You have to go back to the year of the Ford Transit’s debut, 1965, for the last time it wasn’t the UK’s market-leading van – and it’s marked its 50th anniversary in style by being deservedly crowned our Van of the Year.
The functional Transit is a van that offers low running costs and decent efficiency to appeal to fleet managers, while also boasting comfort and responsive handling to keep those behind the wheel happy. On that solid base, Ford has constructed a huge model range to ensure there’s a Transit for almost every business – buyers now have over 450 variants to choose from.
All new vans’ load volumes have increased by 10 per cent over the previous range, and that sees the largest Transit Jumbo offer an impressive 15.1m3 of capacity. Minimising running costs is essential in any commercial vehicle, and the Transit excels in this area.
The van was tested to destruction in the development process to ensure no amount of tough treatment at the hands of drivers would get the better of it. The long service intervals of two years or 30,000 miles also help it stay on the road longer than its rivals, while Ford’s latest Duratorq diesel engine tech means fuel and tax bills don’t get out of hand.
The efficient ECOnetic vans emit just 169g/km of CO2 and return 44mpg economy. So, even 50 years on from the launch of the original model, Ford’s Transit is pushing the boundaries of the panel van market and challenging rivals to keep pace.
Transit 2.2 125 310 L2H2 FWD ECOnetic (£28,295)
This stalwart L2H2 version of the Transit mixes the roomy, medium-wheelbase, high-roof bodystyle with Ford’s strong 2.2-litre 123bhp diesel engine and ECOnetic fuel saving tech. It’s enough for 41.5mpg economy and CO2 emissions of 177g/km.
The new Fiat Doblo Cargo has the credentials to really shake up the small van class. A wide range of bodystyles offers load volumes up to 5.0m3, while an innovative independent rear suspension design helps achieve smooth and secure progress on the road. Fuel economy of up to 64mpg is the icing on the cake.
Vauxhall’s latest Vivaro is intelligently designed and built in Britain. The mid-sized panel van is packed with clever features to maximise load space and make everyday use that much easier. Engine refinement and ride comfort also count as key strengths of a van that ticks all the important boxes for domestic operators.
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