The Vauxhall Movano has long been a fleet favourite at the heavy end of the market and now with a new model on offer there are even more reasons to choose it.
The new van – a twin of the Renault Master – is now available with either front or rear-wheel drive for the first time and gross vehicle weights rise to a maximum of 4.5 tonnes.
Our test vehicle is the 3.5-tonne front wheel drive long wheelbase model, which weighs in at £25,401 ex-VAT.
The van’s looks have been sharpened up and the Movano features a large, shiny Vauxhall badge at the front. There are large rubbing strips at the side to help prevent annoying knocks and scrapes.
It’s a big climb up into the cab, which gives a commanding view of the road, and although the Movano retains that big truck feel, the steering wheel is smaller than in the old model.
There are lots of handy extras in the cab such as a mobile phone socket on top of the dash and a pull-out desk.
In the back there is a generous 13 cubic metres of loadspace and an unprecedented 10 load-lashing eyes in the floor.
On the downside although our van was fitted with full ply-lining, there were a few annoying squeaks and rattles emanating from the rear end under way.
The 2.3-litre engine offers 125bhp and proves smoother and quieter than the one in the old Movano, with a standard six-speed gearchange.
Fuel economy is reckoned to be 34.9 mpg, but this figure could drop dramatically with a heavy right footed driver and a full load onboard.
My big complaint – and one which I have criticised Renault for too – is that ESC stability control is only standard on rear-wheel drive models, which means my test vehicle didn’t get it.
Bearing in mind the rival Ford Transit, Mercedes-Benz Sprinter, Volkswagen Crafter and Iveco Daily have ESC as standard, it seems a surprising omission to me.
This omission meant the Movano just missed out on a “gong” at the recent Fleet Van awards.
The Movano has always been among my heavy panel van favourites and – ESC omission apart – this new upgraded model doesn’t disappoint.
A worthy successor indeed to the old van.