L et's make no bones about it, we like the new
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Vauxhal Movano. We like its looks preferred to the Renault equivalent by this judge we like its specification and we like the way the vehicle drives. Indeed, there's no buts, at least not on first impressions anyway and everything we've seen so far about this vehicle addresses our concerns with the old model and puts the new machine toward the top of the league when it conies to the competition.
The new product, part of the continued collaboration between Renault and Vauxhall on light commercial vehicles, is the culmination of a four-year development plan and gives both companies an offering in the van sector up to 4.5 tonnes GVW. For the first time a rear-wheel-drive version is on offer at 3.5t with decent payload and a significant rethink of the interior ensures the van has plenty of versatility for a variety of uses. Maintenance costs are reduced by 40% through an improvement in service intervals, as well as a number of durability measures, including the shift from a timing belt to a chain in the 2.3-litre engine and a 20% improvement in brake durability.
Movano, new or old, has always had a decent door aperture which makes climbing aboard easy and once inside the improvements become readily apparent. Old Movano had a very utiiiatarian appearance and while the designers haven't gone overboard with the new machine it is a working vehicle after all there is a distinct quality improvement with the fit and finish and use of materials. The steering wheel is a handy size, making maoet wrability easy and allowing you to take full advantage of the 12-meter kerb to kerb turning circle. The handling is very nimble and even when hustled through the bends the van remains stable with minimal body roll.
Under the bonnet Movano is powered by a 23-litre common-rail turbodiesel engine offering a choice of 100, 125 or 146hp with torque ratings of 285,310 and 350Nm respectively. Our first driving impressions have been in the 125hp offering and for 3.5t operations that combination of power and torque is more than sufficient to get the job done. Power is delivered to the wheels through a six-speed transmission. Noise levels were very low in-cab and even when testing the bottom end torque of the four-cylinder engine there was a welcome absence of any driveline or body vibration. The engine pulls well from low revs and gives sprightly acceleration through the driving range.
In-cab, there's storage aplenty, with a number of nice touches. For instance, the fold out clipboard from the dashboard will be welcome by multi-drop drivers who need somewhere handy to keep their notes, while the laptop housing in the centre seat will suit service engineers. Deep door pockets and umpteen other cubbyholes and bins ensure there's space to put all your kit Space At the business end, Movano is available with a maximum 17cu-m loading space in high-roof, long wheelbase format The space between the wheelarches ensures the ubiquitous europallet can be accommodated, while sliding doors both sides are available to suit all access requirements. Load lashing points are built into the floor and the sides of the van are predrilled for racking or other accessorising needs.
The Movano, along with its sister the Master, is the star of the CV Operator Show this year go and join the crowds taking a look. You won't be disappointed. •