Super vans: options for your next workhorse
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Vans remain an essential asset for many businesses and tradies, making up 4 per cent of all vehicles sold in New Zealand in 2018.
They may look like a boring white box on wheels, but with the help of technological improvements and advancements in driveability and design, new generation vans have evolved into desirable, safe, and practical vehicles.
Here are three popular vans worth considering if you’re in the market for a replacement:
1. Toyota Hiace
It’s been a long time since the Hiace first hit our roads and this is the sixth generation since the launch in 1967. An impressive 39 per cent of vans sold last year were Hiaces, making it by far the most popular new van in 2018.
The latest generation has made some big changes. Almost immediately you’ll notice the new, longer nose that has several advantages over its predecessor — the frontal impact and crumple zone is larger, making it safer. It’s more comfortable now, thanks to the driving position no longer being above the engine.
The Toyota Safety Sense package is standard across the new Hiace range and includes auto emergency braking, lane departure alert, yaw assist and vehicle sway warning.
These features, along with rear cross traffic alert and road sign assist, have helped to bring this popular van in line with the safest cars on our roads today — recognised by Ancap with a five-star safety rating. The Hiace uses the same 2.8-litre turbo diesel as the extremely popular Toyota Hilux, with 130kW at 3400rpm and between 420Nm 450Nm depending on the model you choose — which is more power and considerably more torque than found on the fifth-generation Hiace. Fuel consumption is between 7.5 and 8.4L/100km. The largest variant features a huge 9.3cu m of space and a 1170kg payload.
Price: From $44,990 (TDP)
2. Ford Transit Custom SWB 300
This is a popular model — great for hauling goods from A to B and surprisingly enjoyable to drive. It features a five-star Ancap rating and includes Ford’s SYNC 3 technology that allows for an “effortless hands-free experience”. Ford states that to test durability, all its commercial vehicles are run at their maximum speed for an impressive two months. They also opened and closed the doors and bonnet more than 250,000 times to ensure their reliability. The Transit SWB 300 is powered by an efficient 2L TDCi engine, which produces 125kW at 3500rpm and 405 Nm of torque. It has a fuel efficiency of just 7.2L/100km, and a payload of 808kg.
Prices start from $54,990 + ORC
3. Volkswagen Transporter
Volkswagen has a large range of vans, however the Transporter series is arguably the most versatile — it’s not quite as small as a Volkswagen Caddy and not as big as the Crafter. The latest Transporters have a new and improved cabin, which features higher-quality finishing and European refinement, along with a raft of practical storage options.
The Transporter has a good level of safety kit too, including Electronic Stability Protection (ESP), and Automatic Post-Collision Braking. According to Volkswagen, around 25 per cent of all accidents involving personal injuries are collisions occurring after the initial accident. These follow-on collisions can be prevented, or their consequences can at least be mitigated, by the Multi-Collision Brake system.
With a payload of up to 1131kg, the largest variant of the Transporter can carry a lot. You also have two popular power options to choose from, which currently develop 75kW or 103kW at 3500rpm. Both use a 2L turbocharged engine that consumes between 7.2 and 7.9L/100km depending on the model you choose.
Prices: Start from $45,000 + ORC
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