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Van onslaught: New vans coming from LDV, Volkswagen, Mercedes-Benz, Renault, Hyundai, and Ford

The van world is undergoing a revolution at the moment, as brands push to include more safety technology, nicer cabins, and a more refined drive.

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Henry Man
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Get ready. A wave of new commercial vans are about to hit our shores.

According to VFACTS, 14,268 commercial vans have been sold year-to-date (January to September 2020).

We’ve already seen the ever-popular Toyota HiAce receive a complete makeover last year, but what about the rest of the market?

Thankfully, this segment is about to get a shake-up with a plethora of new models launching both globally and in Australia over the coming years.

2021 LDV Deliver 9

  • Arriving now
  • More modern design and interior
  • Will replace the ageing LDV V80

SAIC Motor has successfully propelled MG into the top sales charts Down Under, but it’s also making strides with LDV commercial vehicles.

The LDV Deliver 9 has just launched to rival the Renault Master, Volkswagen Crafter and Fiat Ducato.

It will be offered locally in medium or long wheelbase variants. There’s mid roof, high roof and cab chassis options, but the medium wheelbase model is only matched with a mid roof. Minibus versions are also available, providing 11 or 14 seats.

The Deliver 9 has a cargo volume of up to 12.33 cubic metres, is up to 3413mm long, up to 1800mm wide (1366mm between the arches), and up to 2014mm high.

The affordable large van is motivated by a 2.0-litre turbo four-cylinder diesel driven through the rear wheels and matched to a six-speed manual or six-speed automatic.

Its design matches the existing LDV D90 large SUV and T60 pickup, with features like a 10.1-inch tablet-style touchscreen with Apple CarPlay, front power windows, and a reversing camera with sensors.

A $1500 Option Pack extends the versatility of the standard 180-degree rear barn doors to 236-degrees for easier loading and unloading, along with adding blind-spot monitoring and a proximity key.

The cargo hauler will cost from $42,095 to $46,831 before on-road costs for private buyers, while minibus variants are dearer at $55,779 to $59,990 before on-roads.

Van onslaught: New vans coming from LDV, Volkswagen, Mercedes-Benz, Renault, Hyundai, and Ford

2021 Volkswagen Transporter T6.1

  • Launching in November 2020
  • Fresh exterior and interior design
  • New tech and safety, plus a laundry list of options

The heavily facelifted Volkswagen Transporter is set to land from next month in ‘T6.1’ guise.

Starting from $38,990 for a short wheelbase (SWB) to $60,490 for a dual cab long wheelbase (LWB) without any options, the Transporter will come in a variety of body styles, too.

LWB models offer a maximum load length of 2975mm, max height of 1410mm, and max width of 1700mm (1244mm between the wheel arches).

As standard, the Transporter T6.1 line-up includes auto emergency braking (AEB), leather-wrapped steering wheel with height and reach adjustment, cruise control with speed limiter and more.

There’s also a lengthy list of optional features, including load area add-ons, active safety equipment, suspension upgrades, and plenty more.

However, keep in mind that a new-generation Transporter ‘T7’ is due sometime in 2023.

Van onslaught: New vans coming from LDV, Volkswagen, Mercedes-Benz, Renault, Hyundai, and Ford

2021 Volkswagen Caddy

  • Locked in for early 2021
  • Euro van receives upmarket overhaul
  • Now rides on Volkswagen’s common MQB platform

The stalwart Caddy van is set to get some zest with the fifth-generation model arriving early next year in Australia.

Local specifications and pricing are yet to be announced, but expect Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles to offer the Caddy in van and people-mover body styles.

Based on the Volkswagen Group’s modular MQB platform used on the upcoming Volkswagen Golf Mk8 and latest Audi A3, the Caddy’s dimensions will grow 93mm longer and 62mm wider to yield more cargo and interior space.

The Caddy Cargo uses a new twist-beam axle with springs to handle heavier payloads, replacing the old rigid-axle leaf suspension.

Internationally, 1.5-litre petrol and 2.0-litre diesel engines are offered with a six-speed manual, seven-speed dual-clutch automatic, and either front-wheel drive or all-wheel drive drivetrains.

Outside, the Caddy looks reminiscent of Volkswagen’s latest Golf and the ID.3 electric hatchback with slim headlights and a gaping air intake set low in the bumper of high-end models.

Gone is the AM/FM radio unit. Volkswagen’s latest infotainment system is offered in the Golf-like interior, with screen sizes ranging from 6.25 to 10-inches, an optional 10.25-inch digital instrument cluster, and 19 available safety assistance systems.

