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Vauxhall Movano Panel Van (2019) review

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The Auto Trader expert verdict: ★★★★★ ★★★★★ 4.0

The Vauxhall Movano manages to do an impressive job of sitting pretty much in the centre ground of its class. Some rivals are slightly better to drive, but it is far better than some others, and the same is true with its cabin and kit offering too. Strong payloads and an impressively up-to-date set of engines will mean that it is highly unlikely to let you down.

Reasons to buy

  • Good payload potential
  • Excellent new kit
  • Upgraded interior

Cargo & practicality 5/5

The Movano has a wide selection of lengths and heights on offer, with four of the former and three of the latter in the range. There is also the choice between front-wheel drive and rear-wheel drive models, with the front-wheel models offering slightly lower loading lips (and better economy) and the rear-wheel models offering more overall payload.

Beware with some of the smaller, lighter rated models as the payload can dip below a tonne, or even 900kg, but the majority come with a carrying capacity around 1400kg. If you want you can get a version of the Movano that is rated with a gross-vehicle weight of more than 3.5-tonnes, so it can carry even more – over two tonnes in some cases – but obviously you will have to factor in that not all drivers will be allowed to drive these models on their standard licence.

You get one sliding side door as standard, and rear doors that open to 180-degrees, but an extra sliding door and wider opening rear doors are both available as an option.

Interior 4/5

The updates on the most recent model that will make the most impact to the driver’s daily life are in the cabin. The design has been totally revamped and the materials feel of a really nice quality with more soft-touch elements than owners of the outgoing model would have enjoyed. It feels well thought out, too – there’s a handy and secure slot for a phone just below the central dash, so the USB cable doesn’t need to dangle across the cabin and there is more storage than before, on top of the dash and in the doors.

It isn’t as clever as the cabins in the smaller PSA group vans, though, nor as classy as the recent Mercedes Sprinter and VW Crafter, so there is room for the new Movano to up its game.

The navigation upgrade is a bit pricey and the system it offers isn’t not the most modern looking of setups. You can hook up your phone to use Apple CarPlay or Android Auto but it is a fiddly system to use.

Running costs 4/5

The large van class all averages around the high 30s for mpg, with some creeping into the low 40s, and the Movano doesn’t buck the trend one way or the other – it is simply par for the course. It’s good to know you won’t lose out by opting for the Movano over a rival at least.

A service interval of 25,000 miles or two years will be welcome, as it should keep costs in check.

Reliability 4/5

The engines in the Vauxhall Movano have an impressive reputation for reliability, and have been kept sufficiently unchanged by the most recent updates to ensure that that should continue. There have also been relatively few recalls over its comparatively long life cycle.

The warranty on the Movano might only be three years, but it is extended to 100,000 miles. Some rivals such as the Ford Transit only offer 60,000 miles, but others still offer a totally unlimited mileage cover.

Performance 4/5

The engine updates that were at the heart of the latest update were mainly geared towards making sure the Vauxhall Movano complies with the latest Euro6d emissions standards, but they do bring the smallest of power boosts.

The mid-range model, which is the one that most people will justifiably opt for, has 150hp and is the pick of the range. The lower powered model is likely to struggle a bit more with higher payloads, especially if you are delivering on a hilly route. The mid-range model will have all you need in terms of low-down pulling power, though.

Ride and handling 4/5

The huge door mirrors, extra blind-spot mirror and the high-up seating position mean that the Movano has excellent all-round visibility. Add in that rear-view camera and the Movano is a decent van around town, despite its size.

The bar for ride and handling has been set fairly high by the likes of the VW Crafter and Mercedes Sprinter, and the Vauxhall Movano isn’t quite as relaxing or comfortable to drive as those two, but it does offer a more refined and quieter atmosphere than the most outdated models in the class, like the Peugeot Boxer and Citroen Relay. The most modern engines keep noise to a minimum, and the six-speed manual gearbox is car-like easy to use.

One excellent new feature is the permanent rear-view camera, which acts as a rear-view mirror – it sits up high in the place that a mirror would normally go. It feels like it isn’t quite high enough resolution and it feels like there is a tiny bit of lag so it doesn’t feel like it is a total mirror replacement, but it is excellent for keeping a general and more informed view on the road behind. Oddly, though, if you spec the reversing camera then that appears on the main screen, not the top one…

Safety 4/5

The basic safety kit on the latest Movano has taken a big and welcome step up, with a driver’s airbag, ESP with a system that keeps it stable in crosswinds, emergency brake assist and hill start assist all standard. Rain sensing wipers and auto lights are also on the standard kit list, which is good.

You can add on an extra pack that brings lane departure warning, high-beam assist and blind-spot warning, but it is pricey enough that it may deter some from going for it.

Equipment 3/5

The Movano’s equipment list is relatively simple – there is just the one model and then you add kit as you see fit to create your ideal van.

The basic kit list includes a driver’s seat that can be adjusted for height and reach and that comes with an armrest, a blind-spot mirror in the passenger sun visor, USB and Bluetooth connectivity, a wide-angle door mirror on the driver’s side, lights in the loading bay and a nearside sliding door. Auto lights and wipers are also included as standard.

The downside of everything being optional is that you need to justify the upgrade for kit, but the plus side is that you don’t get lumbered with stuff you don’t need by going up to a higher trim.

The sort of kit that is worth considering includes the rear-view camera, the convenience pack (which lets you flip the middle seat down to turn the cabin into an office) and air conditioning, which is disappointingly only an option.

Why buy? 4/5

The Movano’s biggest problem is the ability of some of its rivals. However, the latest updates have brought it up to an impressive standard that means it is unlikely to let you down.

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