Best new vans and pick-ups 2017
After 12 months that saw a number of new vans and pick-ups launched, things calm down a bit in 2017
Recent months have seen a bumper crop of new vans and pick-up trucks launched in the UK. With the enforcement of the latest Euro 6 emissions standard now in force, van and pick-up truck makers have updated their ranges accordingly, and the majority of those updates happened durring 2016.
We saw new models in the shape of the Citroen Dispatch, Peugeot Expert and Toyota ProAce trio launched, while the Ford Transit was updated with new engines to keep it competitive. The Fiat Talento joined the Renault Trafic and Vauxhall Vivaro twins, while Fiat also entered the pickup sector with the Mitsubishi L200-based Fullback.
But that was 2016 - what's new in the van and pickup market in 2017. Well, our A-Z round-up gives you the inside line on what to expect from the commercial vehicle world over the coming months.
The new vans and pick-ups going on sale in 2017
The major launch for 2016 was the Fiat Fullback pickup truck, a lightly reskinned version of the Mitsubishi L200, while the Talento mid-sized van also debuted. That model is a rebadged Renault Master, and replaced the ageing Scudo, which itself was part of a joint partnership with PSA Peugeot Citroen.
For 2017, Fiat Professional is concentrating on offering competitive pricing on its entire range, as the line-up was updated with more efficient Euro 6 engines last year. Fiat is also attempting to promote its sister brand within the Fiat-Chrysler group, Ram. The firm's pickup trucks are already big sellers in the US, but the Ram brand is unlikely to make it to the right-hand-drive UK market, unless demand grows.
While recent headlines from the US revealed that the Transit will be getting hybrid drive technology by 2020, the UK's best-selling van isn't standing still in the meantime. Ford has revised the rear suspension to improve the Transit's driving characteristics, while a new auto gearbox has been added to the 2.0-litre diesel.
Elsewhere, there's a facelifted Transit Courier in the pipeline that's likely to benefit from Ford's latest infotainment system seen in the Mondeo and Focus, while a new small van based on the all-new Fiesta will be revealed later in the year.
The Great Wall Steed pickup fell off the UK price lists in 2016, thanks to the fact that its diesel engine didn't meet Euro 6 emissions regulations, so it could no longer be sold here. There's no word yet on whether the Chinese-built pickup will return, but if it does, expect its five-year warranty and competitive pricing to once again be its main selling points.
The iLoad has been on sale for 10 years in 2017, but it's hard to see why the Korean firm is persevering with its only commercial vehicle offering in the UK. It's only available by special order, and while it's offered in panel and crew van body styles, it's not particularly efficient and most rivals have it licked in every department. Hyundai sells a larger Mercedes Sprinter-sized van in the Far East, but there are no plans to bring it to the UK.
The D-Max is an alternative choice in the pick-up truck sector, and while it's not quite a match for its rival Japanese pickups, it does offer something different in the class. Isuzu celebrated its centenary in 2016 with a special edition D-Max, and we can expect more well equipped, low volume models from the firm in 2017.
The truck maker's body-on-frame Daily E6 was updated in 2016 with - as its name suggests - a new Euro 6 compliant engine, while a 4x4 version was also made available. Iveco also has a number of useful apps that allow business users to book their van in for service or any other requirements in just a few taps of a smartphone screen.
One of the more interesting developments in the van market is the arrival of truck maker MAN to the party. The German firm is part of the VW Group - it was taken over in 2012 - and initially it will be selling the TGE, a rebadged version of the new VW Crafter that's launching in 2017. This will compete against trucking rival Iveco and its Daily large van. You might wonder why it's expanding into this sector, but the firm's 24-hour service and maintenance centres for its trucks will be available to van users, which is an attractive benefit to businesses. However, there's no official word on whether MAN will start selling large vans in the UK as part of its expansion.
The big news for Mercedes in 2016 was its entry into the pickup sector with the X-Class. While we saw a set of chunky looking concepts towards the end of 2016, the real thing will be unveiled towards the end of this year, before going on sale in December.
Like other new pickups, the X-Class uses tried-and-tested technology, as it'll be based on the latest Nissan Navara. However, we can expect the X-Class to have a very Mercedes-esque feel inside, with a classy interior that will share much with the firm's GL-branded SUVs and crossovers.
