Top 10 highlights from the NEC Commercial Vehicle Show
Thousands of commercial vehicle drivers and operators flocked to the NEC in Birmingham to enjoy the annual Commercial Vehicle Show. The event is the UK’s largest showcase of vans, pick-ups and trucks, with more than 400 exhibits.
This year saw a bumper crop of new vans, with Citroen, Fiat, Mercedes-Benz, Peugeot and Vauxhall all unveiling new vehicles. As always, the HonestJohn Vans team were there to cover the latest launches.
Here’s our top 10 vehicles from the show:
The new Vito was given its official UK debut, with a huge display of vans on the Mercedes-Benz stand. The Vito has already been given the thumbs up by the HonestJohn Vans team, thanks to its excellent refinement and car like cabin.
The Vito’s vehicle weight ranges from 2500kg to 3200kg depending on configuration, with the most capable model rated to carry a payload of up to 1369kg. Front, rear and all-wheel drive variants are available and there are five engine choices, all of which are diesel.
Ford celebrated 50 years of the Transit at the NEC, with a huge display of modern vans. Launched back in 1965, the trusty Ford has sold around eight million units, which means the vans would circle the globe if parked end-to-end.
At the centre of the Ford display was this special one-off model, finished in gold. Complete with coloured alloys and grille, the van attracted plenty of attention, although we’re told there are no plans to put any golden Transits in production. Pity.
Dacia Duster Commercial
Dacia caused one of the biggest surprises of the show with the UK launch of the Duster Commercial. The two-seater is capable of carrying 550kg and has a load area of 1150-litres, which means it qualifies for full VAT reclaim.
Arriving in the summer, the Duster can be ordered with two-wheel or four-wheel drive and has two trim levels - Ambiance and Laureate - with entry level models getting roof bars, chrome grille, toughened plastic floor with two anchorage points as standard. Power comes from a 1.5-litre diesel engine, with 240Nm of torque, which means this could set a new benchmark for affordable four-wheel drive vans.
The updated Peugeot Partner van made its UK debut at the NEC, with new Euro 6 engines and improved standard kit. Peugeot claims to have lowered emissions to just 108g/km of CO2 with its latest range of diesel engines, although this figure falls to zero if you opt for the Partner Electric van.
The Peugeot Partner is offered with six engine/gearbox combinations, delivering from 75 to 100PS. However, the van’s payload remains unchanged from its predecessor, with two lengths and a maximum load of 850kg.
Fiat Doblo Cargo
Another van that’s been given a mid-life update is the Fiat Doblo Cargo. As a result, the Italian van gets a new front, with sleek headlights and a new grille. Inside, the van’s cabin has been reworked, with improved refinement and better soundproofing.
The engines have been improved too, with up to 40 per cent more torque, along with a new independent bi-link rear suspension to soften the ride and sharpen road handling. Available in a huge range of body styles (including dropside, as pictured) the Fiat is available now with prices starting from £13,245.
The new Corsavan got its UK launched in Birmingham, proving that car-derived vans still have a future. Based on the Corsa hatchback, the compact but popular commercial vehicle has a payload of up to 571kg.
The petrol and diesel engines have also been updated to Euro 6, with the choice of a 1.2 petrol or a 1.3 diesel. The diesel, available with two outputs (75PS and 95PS) and will return up to 83.1mpg with the 95PS unit, while the 75PS will provide a claimed 72.4mpg.
The updated Citroen Berlingo also got its grand unveiling. Like its French sibling, the Peugeot Partner, the Berlingo gets a mild facelift, with new engines and improved standard equipment. The Citroen gets the same range of Euro 6 engines too, with economy of up to 68.9mpg.
The revised van will arrive in the UK in the summer, with prices starting at £12,515 for the entry level 95PS petrol. As before, the Berlingo is available in two panel van lengths, with up to 850kg of load space.
Renault Trafic Sport+
Proof that vans can be fun, Renault showcased its latest Sport derivative of the Trafic van. Based on the shortest and lightest version of the Trafic panel van, the SL27, and powered by the most powerful engine in the range, the 1.6-litre dCi 140, the van offers performance and practicality
The Sport+ pack adds 17-inch wheels to the standard panel van, along with chrome grille, spoiler and special decals. Inside the luxury theme continues, with leather seats and touchscreen navigation. However, the van also gets some more practical additions; namely plylining in the cargo area and an interior roof rack.
Iveco Vision concept
Iveco showcased its plans for future van design, with the Vision concept. The van could herald a new era for van design, with a dual energy system, which uses an electric motor in the urban environment before switching to a hybrid system for the open road.
Designed with delivery drivers in mind, the Vision features a smart load space, with a series of sensors that detect movement of parcels or large items in the back. Should the load move, flexible bags will be triggered to restrict movement and hold the load in place.
Renault Twizy Cargo Ambulance
Another concept that caught the imagination was Renault’s Twizy Cargo Ambulance. Designed as a first response vehicle, the Twizy could save lives by getting into areas a normal emergency vehicle would struggle.
With ambulance livery, blue lights and siren and enough space to the back for life saving equipment this vehicle could soon be in use up and down a busy coastal town’s beach front ensuring nobody has to wait to receive life-saving treatment.