According to one recent report, there are approximately three million commercial vans now on UK roads. In anyone’s terms, that’s a big market. Existing models have so many variations to their range, such as transmission, engine cubic capacity, length, fuel-efficient engines that you can no longer state, for this example we’ll use the Ford classic, that if you buy a Transit, your van insurance quote will be £X. There are simply to many variables to make such a sweeping statement – and that’s before you start taking into account how the van insurance company assesses the applicant.
However, with each range within the market becoming more diluted, it’s little surprise that other manufacturers identify this fluidity as an opportunity, as there are very few sectors that have one runaway model that dominates it. On cue, Toyota have seen fit to introduce a panel van to their range of pickup and flatbeds, although it’s not quite ready to hit the UK market, just yet.
The Avanza MPV, of Daihatsu design, provides the chassis for the panel van, which will have to be imported for the time being if UK van drivers fancy the van before its release here. And there is very little in the change of features, too.
The MPV has five doors, and so will the panel van. The ‘panels’ for the van model are still windows but are totally blacked out. The van retains all of the same safety and security features as the domestic vehicle, such as the driver and passenger airbags and immobiliser, which will help you discount your van insurance quote due to its ability to prevent theft, plus it will have with an additional barrier net). The cabin also holds on to its spacious design, as comfort and convenience are carried through from one range to the next with no changes to the PAS, remote central locking and all of the windows will have electrical controls.
And, unlike many light commercial vehicles, the MPV and the new LCV will be rear-wheel drive, giving traction right beneath the payload. This means, in layman’s terms, it will pull off better in snow or faced with an uphill start and it will have a tighter turning circle than its front wheel drive competition.
The main difference in the LCV will be that the floor for the van has been reinforced so that it can carry a half a ton payload. To compensate, the suspension set-up remains true to the McPherson kit on the MPV, but the spring and dampers have been amended to cope with the extra weight.
The marketing theory – when it gets here – will be based around the fact that, in order to do a job it doesn’t have to look like it was built to work for a living, based on comments recently from Toyota Marketing. A van that looks sleek and provides the comfort of an MPV yet still can do the job of a common or garden panel van? Yep, with an awful lot of drivers preferring their van to their domestic vehicle, there’s definitely a market for the Avanza.
When it gets here, be sure to look at what the extended warranty will cover and, to get an idea on the van insurance you can expect to pay, you shouldn’t be far off with the Avanza MPV as is, so little will be the difference. But do remember to discount it with additional features and tag on the ancillaries to suit your business!