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WHAT VAN? AWARDS 2014: Transit Custom wins top prize

Date: 10 January 2014   |   Author: James Dallas

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What Van?, BusinessCar's sister title, named Mercedes-Benz's rock-solid and safety-feature laden Sprinter as its Large Van of the Year following its extensive revision last year. The new Sprinter line-up is powered by Merc's tried and tested 2.2- and 3.0-litre diesels with power outputs going from 95hp to 190hp.

These drivetrains can be wedded to either the precise six-speed manual gearbox or the extremely smooth seven-speed automatic transmission, which is now combined with an efficient auto stop/start function. It is the first van to meet the forthcoming Euro6 emissions standards for nitrogen oxides, hydrocarbons and particulate mass emissions.

Last year's winner, the durable Iveco Daily, was Highly Commended in the category.

The five-door Mitsubishi Outlander 4Work, which came to market early in 2013, took the niche 4x4 Van of the Year prize. Able to tackle all but the most extreme off-road terrains, the vehicle offers more comfort than more rugged 4x4s as well as an accessible 1.6m3 load space and 705kg payload. Highly Commended was the 4x4 Sprinter.

Green thinking

Ashwoods Automotive took the Green Award with the fuel savings generated by its Lighfoot in-cab driver training device, which is proving popular with van operators.

The Innovation Award went to BCA for its online video appraisal package VanTube, the Mercedes Sprinter won the Safety Award, while this year's Editor's Choice Award was handed to Nissan's innovative and versatile NV200.

What Van? expanded its awards with the introduction of two new categories this year.

The enduringly excellent Volkswagen Transporter captured the inaugural Used Van of the Year gong due to its exemplary build quality, first-rate reliability and durability, and unrivalled residual values. The Ford Transit and Mercedes Sprinter were both Highly Commended.

The first entrant into What Van?'s new Hall of Fame - established to honour the most influential products, people and events in the LCV arena - was the Vauxhall Vivaro. Built at the company's Luton plant, the Vivaro was launched in 2001, and more than 900,000 units of the van and its Renault Trafic and Nissan Primastar siblings have since rolled out of the factory.

In transforming Vauxhall into the nation's leading producer of vans, it is hard to overestimate the importance of the Vivaro to the brand's commercial vehicle operation in the UK.

What Van? brought back the Website of the Year category following its debut in 2012 when Renault came out on top. This year, however, VW took the prize.

The full list of winners can be seen below:

Category 2014 winner 2014 Highly Commended
Van of the Year Ford Transit Custom -
Small Van Ford Fiesta Van Mini Clubvan
Light Van Fiat Doblo Cargo/Vauxhall Combo Mercedes Citan
Medium Van Ford Transit Custom VW Transporter
Large Van Mercedes Sprinter (pictured right, [1]) Iveco Daily
Pick-up Ford Ranger (pictured right, [2]) VW Amarok
4x4 Van Mitsubishi Outlander Mercedes Sprinter 4x4
Safety Mercedes-Benz Ford Transit Custom
Green Ashwoods British Gas
Innovation BCA Video Appraisal Renault Twizy Cargo
Editor's Choice Nissan NV200 (pictured right, [3]) VW Amarok eight-speed
Used Van VW Transporter (pictured right, [4]) Ford Transit/Mercedes Sprinter
Website Volkswagen Citroen
What Van? Hall of Fame Vauxhall Vivaro -