Additional payload, as well as a vast 17m 3 capacity opens
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Vauxhall’s new Movano up to an even greater audience Words: George Barrow / Images: Tom Lee Cumbersome” and “behemoth” were just two of the words used to describe the long-wheelbase Renault Master in a recent CM road test, and as a sibling of the French giant – and at nearly 7m in length – this new Euro-5 L4H2 Movano is no different. However, the Movano’s vast size brings enormous beneits for those that bulk-out rather than weigh-out.
This is the extra long-wheelbase or L4 model, with a standard (H2) roof; but customers can also choose between short-, mediumand long-wheelbases with low or high roofs. L3/L4 and H2/H3 versions can also be speciied for the irst time with rear-wheel-drive (tested here), while smaller models get front-wheel-drive only.
Like the FWD model we
tested in August (CM 5 August 2010) the Movano comes with a brand new 2.3-litre CDTi engine, replacing the old 2.5-litre unit used in the previous generation. Whereas the FWD model we tested was equipped with the base 99hp unit, this particular vehicle gets the most powerful engine available, producing 144hp and 350Nm of torque, while a third variant bridges the gap in the range by delivering 124hp.
At 3.5 tonnes the Movano is also available with a twin RWD axle that on vehicles plated to 4.5-tonnes GVW increases towing capacity to 3 tonnes.
Changes to the chassis have led to an increase in payload compared with the previous generation RWD Renault, which means the Movano is now capable of taking 1,176kg. Although in a vehicle of this size payload is perhaps not of paramount importance – as buyers are likely to concentrate on volume – by raising the threshold to well over one tonne it opens the RWD Movano up to a greater audience. With a maximum volume of 17m3 this model dwarfs many competitors, while the repackaged chassis has helped reduce the load height to 717mm. Despite the useful addition of rear steps to improve access, their size means the load loor is further away from you, which makes placing goods gently on the loor more of a strain to the loader. Where appropriate, loading
access is best served through the side door.
The obvious benchmark for fuel economy was set by the LWB Renault Master LML 35TW dCi 150 which after being broken-in during several months on our test leet achieved fuel consumption igures of 27.3mpg on the laden run, and 30.1mpg when running empty.
Although Euro-5 engines should achieve a fuel saving, the Movano failed to hit the same mark, notching up 24.3mpg and 26.7mpg for laden and unladen runs respectively. However, our test vehicle was brand new, and perhaps ill-prepared for the demanding hills, twists and motorway miles of the famed Kent route. Trafic also hampered the unladen test, and in ordinary circumstances with more miles on the clock we would expect the Movano to achieve consumption igures on par with the Master van.
On the road
Behind the wheel the Movano masks its size remarkably well, feeling smaller than it is when going forward. The steering feels balanced and is light enough to manoeuvre the Movano’s giant frame into gaps with assured accuracy, and the transmission is slick between the gates, albeit with a rugged feel. The chassis and suspension also soak up road bumps with ease, returning a reined ride free from the usual bounce and wobble you would expect from a vehicle of this wheelbase. The Movano also feels more suited to running heavily loaded.
Of course, going forward is the easy part, and although the sizeable mirrors provide great all-round visibility, guiding the Movano backwards requires excellent depth of vision and a sound understanding of the turning restrictions of such an elongated vehicle. Fortunately, our test vehicle was itted with reverse parking sensors (£265), making the voyage backwards easier.
A total of 21 separate storage areas – dominated by the two-tier storage on the centre console – provide ample room for an assortment of knick-knacks.
As much of the storage is open, secure storage is a problem in the cabin, and although the glovebox is very deep it is not lockable, a negative despite the two large overhead storage bins that can keep valuables out of sight.
As for spending your working day in the driving seat, settling into the Movano is relatively easy with a near perfect seating position providing excellent visibility, support and comfort. The gearstick is positioned a few inches too far away for our tester’s liking, and the steering wheel only adjusts for height, not reach, but that aside, we found covering several hundred miles per day in the Movano enjoyable and unchallenging. ■