Few vans can beat the Vauxhall Movano for sheer load-carrying ability. Robust, well engineered, versatile and economical, it's deservedly popular and, as Auto Express put it, a “tough customer”.
The Movano has won multiple awards, including best heavy van in the Business Van Awards 2016 and 2017, and best trader's choice in the Trade Van Driver Awards 2019. The AA said: “If it's comfortable practicality you're looking for, there are few as capable as the Movano.”
The Movano has been around since 1998; the current version was launched in 2010, and is the twin of the Renault Master and Nissan NV400. It was given a facelift in May this year, which should mean better deals on used Vauxhall Movanos of any age as a result.
Here are five reasons to consider this monster mover if you're in the market for a used panel van…
The mighty Movano can carry a payload of up to 17 cubic metres or 1,990kg – that's five euro pallets. It's available in four lengths and three heights, with a load bay up to 4.4m long, 1.8m wide and 2.1m high. All but the shortest version have sliding side doors that open 1.27m wide, so you can get a euro pallet in and out that way. Tie-down points for cargo come as standard, as does a full steel bulkhead. The Movano can also tow up to 3,500kg.
The Movano comes in 29 body styles. As well as a panel van, it's available in chassis cab, crew cab and platform cab formats, and as a six or nine-seater combi and even a 17-seater minibus. It lends itself to a variety of conversions, including tip-up truck, dropside, box van, Luton van, low-loader, parcel delivery van with foldable shelving and a sliding door in the bulkhead, welfare van (a van to use as a base on-site, with a washbasin, water boiler and microwave), car transporter or refrigerated van.
The cabin seats three and offers plenty of space for both people and objects, with myriad compartments and shelves – “more than most drivers will ever use”, according to Auto Express. These include a space for your phone, a coin, card and ticket holder, door pockets big enough to hold two-litre bottles, two overhead shelves, a box with a lid and a glovebox big enough for two 1.5-litre bottles (you certainly won't be going thirsty in the Movano). The middle seat folds flat to provide a work surface, storage tray and two cup holders.
The cabin feels solid, and the high driving position, large windscreen, door mirrors and sloping bonnet give great visibility. The seats are comfortable, and the big driver's seat can be adjusted for height, reach and rake and backrest angle to help you find the right position. The steering wheel is height-adjustable too, plus there's a driver's armrest. For entertainment on the move, a DAB radio, CD player with Bluetooth, USB, aux and MP3 connectivity is standard, along with steering wheel-mounted controls so you can use it easily on the move.
The Movano is smooth, dynamic and surprisingly fun and agile on the road, with light, positive steering, responsive handling, powerful brakes, and a supple suspension providing a comfortable ride. It copes easily on twisting roads and tackles corners reassuringly, while around town, a tight turning circle helps with manoeuvrability. It's powered by a range of 2.3-litre turbodiesel engines with plenty of torque and pace, and in some cases start-stop technology to increase engine efficiency; the more powerful twin-turbo engines are particularly capable, offering plenty of muscle. The engines are quiet, and there's little wind and road noise.
Honest John had this to say: “The Movano makes short work of most driving situations, even when loaded towards its maximum capacity. The engines are ideal for almost anyone's needs, offering relaxed cruising and hassle-free driving where you don’t have to constantly change gear to keep the van moving at a decent pace. The Movano makes a strong case for itself as a van for those who travel long distances as its excellent refinement means less fatigue at the end of a busy day. The foot pedals are also at the right angle and height for all-day comfort whether you’re wearing boots or shoes.”
The Movano offers the option of front or rear-wheel drive, the latter increasing traction and towing ability, the former providing a particularly low loading sill so it's easy to get heavy goods in and out.
Running costs should be low, with fuel economy getting up to more than 40mpg, and service intervals only every two years or 25,000 miles (there's a warning light that tells you when a service is due). You won't need to worry about changing the cambelt either, as the CDTi engine has chain-driven cams.
Standard safety equipment is very generous, and includes rear fog lights, a driver’s airbag, ABS with electronic brakeforce distribution and emergency brake assist, electronic stability control, traction control, hill start assist and a laminated windscreen. Electric front windows, electric heated mirrors, an immobiliser, deadlocks, a 12-volt socket, power steering and a spare wheel all also come as standard.
If you'd like to test drive one of the used vans for sale at used van dealers Vanwise Group, have a look at our website to see what appeals, and call us at our Kent dealership on 01622 233151 or our Essex dealership on 01279 216163. We usually have plenty of Vauxhall vansin stock – you could take the Movano's baby brother, the used Vauxhall Vivaro, out for a spin too! Ask us about our vans on finance and van contract hire offers too.