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2019 Best Commercial Van Comparison Test | carsales

2019 Best Commercial Van Comparison Test | carsales

Mid-sized vans are the unsung heroes
of the Australian ecology, getting the job done without fuss or fanfare, keeping the
wheels of business turning. But for those who drive them day in, day out,
choosing the right van to suit your specific needs is far from easy which is why we brought
our top six contenders together for the carsales Best Commercial Van Awards. Our line up included Ford’s Transit custom
with its well equipped and well protected load bay. Peugeot’s Expert, a recent newcomer to Australia’s
mid-sized van scene and the only van on test here with rear barn doors; Volkswagen’s Transporter
which offers the highest braked towing limit at two and half tonnes. Toyota’s new sixth generation HiAce, an
all-new platform that sees the old cab-over engine format make way for a semi bonneted
design. Hyundai’s iLoad with its potent turbo-diesel
and rear wheel drive and Renault’s Traffic, the only vehicle on test to feature a manual
transmission. To assess our half dozen contenders, we put
each through five testing stations with our panel of experienced judges scoring the vans
across a range of criteria. So this is our weight testing station. Obviously this van is built to do a job, really
important that we get an idea of what they are like with weight in the back, so we have
loaded each one up with 650kg and the other thing that we are learning through loading
them up with weight is how easy they are to load, how accessible the load bays are. So Peugeot Expert the only van we’ve got
on test here today that’s fitted with barn doors makes loading a lot easier if you are
using a forklift and a pallet. Certainly the best equipped load bay of any
of the vehicles on test today has got to be the Ford Transit Custom. Got a nice sturdy floor liner, grab handles
at the side apertures, the tie-down points are mounted towards the base of the walls,
not in the floor. So it basically gives you a bit more flexibility
when you’re securing a load. While the Peugeot has the highest payload
limit and the Volkswagen the highest braked towing limit, our judges deemed Ford’s Transit
Custom to offer the best all round mix of load lugging ability, functionality and practicality. The Ford simply has the best equipped load
bay of the bunch with excellent protection and access kept off by roomy dimensions and
competitive payload and towing limits. The Toyota’s spartan but wide load bay with
suit custom fit outs and the Peugeot and Renault impress for their space and ease of use. When you think about the amount of
hours’ people actually spend behind the wheel of a delivery van, it’s like an office
on wheels. It makes perfect sense that we focus on comfort,
ergonomics and safety. So it probably seems like a really basic thing
but grab handles are really convenient for vehicles of this height and yet only two of
them on test have them. Rear view visibility is proving to be quite
a differentiator here so for the Volkswagen to not have a rear view camera, the only one
on test that is, it’s doing it no favours. So the Hyundai iLoad had provision for three
occupants but the centre one only gets a lap belt and no headrest. But on the assumption that you are probably
only going to have two occupants for most of the time, this is actually pretty useful. Toyota’s HiAce triumphed in this field. Its new design ultimately delivering a substantial
improvement over its predecessor and its assembled rivals. The HIACE also served well for its long list
of cutting edge safety features which, like in the Peugeot, are standard inclusions. The Hyundai, however, is starting to show
its age. It still offers a decent level of comfort
and has all the safety essentials but misses out on many of the latest generation features. At this station I am looking at cabin
technology and connectivity and these are really important features given the amount
of time that drivers spend behind the wheel of these vehicles. The HiAce is the newest vehicle on test and
it’s got a lot of the driver assistance technologies and infotainment technologies
that drivers are looking for. However, I am a bit surprised by the lack
of storage options that I’ve got in the HiAce compared to some of the other vehicles
that we’re testing. For instance, I’ve got my phone plugged
in here but there is nowhere obvious for me to put when I am ready to hit the road. In the Expert there is loads of great storage
opportunities. There’s a spot here where we can pop an
A4 folder or similar. There is a spot, very sensibly, where I can
put my phone when it’s plugged in and there’s other clever storage ideas too. I mean here we have a great little spot where
we can pop an iPad or something similar and keep that stowed. And then even under the seats here, more room
here for bits and pieces. There is just lots of useable space and I
think it makes a lot of sense for a commercial van. Ford’s Transit Custom rose to the fore in this
category where it shined for its intuitive and informative implementation. It’s Sync3 multimedia system and its
wealth of features, all aimed at making life behind the wheel both easier and more efficient. Peugeot’s Expert also performed strongly,
with a high level of standard technology and healthy cab storage, including dedicated room
for a table or small laptop. The Volkswagen Transporter however, didn’t
fare as well, thanks in part to its tiny infotainment screen and lack of standard inclusions like
a reversing camera versus its purchase price. My part in this massive puzzle is the
driving experience. I get to drive each of the vehicles around
a set loop and I am looking at things like, obviously engine performance but also the
gearbox, how that performs. I am looking at steering weight and feel,
I am looking at ride quality. The
Renault stands out in this company, Rod, it’s the only vehicle here with a manual transmission. It is, but it’s a particularly nice
one. Not sure how you’d feel about it after
a full day at the wheel in traffic, but as far as I can tell, if you are going to have
a manual you might as well have this one. I liked the refinement of this vehicle as
well Rod. I find it very easy to drive. I think they have set the suspension up very
deliberately for ride comfort in the front end, so it is quite plush. But I am not sure that that’s going to be
the right setting in all conditions? [Well, and that plushness was amplified
a little bit, wasn’t it, when we had 650kg in the back. Look, it did handle the weight pretty
well but when we were coming through those bends and hitting the odd mid corner bump,
that’s when you get that little bit of unsettled feel around the front end. It really gets off the mark really well. The throttle response is… I would say it’s the most responsive vehicle
on test. I think this just reaffirms my initial impression
around performance – it’s really peppy. On the road it was Renault’s Traffic
that truly delivered, impressing for its smooth shifting six speed manual, broad spread of
useable urge impeccable road manners and a degree of poise the other struggled to match. Close behind was Ford’s Transit Custom which
felt almost sporty despite having the lowest output of the bunch and Toyota’s HiAce which
delivered a refined and responsive drive. At the other end of the field, Hyundai’s
iLoad still does a dependable job but couldn’t quite match the others for feedback, steering
feel and overall refinement. Finally, we put each vehicle under the microscope
to assess its pricing, service terms and ongoing running costs while using our own wealth of
red book data to compare average resale values. Once again it was Ford’s Transit Custom
out in front. It’s mix of purchase price, running costs,
warranty and service provisions putting it at the head of the pack. After weighing up all our judging criteria
there can only be one truck sales best commercial’s van and that is the Ford Transit Custom. The Transit Custom simply represents the most
compelling mid-size van package available today. Ford has carefully considered each and every
aspect of van ownership and come up with a highly functional vehicle that places the
driver at the very centre of its design philosophy, it’s a tough act to follow and a very worthy
winner of our best commercial van awards.

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3 thoughts on “2019 Best Commercial Van Comparison Test | carsales

  1. How can any of these be worth $40k+? Just a steel box on wheels with a lot of the development costs having been done years ago, also many of the components being used across each manufacturer's range.
    Realistically, they should be about $25K if even that .

  2. Where are the markings?
    How close was second?
    Was there a hidden criteria?
    Where was the SAIC van? It is selling like hotcakes

  3. How did you get a resale value from two new models, HiAce and the Peugeot? How did you compare performance without mentioning different powertrain options in the HiAce and the VW? Why did you not mention cargo space at all in the HiAce? This was not a review, it was a Ford advertisement.

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