Published on Friday 08 March 2019 in Van News
Every Friday Vanarama's resident van expert Tim Cattlin offers his own take on what's hit the news (or gossip tree) in the world of vans and anything else that might impact van operators and drivers across the UK.
Another year, another Transit Custom
Although it was only last year Ford freshened up the Transit Custom, they're at it again. Details have been released of some minor updates to the passenger-carrying Tourneo version, but these enhancements will also become available on the van later this year.
Major changes? There aren't any really, but drivers will notice new technology and connectivity features already introduced on other recently-revised vans in the Ford range, such as FordPass Connect – offering a WiFi hotspot for up to 10 (!) users – will be standard for those vehicles fitted with touchscreens.
Efficiency improvements have been made to the range of EcoBlue Diesel engines, (Ford suggesting a 6% improvement in fuel consumption) and a new 185PS derivative will be available. Also, a new mild hybrid (MHEV) power unit will be available. Based on the standard Diesel engine, this harnesses energy when the vehicle brakes and stores it in a 48-volt battery which is used to assist the engine and electrical ancillaries. Ford are suggesting that fuel savings of around 3% are expected.
Isuzu are taking it to D-Max
Isuzu have confirmed that the D-Max will get a makeover for 2020. Some spy shots circulating on the internet would suggest that the facelift is, to quote a well-used phrase, "evolutionary, not revolutionary". There's a suggestion that the front styling will be more aggressive than the current vehicle, but we'll just have to wait for some more official announcements.
Stop toying with us, Toyota
Last week at The CV Show media preview day at the Birmingham NEC, I spoke to Toyota who confirmed they will be launching their own take on the Citroen Berlingo / Peugeot Partner / Vauxhall Combo. The name has yet to be announced (annoyingly I've not been able to find out off the record) but potentially they could revive the 'LiteAce' name – last seen in the early nineties. Expect Toyota to attempt to differentiate the van as much as possible from the obvious competitors.
Renault's power cut
Renault are citing a serious battery shortage for lower than expected sales of the all-electric Kangoo ZE. 306 units were sold in 2018 but, as waiting times for the van are currently 6 months due to poor battery supply, the company is confident that sales are being seriously held back.
Meanwhile, the Master ZE should arrive in UK showrooms in the spring, ahead of products from the competition.
Clean air in Manchester
Manchester is the latest city to announce stringent measures to improve air quality to the detriment of any van users wanting to operate in the city centre. Plans mean that non-compliant trucks and coaches would not be able to enter the zones without paying a charge.
From 2023, this will be extended to cover vans but, the council has said that it expects that by this time most vehicles will comply with (presumably) Euro 6 emission regulations.
Dacia's micro pickup
OK, so it's unlikely to reach our shores, but I couldn't resist sharing this. Dacia has tied up with Romanian coach builder Romturingia and have come up with this pretty little pickup based on the Duster. No technical details are available and launch plans (if any) haven't been announced, but presumably it'll appeal primarily to the leisure market. Expect to see it towing a jetski in a Mediterranean resort near you.
Recently unveiled in Munich was this completely undrivable Volkswagen camper van. Why undrivable? Because it's made of 400,000 pieces of Lego.
An almost perfect replica, it's got a sliding door, working lights and a fully-furnished interior which includes hotplates, a radio, toothbrushes AND toothpaste all made from Lego bricks. You've got to admire the build quality, eh?
If you liked this article, why not check out this blog from Tim Cattlin covering everything we know about the latest BIG Ford Transit, and check back next week for the latest "Something for the weekend", or feast your eyes on all of our van review videos on YouTube?
If you're still hungry for news, why not check out the latest episode of The Vanarama Podcast right here on THIS page below - we talk about the top 10 vans, Ford Ranger Raptor and VW's e-Caddy and e-Transporter is plenty of detail.