under the current 6.1 regulation the diesels, which all come with stop/start, do not require AdBlue to meet the requirement.

In 2018, however, when the 6.2 version takes over, the engines will require the exhaust additive.

ESP brings with it standard safety features such as cornering brake control, active rollover protection and hill-start assist. All models also get six airbags, electric windows and door mirrors, an audio system with aux-in, DAB and Bluetooth, a tyre pressure monitoring system and speed-sensitive power steering.

The Corsavan offers a maximum payload of 571kg. Its load area is accessed via a rear hatch tailgate and contains four tie-down points and a wipe-clean rubber floor.

We drove the generously specified Sportive 1.3 CDTi 95hp S/S. It features a stylish interior, with reasonable storage provisions and an impressive amount of legroom. On the road, the Sportive is lively and nimble and likely to appeal to customers looking for an engaging drive as well as a little load-lugger.

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