The Iveco Daily, Fiat Ducato, Nissan NV200, Peugeot Partner and Vauxhall Vivaro are all in the running for Fleet Van of the Year, sponsored by Close Brothers Vehicle Hire, at the 2018 Motor Transport Awards. The winner will be announced on 4 July at the Grosvenor House Hotel in Lodnon

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Iveco Dail

Iveco Daily

Iveco continues to garner admirers in the fleet van sector thanks to two factors. While it may no longer be the only manufacturer to offer a fully automatic transmission, the replacement of the old Agile gearbox with the more robust Hi-Matic gearbox has earned it recognition and orders from many of the largest fleets. Coupled with the fact that the Daily is the only vehicle of its size to provide a GVW of up to 7 tonnes, it means that Iveco can rely on a loyal band of support for its lightest-weight product.

Praised by our panel for its dealer back-up, the operators also liked that early adopters of the Euro-6 models were able to run their vehicles without the need for AdBlue. The Daily range continues to improve and Iveco has been successful with its latest generation of vans, most notably securing the 2018 International Van of the Year title for its Blue Power Range, which includes CNG, electric and even more efficient Euro-6 models.

Fiat Ducato

Last year’s winner of the Fleet Van category is back, with the panel once again praising both the model and the dealer support. The Fiat Professional brand continues to develop, improving servicing and support with a range of capable dealers used to servicing HGVs. That means longer opening hours and a no-nonsense approach to parts and downtime.

Servicing intervals at 30,000 miles, a 120,000-mile warranty and stronger components that continue to stand the test of time, see the Ducato back on the shortlist with an even greater appreciation now said to be shown by fleet drivers for the product.

As one of the lightest chassis at 3.5 tonnes, the Ducato gets a lot of interest in the conversion sector, but our panel said that if you are willing to look beyond the badge and be prepared for a few people to call it a motorhome, the Ducato is a great product. It also achieves Euro-6 emissions without the need for AdBlue; a big positive for fleets that are particularly conscious of their bottom line.

Nissan NV200

Nissan NV200

Nissan world premiere of new longer range e-NV200 van

Nissan forged a path in the electric vehicle market with its Leaf-based eNV200 van, but the combustion engine version of the Nissan NV200 has cemented itself as a strong fleet performer. With a large payload volume for a van with this footprint, fleets appreciate the flexibility the NV200 affords.

A range of body styles, as well as off-the-shelf conversions including a fridge van, means there is a broad scope for the NV200 in a multi-use fleet. Our panel also commented on the reliability of the product, citing the NV200 as a benchmark of durability alongside the Nissan Navara pick-up truck.

The judges also rated the NV200 highly for its driver acceptance, particularly for those downsizing from 3.5-tonne vans and its city centre manoeuvrability. Overall though, it is the NV200 range that appeals most, with the ability to run diesel and electric vans side-by-side now that the EV’s range abilities have been improved.

Peugeot Partner Electric

Peugeot Partner

Peugeot continues to make in-roads into fleets with its range of competitively priced products that now enjoy a far greater reputation for reliability. The Partner city van is at the forefront of the brand’s growth, and despite operating in a fiercely competitive segment, continues to grow market share. Built alongside the Citroën Berlingo, the pair are a formidable force in the market and offer a sensibly priced alternative to some of the more premium models.

Both manufacturers have invested heavily in their network, which has impressed our panel – particularly with parts supply and delivery. The greatly improved electric model is winning customers across fleets, and with its small footprint makes it ideal for inner-city operators.

Judges commented on the great build quality of the vehicle, but also the increasing driver acceptance of both diesel and electric vans – “as the market sector migrates down the GVW range, this is the strongest product available in the sector”, one judge remarked.

Vauxhall Vivaro

Vauxhall Vivaro

Vauxhall Vivaro

In the price-sensitive world of fleet operations, it would seem the Vivaro is winning over customers. Said to be one of the best vans of its size for operating costs and total cost of ownership, the Vivaro capably competes against dominant models from Ford, Mercedes-Benz and Volkswagen.

A previous winner of the Fleet Van award in 2015, it was shortlisted again last year, demonstrating the continued admiration that fleets have for this mid-sized worker. A strong demand in the second-hand market, good reliability and excellent warranty support keep bringing operators back to the Vivaro.

Dealers are said to be supportive and parts supply is good. Fleet operators tell us they have utter confidence in operating them on a five-year cycle, while drivers instantly warm to the Vivaro. Our panel noted the van’s robustness and commented on the decision to build the next generation in Luton as an endorsement of the current van’s quality.