The 2019 International Van of the Year (IVOTY) award will be hotly contested by five vans, although there’s actually seven different models up for the award in one of the most competitive judging years since manufacturers updated their ranges for Euro6.
Models from Mercedes, Renault and two vans from Ford go up against the latest joint-effort from Peugeot-Citroen, with a little help from Vauxhall/Opel.
The Mercedes-Benz Sprinter has only won the title once before, but a new front-wheel-drive option, along with a redesigned interior and greater connectivity from Mercedes Pro means the Sprinter will likely score very highly.
Renault has helped redraw the electric vehicle playing field in recent years – can the Master Z.E. help cement it as the number one player in electric vans? It’s a significant vehicle not least because its 33kWh battery pack provides a claimed range of 124 miles (200km), but although the Kangoo Z.E. won in 2012 we can’t see the big van coming in on top.
Ford has two vans eligible this year: the new Connect and Courier. Both have powertrain revisions, updated technology and redesigned front ends. Competition is strong and incremental updates tend not to land vans the top spot, but Ford products are well regarded and they’re still in with a shot.
The front runner has to be the new Berlingo/Partner/Combo from Citroen/Peugeot/Vauxhall. An all-new chassis with passenger car levels of sophistication, the trio are genuine contenders for the top spot, and What Van?’s tip for the title.
The panel of 25 IVOTY jury members each allocate 12 votes to the vans – with a maximum of seven to any one vehicle. The winning margin could be extremely tight this year and the number of points Renault and Ford pick up will be important, as these will take crucial votes away from the Mercedes and Citroen-Peugeot-Vauxhall contenders.