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Expert Review

MAN TGE Panel Van LCV (2017 - ) review

When is a Volkswagen Crafter, not a Volkswagen Crafter? When it’s a MAN TGE. With MAN and Volkswagen part of the same group, it’s no surprise that MAN decided to take advantage of the successful Crafter platform. Auto Trader’s Tom Roberts looks at the TGE which has become (perhaps surprisingly) popular.

Tom Roberts

Words by: Tom Roberts

Published on 13 May 2024 | 0 min read

The Auto Trader expert verdict:


Available new from £47,255

A mind-boggling number of derivatives, fabulous aftersales back up, a van that drives well and a robust engine line up are let down by a meagre level of safety equipment and other modern tech. The TGE is now showing its age and, while fundamentally an excellent workhorse, it needs the imminent (and overdue) update.

Reasons to buy:

  • tickExcellent engine line up.
  • tickThe almost unrivalled aftersales backup.
  • tickComprehensive range of body derivatives.

At a glance:

Cargo & practicality

The TGE range is comprehensive in that there are three body lengths and three heights on offer – so far so good. Not all combinations are available, but the high roof can be ordered in all three lengths, which should please most trades that need to carry larger materials. To complicate matters, there are single and twin rear-wheel options, and you can have front, rear or all-wheel drive, some of these restricting availabilities further. For dimensions, I’m going to pick just one model, a typical 3.5-tonne GVM van that the likes of the Ford Transit will compete with, the TGE 3.180 FWD long and high (the length and height being the mid-range derivatives). It has an internal load length of 4300mm, a width of 1832mm and a height measuring 1961mm. This translates to a very useful load volume of 14.4 cubic metres. Payload comes in at around 1131kg, perhaps a little disappointing compared to the products from the likes of Renault and Fiat, and the van can tow a 3000kg trailer (but watch out for those tricky tachograph regulations). Twin rear doors and a single side loading door give excellent access to the load area, which is illuminated as standard with LED lighting (readers of my reviews will know just how big a round of applause I give any van that comes with LED as standard and doesn’t hide them behind a pay wall). The two higher trim levels include an anti-slip flooring surface, which isn’t a deal breaker but is very nice to have.
Expert rating: 4/5
MAN TGE Interior
MAN TGE Interior


The cab is unashamedly a carbon copy of the Crafter’s… and why not? The Volkswagen has a well-designed, comfortable, and practical interior. Vans of this size are generally used as workhorses, multi-drop deliveries being a typical application, so plenty of room, comfortable seats, a clear, unambiguous dashboard, and lots of storage in the doors and environments are all a driver really needs. There’s a minimum of a 6.5-inch colour touchscreen in the centre of the dash, but it’s nice to see that MAN has kept some mechanical controls which, for the likes of the heating and ventilation systems, is preferable to most (me included). Hard controls often feel more durable and are far easier to operate without taking your eyes off the road to jab at a touchscreen – I’m all for modern technology, but in a working vehicle it can sometimes feel superfluous.
Expert rating: 4/5

Running costs

There are a myriad of fuel consumption figures in the MAN data sheet due to the large number of models available. As a guide, the Combined test cycle figures generally range between 27-33mpg, not quite as economical as other vans in this sector, but then not outlandish. Servicing is on a variable interval basis, as are many Volkswagen vehicles, meaning that the van will warn you when it feels like a trip to the dealer is due. Reckon on every 30,000 miles if you’re a higher mileage user. The warranty is three years (with no limit on mileage), although you’ll need to have the van serviced at a franchised dealer to maintain this in the final year. MAN has always said that the TGE is aimed at fleets that can benefit from the 24/7 servicing facility that many of its dealers offer. This keeps downtime to a minimum with overnight servicing and repairs being rarely offered to the van customer – the main exception being Mercedes-Benz. You’re unlikely to see many Volkswagen technicians working on a Crafter at 3am in the morning so the van can be ready for another working day at 7:30am. 24/7 roadside assistance is included with every new TGE. Second-hand values are essentially the same as the Crafter, so you can ballpark used prices at a similar level. That’s not necessarily the case though. The person in the street will be familiar with the Crafter, but perhaps not as much with the MAN name, so the Volkswagen could be more popular as a used van by keeping values higher. This, in the industry, is known as ‘brand perception’ and is something that we see playing a bigger part in the buying process each year. Pick one up on a good lease or finance deal and you’ll make it even more affordable with monthly rental payments.
Expert rating: 3/5


