TODAY is the final day of the Commercial Vehicle Show at Birmingham NEC.
It’s the only place to see all the trucks and vans that will be delivering our stuff and transporting our builders, bakers and candlestick makers in the years to come. Come and have a look if you’re nearby – it’s FREE to get in. Otherwise, here’s my top picks from the show.
TOYOTA PROACE CITY
Toyota makes vans? Yes, it does, but it tends to borrow them from Peugeot and Citroen.
The Proace City is no exception.
It’s a world premiere of this little city van which is closely related to the Partner, Berlingo and Vauxhall Combo.
That’s great news for Toyota because it means it will be ace at transporting stuff, fun to drive and is packed with clever kit such as a surround-view camera.
For me, LDV used to mean broken down minibuses in the Nineties, but since 2015 the now Chinese-built vans have been back in the UK and I’ve yet to see one stranded on the hard shoulder.
The all-electric EV30 will have a 100+ mile range, 6.3 cubic metre capacity and can support fast charging. With a bit of luck that’ll mean no more abandoned school football matches or late deliveries.
Motor shows are great for showing off new metal, so it makes total sense that the brand new L200 pick-up would be here. But it isn’t.
Instead you can see the Shogun Sport SVP concept. Massive roof lights, rally-style spot lamps, orange alloys.
There’s also entirely normal versions of the Shogun Sport and the 2019 Outlander PHEV converted for use as CVs.
CITROEN H VAN
If I reached 100 I wouldn’t be celebrating it at a motor show, but Citroen is.
More impressive than notching up a century of designing quirky motors like the 2CV and or C4 Cactus, is that they actually found a mint-condition H van that hasn’t been converted into a mobile coffee shop.
While Citroen awaits its telegram from the Queen, Peugeot kept it strictly about business showing off changes to its vans that include a more emissions-friendly engine for the Peugeot Expert, as well as a preview of an all-electric version of the Boxer large van.
Put down the scissors, Citroen, your Relay van will also get an EV driveline too.
VW RIOT VAN
This police riot truck – based on the Crafter – has an “unbreakable” plastic windscreen, seating for seven bobbies and a storage cupboard for their riot shields.
There’s even a half-width prison cell at the back which is where I found myself after trying to test out that unbreakable claim. Don’t say I don’t go the extra mile.
The daddy of all vans has had a pretty major going over.
More power? Check. Cleaner engines? Oh yes. An all-new interior with clever connectivity for remote unlocking and starting? Do you even have to ask?
The new Transit has the lot and has even sprouted a few more gears with a new ten-speed automatic gearbox option.
Plus greater use of aluminium and composite materials instead of steel also means payloads have increased.
New electric power steering allows for clever safety systems such as lane-keeping assist to be added and it also helps save you a few quid on fuel – as much as seven per cent. Not too shabby.
Thinking about ditching diesel? Ford’s got a range of mild-hybrids (OK, they are diesel) and plug-in hybrids (petrol) and don’t forget the big Trannie is going all-electric by 2021.
New Transits will be on the road later this year.
MOST READ IN MOTORS
LUTON ADDS VAN POWER
AT last. Here’s some genuinely good news about British manufacturing.
Vauxhall has confirmed van production at Luton will increase from 63,000 to a record 100,000 a year. Which can only mean an extra shift and around 200 new jobs, taking the workforce to around 1,450.
Luton Town will be playing Championship football next season too, after Pompey and Sunderland messed it up on Tuesday – so the area is on a roll. Well done The Hatters!
Vauxhall owner PSA has invested £100million upgrading the production platform at Luton to make the all-new Vivaro, as well as right-hand drive versions of its French cousins the Peugeot Expert and Citroen Dispatch. The mid-sized Vivaro – which made its public debut at this week’s CV Show in Birmingham – will have three trim levels, Edition, Sportive and Elite as well as options for all the clever stuff like Head-up Display and adaptive cruise control.
You can choose from a 1.5-litre or 2-litre diesel motor with outputs from 100hp to 180hp.
You’ll want to carry stuff too, right? I thought so. Well, there’s more good news then as the payload has increased by nearly 200kg.
That means up to 1,400kg in the back as well as up to 6.6 cubic metres of space in long-wheel-base vans or 5.8 cubic metres in short versions.
Prices from £22,918 – which is a little less than either of the French versions and will help keep Vivaro as one of Britain’s best-selling vans. Nice one, Vauxhall.
I’m also pleased to confirm the Vivaro will still be made with a good amount of UK parts and its Britishness will feature heavily in advertising.
One thing needs sorting, though. The Made In Britain badge at the rear.
When I asked where they were made, the reply was… Turkey.
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