For the first time, the next-generation Ford Transit Connect will be based on the Volkswagen Caddy 5 as part of the Ford-Volkswagen commercial vehicle alliance for a city-sized van.

Van onslaught: New vans coming from LDV, Volkswagen, Mercedes-Benz, Renault, Hyundai, and Ford

2021 Mercedes-Benz Vito

  • Facelifted van to sell from Q1 2021
  • Vital safety and tech features added
  • Unchanged powertrains

Mercedes-Benz Vans has kept the six-year-old Vito alive with a mid-cycle update set to hit showrooms from early 2021.

Australian examples of the Vito will continue to use the same 111CDI, 116CDI and 119CDI diesel engines, despite Europe moving to more efficient engines to meet restrictive European Union emission regulations.

As with the current model, short, medium and long wheelbase configurations can be had.

The Spain-made van gets a tweaked front grille, turbine-style air vents, and new wheel designs. Importantly, features like AEB, a camera-based rear-view mirror, and cornering headlights are now available.

The Vito gets a 7.0-inch touchscreen, which displays a clearer 180-degree reversing camera, and can now project Apple CarPlay and Android Auto.

It still doesn’t run the latest MBUX software that’s now ubiquitous across the Mercedes range, including the larger Sprinter van.

2021 Renault Kangoo and Kangoo ZE

  • Unconfirmed unveiling and release date
  • Third-gen Kangoo to offer hybrid and electric powertrains
  • Design and equipment upgrade to match passenger cars

The French brand teased the Renault Kangoo Z.E. concept last year, citing it’ll arrive from 2020 – so it could debut before the end of the year.

The all-new Kangoo will receive a comprehensive makeover to compete against the fifth-generation Volkswagen Caddy.

Renault’s signature C-shaped LED daytime running lights, large portrait touchscreen as found in the latest Captur and Arkana SUVs, and larger dimensions are expected.

It may ride on the CMF-C platform used by models such as the Megane small hatchback.

Petrol, hybrid and battery-electric versions will be available – the latter of which will be dubbed the Renault Kangoo Z.E. as with the current model.

The light commercial van has already been spied testing by Carscoops in Europe, so expect an unveiling later this year or 2021.

Renault has only sold 374 Kangoo’s so far this year. Despite this, the local arm emphasised in August that it intends to focus on a SUV and van-focused line-up.

Van onslaught: New vans coming from LDV, Volkswagen, Mercedes-Benz, Renault, Hyundai, and Ford

2022 Hyundai iLoad

  • South Korean van to debut in 2021
  • Hyundai’s latest design language, aligning with SUV range
  • New safety and tech to headline changes

Hyundai will launch a new iLoad later next year to replace the current light commercial van that has been sold since 2007.

Hyundai Australia briefed the press in July, teasing three mystery all-new models in the first or second quarter of 2021. We expect one of them will be the third-generation iLoad and related iMax people mover.

Our spy shots reveal the iMax will have a complete redesign, large windscreen and side windows, and a floating widescreen infotainment system.

Also expect Hyundai’s latest suite of advanced safety assistant systems, including front and rear AEB, adaptive cruise control with lane-centering, and a blind-spot view camera. These additions are vital – given the current model still has a four-star ANCAP safety rating tested on the less strict 2011 criteria.

A host of new petrol and turbo-diesel powerplants will be offered depending on the market.

2022 Ford Transit Connect

  • Ford’s small van to return in 2022
  • Predominantly based on the Volkswagen Caddy 5, including MQB architecture and powertrains
  • Ford will add its own touches to differentiate itself from VW’s Euro van

As part of the Ford-Volkswagen Alliance to save costs for manufacturing commercial vehicles, the third-generation Transit Connect will inhabit most traits from the 2021 Volkswagen Caddy 5.

This means the same Volkswagen Group MQB platform, wheelbase sizes and engines will be translated onto the Ford Transit Connect.

Production of the Transit Connect will be alongside the Caddy in Volkswagen’s Poland factory come 2022.

Like all vans in this list, expect a raft of new safety, technology and convenience features similar to passenger cars. Of course, Ford will add its own design touches to distinguish its model from Volkswagen.

On the radar

  • 2021 Mercedes-Benz Citan – the second-generation small van co-developed with the Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi Alliance will launch overseas in 2021. But, Mercedes-Benz Vans Australia has only expressed its interest in bringing it Down Under.
  • 2022/2023 Volkswagen Transporter T7 – expect the familiar boxy dimensions and even a plug-in hybrid version according to spy shots.
  • 2023 Ford Transit Custom – the all-new mid-sized van will be developed by Ford itself, then shared with Volkswagen under the Ford-Volkswagen Alliance, although details are scarce at the moment.

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