Fleet News

A host of new models for 2006

THIS year is a big one for van launches, as manufacturers struggle to increase their market shares in an increasingly competitive market.

Big news of the year is the imminent arrival of a new Ford Transit. Ford is notoriously coy about releasing details of future models, so we don’t have any pictures of the new van yet, but it promises a new shape and fresh driving dynamics.

It will finally break cover at the CV Show on April 25-27. Also look out for the new Ranger tipper truck this month – and there may just be a brand new Ranger pick-up by the end of the year.

The two other big launches of the year are the new Mercedes-Benz Sprinter (on sale March/April) and the Volkswagen Crafter (on sale in September), which replaces the outgoing LT.

Bubbling up at the end of the year is the launch of a new set of triplets from the Sevel factory in Italy, the Citroen Relay, Peugeot Boxer and Fiat Ducato. There are no details of those new vehicles yet.

Meanwhile, the new Mitsubishi L200 arrives on British shores in March. Among new derivatives this year is the Isuzu Rodeo Denver Max, a macho muscle truck featuring £6,000 worth of extras for just £2,000 more on its list price.

THIS is the new Mercedes-Benz Sprinter van. The design is strikingly different from the old model both inside and out. There will be three wheelbases, four body lengths ranging from 5,243 mm to 7,343 mm, three roof heights and a plethora of body options.

The new range includes variants between 3.0 and 5.0 tonnes gross vehicle weight, with load capacity of between seven and 17 cubic metres. Diesel engines will range from 88 bhp to 184 bhp and a V6 petrol will have a blistering 258 bhp, although this model is unlikely come to the UK.

Thorax airbags will be available in addition to the driver’s and front passenger airbags and window bags fitted to its predecessor. Another highlight is the standard addition on all models of adaptive ESP – the latest generation of the Electronic Stability Program.

Also included as standard are 16-inch wheels with disc brakes all round, ABS brakes, electronic brake force distribution and hydraulic Brake Assist (BAS).

THIS is the rather curiously-shaped new Volkswagen Crafter, which will replace the LT in the UK this summer. Four versions will be available, all powered by a five-cylinder TDI turbodiesel in 87bhp, 106bhp, 133bhp and 161bhp guises, all using a six-speed manual gearbox. There will also be a choice of three wheelbases, four load compartment lengths and three roof heights, offering up to 17 cubic metres of carry capacity and a maximum payload of 2,670kg.

THE new Isuzu Rodeo Max LE is priced at £19,990 on the road ex-VAT and comes with a Prodrive performance pack boosting power from 131bhp to 155bhp, 18in alloy wheels with Pirelli Scorpion Zero tyres, two-tone leather seats and door inserts, a mesh grille, load liner and a XTC hard top.

Also standard is a bluetooth kit, sat-nav with touchscreen, chrome side steps and rear bumper and light guards and brushed steel door entry guards. Only 100 models are being made.

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