The fully electric Citroen e-Berlingo, Peugeot e-Partner, Toyota Proace City Electric and Vauxhall Combo-e have taken the top prize at this year’s What Car? Van and Commercial Vehicle Awards, after wowing the judges with their class-leading practicality, low-running costs and impressive driving dynamics.
The small electric vans, which were co-developed by the four brands, all offer an impressive 171-mile WLTP range, a maximum payload of more than 800kg and load volumes of 3.3 to 3.9 cubic meters, which are identical to those of their diesel sisters.
What Car? editor Steve Huntingford said: “We’re starting to see the arrival of a new generation of more cohesive and well-rounded zero-emission vans, and these four have really pushed open the door to electrification for both fleets and private users. Not only are they more relaxing to drive than their combustion-engined equivalents, but they should be much cheaper to run and are every bit as practical.”
The experienced panel of judges felt Citroen, Peugeot, Toyota and Vauxhall deserved to share the award because each van has its own strengths.
The Vauxhall (from 1 December) will be available in a more affordable specification than its relatives, so is perfect for those looking for a dependable, low-priced electric workhorse; the Citroen and Peugeot represent a fantastic turn-key package for fleet buyers, because they have a more generous standard equipment list and are still competitively priced; meanwhile, the extremely high specification of the Proace City Electric and Toyota’s 10-year warranty makes it an ideal choice for independent operators and tradesmen.
The e-Berlingo, e-Partner, Proace City Electric and Combo-e also won the Best Electric Van award, while Toyota enjoyed further success in the Commercial SUV and Commercial Pick-up categories, with the Land Cruiser Commercial and Hilux respectively.
Other winners of multiple categories included Ford, with its Transit Courier (Best Compact Van), Transit Custom (Best Medium Van) and Tourneo Custom Active (Best Van-based MPV). Meanwhile, Mercedes-Benz’s V-Class Marco Polo won Best Camper Van, with Mercedes-Benz also taking home the award for the Best Approved Used Scheme; and Volkswagen won the Small Van category with the Caddy, plus the award for Best Aftersales.
The tiny Citroen Ami Cargo, which is set to be launched in the UK next year, won Best Innovation.