CommercialFleet

First drive: Emerald t-001

Review

Emerald does not intend to mess about with paid-for options lists.  What you see is what you get.

My test drive took place at the Millbrook Proving Ground and very nearly ended after 10 yards or so when an Italian driver in a brand new Ferrari cut across my bows at speed and nearly took me out.

ABS, ESP and God knows what else leapt into action as my heart was leaping into my mouth and we slammed to a stop, cursed and carried on with the test.
At least I know all the emergency gear works well!

And what a sweet vehicle this is to drive. The engineers who were in charge of the Emerald’s ride and handling were mostly former McLaren and Lotus engineers and this van really did feel like a sports car on the track, with crisp handling on the corners and wonderful ‘chuckability’ – although of course that sort of capability may be viewed as a minus point by fleet managers.

With max torque coming straight from standstill, this van fairly flies and on the banked high-speed bowl we hit 80mph with no problem. The Emerald will be governed down to this speed when it goes on sale.

At the end of my drive and after my interview with the chiefs at Emerald, I really did feel proud to be British – and that’s a feeling I haven’t had for a long time.

Once again, we Brits have taken up a challenge, chewed it around and have come up with an admirable solution, designed and built here in the UK. It’s just a shame the Yanks look like getting all the glory.

Verdict

The build quality is superb, the price is reasonable and the running costs are amazingly low. If this van doesn’t set the UK sales charts alight in two years’ time, then LCV operators will be missing out on a very large trick.

CO2 emissions and fuel consumption data correct at time of writing. The latest figures are available in the Fleet News fuel cost calculator and the company car tax calculator.