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WHAT VAN? AWARDS 2011:Vauxhall and Renault share top award in prestigious van Oscars

Date: 14 December 2010

The annual What Van? Awards have recognised the best LCV products and services across 13 categories

The Vauxhall Movano and Renault Master have shared the UK van market's top prize after the two siblings were jointly awarded the title of What Van? 2011 Van of the Year.

The two, developed under a joint agreement between General Motors and Renault, were launched earlier this year, and the expanded range which now consists of rear-wheel drive versions as well as the front-wheel drive of the previous generation vans, caught the judges' eye as the stand-out introduction of 2010, according to BusinessCar's sister title. The well-designed cabin, full of useful cubbyholes and storage of various shapes and sizes, was also a major deciding factor, along with the massive choice of engines and bodystyles.

The duo also took the Large Van of the Year prize, with a highly commended mention going to the Mercedes-Benz Sprinter.

Renault also enjoyed success in two other categories. It took the Technology Award, a new category in the 2011 What Van? Awards, thanks to the electric Kangoo ZE coming next year, and it was handed the Editor's Choice prize for the customer care advances of the past 12 months through both the iCare and Pro+ programmes. Highly Commended in the technology segment was Iveco for its work across a variety of alternative fuels, and Fiat came Highly Commended in the Editor's Choice category because of its strides in customer service.

Fiat also bagged the Light Van of the Year Award through the new Doblo Cargo, winning from Volkswagen's Caddy, while the Small Van of the Year was the Ford Fiesta Van, taking the plaudits ahead of the Highly Commended Vauxhall Corsavan.

Moving up to the larger vehicles, The Mitsubishi L200 retained its Pick-up of the Year prize in front of the Nissan Navara, while the revisions to Volkswagen's Transporter were enough to take it to the top spot in Small Panel Van of the Year, ahead of the Mercedes Vito, also recently updated. Mercedes did, though, taste success in the Safety category, commended for its focus on both preventing accidents and protecting occupants if they do happen. The Department for Transport's Van Best Practice scheme was highly commended.

Government agencies also picked up another gong in what was probably the What Van? Awards' most controversial choice. The Vehicle Certification Agency was commended with the Green Award for its efforts to publish van CO2 and economy data. Although there is considerable opposition from the industry to the unladen van figures being published, the fact remains that once there is a league table to be published, everyone will want to be top of it, so the focus on increasing efficiency, and therefore cutting costs, can only help vehicle operators. Mercedes picked up Highly Commended in the Green category for its Eco Start stop-start system.

Citroen beat Ford to the One-Stop Shop prize once more, although the Blue Oval got its own back when the Transit beat Citroen's Relay to the Minibus of the Year Award, while the Transit also bagged the 4x4 Van of the Year gong thanks to its all-wheel drive variant, beating off the Nissan Pathfinder.