Fleet News

Van buyers guide: heavy panel vans

Citroen Relay

2008 Citroen Relay

The van originates from the same factory line as the Peugeot Boxer and Fiat Ducato in a joint venture between the three firms.

All are basically the same (but with different grilles and badges) although Citroën offers a free Trafficmaster sat-nav unit and stolen vehicle tracking device which may or may not help to explain why it sells most vehicles of the three manufacturers.

Power comes either from a 2.2-litre turbosdiesel offering 100bhp or 120bhp and there’s a mighty 3.0-litre with 160bhp.

Gross vehicle weights range from 3.0 tonnes to 4.0 tonnes and load volumes go from eight cubic metres to 17cu m.

Payloads range from 1,100kg to 2,000kg.

While ABS brakes come as standard, ESP traction control is an option, unlike some of the rivals.

Fact file

Payload (kg): 1,115-1,995
Load vol (cu m): 8.0-17.0
Bhp: 100-160
Torque (lb ft): 184-295
Prices (ex-VAT): £15,450-£25,150

Fiat Ducato

2008 Fiat Ducato

THE Ducato is basically the same van as the one above, the Citroën Relay, although obviously supporting different nomenclature.

Both vans are superb lookers and hard workers too, with stylish cabs and driver’s seats that are arguably best in class.

Fiat doesn’t offer the free sat-nav and tracking system of the Relay but it does get an extra engine.

The Italian manufacturer offers the 2.2-litre and 3.0-litre units mentioned above but also offers its own 2.3-litre powerplant which curiously enough you’ll also find in the Iveco Daily.

This unit has 120bhp on tap.

As with the Relay, ABS brakes are standard but you sadly have to pay extra for ESP traction control.

Heavyweight versions up to 4.0 tonnes gvw are available for the first time with the newest model and loads of anything up to 17 cubic metres can be swallowed.

Fact file

GVW (kg): 3,000-4,005
Payload (kg): 1,115-1,995
Load vol (cu m): 8.0-17.0
Bhp: 100-160
Torque (lb ft): 184-295
Prices (ex-VAT): £15,415-£25,275

Ford Transit

2008 Ford Transit

THE mighty Ford Transit needs little introduction as it’s been the biggest selling panel van by a mile since its launch in 1965.

Now in its sixth incarnation, it has very much kept up with the latest technology and offers all the goodies such as ABS brakes and ESP traction control as standard – which most of the others don’t.

Transit starts at 2.6 tonnes gross vehicle weight (reviewed last time) and now goes up to 4.6 tonnes.

It’s the only van to be offered in both front and rear wheel drive and there are so many different models available that it’s almost like pick ’n’ mix at Woolies’ sweet counter.

Ford also offers a petrol version, which means the Transit can be converted for LPG usage if required.

Three wheelbases, three roof heights and four body lengths give Transit load volumes of between 6.1 cubic metres and 14.3 cu m.

Fact file

GVW (kg): 2,600-4,600
Payload (kg): 864-2,265
Load vol (cu m): 6.1-14.3
Bhp: 88-200
Torque (lb ft): 154-340
Prices (ex-VAT): £14,325-£28,500

Iveco Daily

2008 Iveco Daily

THIS van is very much the big daddy of the sector, basically being a large truck scaled down rather than a small van scaled up.

With a proper ladder frame chassis underneath it’s very much built for heavy duty use, so the local florist and baker probably won’t be interested.

The latest version added a smart new exterior and a lot more finesse in the cab.

Engine choices are 2.3-litres offering 96bhp, 116bhp and 136bhp while a 3.0-litre unit pumps out 146bhp or a stonking 176bhp.

ABS brakes are standard but again sadly you pay extra for traction control.

Gross vehicle weights go from 3.2 tonnes to 6.5 tonnes and load volumes vary from 7.3 cubic metres to 17.2cu m, while payloads range from 1,060kg to 3,640kg.

LDV Maxus

2008 LDV Maxus

WITH new Russian owner Gaz in charge, LDV is going through something of a renaissance at present, with fresh cash pumped into the firm and a host of new Maxus models on the way.

It must be said that Maxus is not quite on a par with the leaders of the sector in terms of technology and build quality, but on the plus side, front end prices are cheaper and repair costs are lower, so as long as you don’t want the latest gizmos, the Maxus has a very attractive fleet tale to tell – look at our monthly rate (right) and you’ll see what we mean.

A 2.5-litre diesel unit offers 95bhp, 120bhp or 135bhp and load volumes go from 7.0 cubic metres to 11.4 cu m.

Fact file

GVW (kg): 2,800-3,500
Payload (kg): 917-1,590
Load vol (cu m): 7.0-11.4
Bhp: 95-135
Torque (lb ft): 184-243
Prices (ex-VAT): £12,995-£19,495

Mercedes-Benz Sprinter

2008 Mercedes-Benz Sprinter

AS the Mercedes-Benz Sprinter is current holder of the Heavy Panel Van of the Year title in the Fleet News awards, we can assume it’s the best of the bunch – but be warned, it isn’t cheap.

For those on a budget it may be best to look elsewhere but fleets which want the best won’t find a lot better than this.

For the money you get ABS brakes, ESP traction control and a host of other goodies as standard – and there are three wheelbases, four load lengths and three roof heights to choose from.

Power comes either from a 2.2-litre powerplant offering 88bhp, 109bhp, 129bhp or 150bhp while a 3.0-litre unit offers a blistering 184bhp.

Gross vehicle weights go from 3,000kg right up to 5,000kg and load volumes go from 7.5 cubic metres to 17 cubic metres.

Fact file:

GVW (kg): 3,000-5,000
Payload (kg): 930-2,710
Load vol (cu m): 7.5-17.0
Bhp: 88-184
Torque (lb ft): 162-295
Prices (ex-VAT): £15,785-£31,940

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  • Tonycosta - 30/01/2013 17:12

    How dose the nissan interstar compare to the pannle vans above

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