French manufacturers Citroën, Peugeot and Renault are gearing up for a battle royal in the small van sector as a raft of new models go on sale this summer.
Citroën and Peugeot are about to launch new versions of the Berlingo and Partner (the same van with different badges), and in September the new Renault Kangoo goes on sale in the UK, offering both standard and Compact versions for the first time.
To complicate matters, the old Berlingo and Partner will continue to be sold in basic formats, called the Berlingo First and Partner Origin.
And as if this wasn’t enough, Citroën and Peugeot have also launched a small van called Nemo and Bipper respectively, which tucks in under the Berlingo and Partner in terms of gross vehicle weight and payload.
You soon will be.
The new Berlingo/Partner is based on the C4 Picasso/308 chassis and therefore is much bigger all round than the old model.
For the first time in a small van, three seats will be offered in the front and there will be two load lengths on one wheelbase, increasing load volumes from 3.0 cubic metres in the old model to 3.3cu m in the smallest new model.
With the longer load length and a fold-down passenger seat specified, load volume increases to 4.2cu m.
The old Citroën Dispatch/Peugeot Expert had a load volume of just 4.0cu m, so that’s an impressive figure.
Payloads go from 625kg to 850kg.
There will be a choice of petrol and diesel engines.
The 1.6 HDi diesel offers 75bhp or 90bhp, while returning 48.7mpg on the combined cycle and emitting 153g/km of CO2.
The 1.6-litre petrol offers 90bhp, 34.4mpg and 195g/km of CO2.
Unique to the sector will be a fleet management service through which the van can be equipped with a built-in telematics device to transmit to a server mileage, inspection dates, average fuel consumption and other useful data.
Warnings about engine temperature, oil levels, brakepad wear and other critical functions are reported to the fleet manager.
Prices for the Berlingo range from £10,399 to £12,035 ex-VAT while the Partner will cost from £10,395 to £12,395.
New Kangoo is based on the Scenic platform and offers a fresh design inside and out, more loadspace and better driveability.
In the rear, there is 3.0cu m of cargo space available, up from 2.75cu m in the old model, and this rises to 3.5cu m when a special fold-down passenger seat is specified.
The width between the wheelarches is 1.21 metres, which means a Europallet can be carried.
Renault has pulled off a neat trick with the Kangoo Compact as width and height stay the same as with the longer model.
Load volume reduces to 2.5 cu m but a Europallet can still be carried.
Under the bonnet, Kangoo has either a 1.5 dCi diesel offering 70bhp, 85bhp or 105bhp or a
1.6-litre petrol with 90 or 105bhp.