The engines and drivetrain are well proven in the Crafter, and there are no known major issues with the TGE – many of which are in service with high mileage fleets and on demanding multi-drop delivery duty. Again, any issues can be dealt with by the MAN dealer network which, while not as comprehensive in geographic coverage as some manufacturers, offers a service geared toward reducing the time the van is off the road – a major plus for those who need vehicles in and out of the shop as quickly as possible.
Expert rating: 4/5


There are three engine options available, all based on the same 2.0-litre diesel unit. Outputs of 140hp, 163hp and 177hp should satisfy the vast majority of operator demands, and the standard 6-speed manual gearbox is joined in the line-up by an 8-speed automatic unit. MAN is a little shy at revealing performance figures for the TGE, but a sneaky look at the Crafter data sheet shows that this van has a top speed of 96mph from the mid-range engine, and up to 102mph achievable (where legal) with the 177hp motor. Top speed doesn’t mean much as van speed restrictions are always in effect on UK roads, but with a minimum of 140hp available no TGE is likely to be a slouch, even when fully laden. This engine line-up is pretty much ideal, in my opinion and thoroughly deserves the perfect score I’ve awarded it in this section of the review.
Expert rating: 5/5
MAN TGE Steering Wheel
MAN TGE Steering Wheel

Ride and handling

Competent is the one word I’d use when describing the TGE on the road. It handles well and, unless you’re doing something daft, your journey will be drama-free even in grim, wet weather conditions. Ride quality, even when unladen, is good and the van is quiet at speed. It’s worth mentioning here about the quality of the manual gearbox in the test van. It’s great, and this is a real compliment because some competitor gearboxes can be a little more tiresome – if I’m being diplomatic. Another perfect score here for the TGE.
Expert rating: 5/5


Currently, there’s no NCAP rating for the TGE, but given that the Crafter has received the silver rating, we can treat this as a reasonably accurate guide – although the result can be influenced by the standard level of safety equipment on a van, which may differ between the two. Not the best result, but it could be worse. As standard, the van doesn’t come with a huge amount of safety tech, just Crosswind Assist being added to the mandatory ABS. The options list provides some other driver assistance features, but little in the way of pure safety. Overall, it’s a bit disappointing here, but expect a revised TGE to have many of the missing features introduced.
Expert rating: 2/5
MAN TGE Equipment
MAN TGE Equipment


Large vans don’t tend to get showered with ‘nice things’, this sort of bling usually being reserved for smaller vans and pickup trucks. There are three trim levels available in the TGE range. Lion XS gets a DAB radio included in the 6.5-inch touchscreen, and there is wired smartphone integration necessitating the use of a USB to phone connection cable to access this feature. Otherwise, there’s not too much to write home about apart from cruise control. Lion XC trim adds air conditioning, electrically heated and adjustable door mirrors, and parking distance control. Finally, Lion XP gets a screen upgrade, now 8 inches in size and includes navigation. There’s a rear-view camera, and the air-conditioning system is upgraded. It’s not enough to get me doing cartwheels, but the update should rectify this somewhat.
Expert rating: 2/5

Why buy?

If I had to give a single reason why you should buy (or lease) the MAN TGE, it would be for the aftersales service and backup on offer – however, this is only any good (apart from away-from-base breakdowns) if you live or work in an area with a dealer close by. Downtime is the most expensive part of van operation and the facility offered here is up there with the best. Otherwise, the engine range is excellent, and with so many derivatives available you’d be sure to find a TGE that would fit your needs. But, and I must stress these points again, the van is let down by the lack of safety tech and other standard equipment. The TGE is due an upgrade imminently, but it’s not before time – in fact, I’d say it’s well overdue. But even with that last comment hanging in the air in the same way that bricks don’t, the TGE is an excellent van that’s only let down in a couple of ways.
Expert rating: 3/5

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