Elsewhere, the van range sees a few updates. The Citan small van is expected to get a minor facelift this year, while the Vito continues unchanged, although a new Vito Taxi has been announced for Hackney Carriage licence holders. The larger Sprinter was updated in 2016 with new suspension, while we may see a van concept similar to the Vision Van study seen in September 2016, which will point the way for an all-new Sprinter due in 2018.
The L200 is our favourite pickup, and it remains unchanged for 2017, although it does face tougher competition, thanks to the largely similar Fiat Fullback joining the pickup ranks. Elsewhere, the Outlander PHEV 4WORK continues to offer low emissions for business, while commercial versions of the standard Outlander and larger Shogun continue to be offered.
Nissan's modest range of commercial vehicles continues unchanged in 2017. The big news in 2016 was the launch of the NV300, which is essentially the Renault Trafic with Nissan badges, in the same way that the NV400 is a Renault Master. Elsewhere, the NV200 is a pure Nissan production, while the all-electric e-NV200 will gain some of the added range and efficiency benefits first seen in the Leaf electric hatchback.
The Navara pickup continues unchanged, although it will face even tougher competition when Renault steals back some technology with its rebadged Alaskan pickup, as well as the Nissan-sourced Mercedes X-Class.
PSA Peugeot Citroen
The big news for the French firm occurred last year, with the introduction of the new Citroen Dispatch and Peugeot Expert, two models that set new standards for technology and comfort in the van sector.
This year should see the introduction of a replacement for the Citroen Berlingo and Peugeot Partner pairing, two of the most popular and long-running small vans on sale. While the Dispatch and Expert share technology with the Toyota ProAce, the Berlingo and Partner are being developed in conjunction with General Motors, and in the UK the new model will replace the Vauxhall Combo.
All three will get the same revised 1.6 BlueHDi diesels found in the larger Dispatch/Expert, while a revised platform will see increased payload capacity and improved driving dynamics. As before, Citroen and Peugeot will also produce MPV versions of these models with up to seven seats. Expect to see the newcomers towards the end of 2017.
Elsewhere, the larger, Fiat Ducato-based Citroen Relay/Peugeot Boxer continue with updated Euro 6 engines introduced last year, while the compact Nemo/Bipper pairing will remain in production for the foreseeable future, too.
The big launch for Renault in 2017 is the Alaskan pickup truck. This new model goes down the Kadjar route, in that Renault has simply taken the product of Nissan's development and rebadged it for their own purpose. In this instance, the Navara is the donor car, and it has been given a Kadjar-style rounded nose with dominant diamond badge up front. The Alaskan is due to go on sale sometime in 2017.
As for vans, the Master and Trafic continue in all their guises, and so does the Kangoo. The latter is offered in pure EV guise, and a recent update has extended the range of the Kangoo EV by up to 50%, with a claimed maximum of 124 miles.
The latest generation Hilux arrived in 2016, and so did the ProAce van, which was jointly developed with PSA Peugeot Citroen. There are no more models being added to the range in 2017, but Toyota is setting up Specialist Business Centres to help commercial customers get the most out of their vehicles.
The British built Vivaro van continues to be a best-seller in the class, and Vauxhall is leaving the winning formula well alone for 2017, although it's likely to expand the van range with more lifestyle-type variants, in the mould of the VW T6 California.
Elsewhere, the Vauxhall Combo small van will be replaced by an all-new model towards the end of the year. The current van is a rebadged Fiat Doblo, but the new model is a joint venture with PSA Peugeot Citroen, and it will share its body and running gear with the Citroen Berlingo/Peugeot Partner duo.
The big launch for Volkswagen this year is the all-new Crafter large van. Set to launch in the spring, the new Crafter is bigger, more efficient and packed with more technology than ever, and we'll get our hands on the newcomer very soon.
In other news, there's a new Sportline edition of the T6 Transporter on sale, while the special Black edition of the Caddy small van is also available. And finally, the new V6-powered Amarok pickup is now on sale, giving VW a healthy power advantage over its double cab rivals.
Which new van or truck are you most looking forward to? Let us know in the comments section below...