Renault Kangoo Z.E.
The first mass production full electric van, the Kangoo Z.E. benefits from the government’s 20% grant towards the purchase of plug-in light commercial vehicles. Sharing most components with the standard Kangoo, the Z.E. (zero emissions) offers the same 650kg payload. There are a range of options for funding the van and its expensive battery pack, which is hired from Renault. The 100 mile range and 12 hour charging time may limit its application however.
Last year’s winner, the latest Stage V Transit offers excellent fuel consumption and is well equipped with safety features as standard. While the ubiquitous Transit – which has been around for almost 50 years – benefits from Ford’s extensive dealer network, the panel had reservations about the service offered to big fleet users.
A frequent previous winner of the category, the Sprinter ticked most boxes for the selection panel – long service intervals, good fuel economy, excellent dealer network, wide range of weights and Euro-5 engines and unrivalled reliability. Drivers love them, and residual values remain strong (provided they are well looked after). The only criticism was that catalytic converter thieves seem to target Sprinters!
While the Daily has been around since 1978, the new Daily is much improved, and when fitted with the Agile auto box is a reliable workhorse. With GVW up to 7t, a good range of Euro-5 and EEV engines, a comprehensive warranty and truck-type dealer support, the Daily is starting to find favour with fleet operators. Drivers also like the car-like controls and good handling, no doubt helped by the ladder frame chassis.
The VW Crafter made the shortlist despite being criticised by several operators for mechanical gremlins including broken cranks. To compound the problem, dealers were also said to have a ‘car mentality’ and did not understand the needs of fleet operators. Nevertheless, the Crafter was liked for its fuel economy, payload and driver acceptance.