The hatchback van: Vauxhall Corsavan

If space isn’t a priority, this hatchback van’s handling and incredible fuel efficiency can’t be beaten – just right for florists and smaller caterers

Who’s it for? Florists, IT technicians, caterers
Launched: 2007
On-the-road price (ex-VAT): £11,778.33 (RRP)
Contract hire price: £119/mo
Price used (ex-VAT):
£7,295 (2011, 12,139 miles, Combo version)

Why it’s good for business

If you’re a small business owner on a budget with no great need for space, Vauxhall’s Corsavan represents truly unbeatable value. The diesel-powered engine of its ecoFLEX model has incredible fuel efficiency, clocking in at 83mpg – more than twice the mileage of some other vans in its class.

Higher-end models also feature a stop/start ignition which smartly shuts down the engine when stopped at traffic lights, in addition to optimised gear ratios, an indicator that tells you when to go up a gear for maximum fuel efficiency, and much more – not a penny of your fuel budget will be wasted.

Although there are a number of models offered by Vauxhall for the Corsavan – with the more expensive Sportive variants featuring higher horsepower engines and a six-speed transmission – they all feature the same basic chassis, which is based on the Vauxhall Corsa hatchback.

The payload (the maximum weight a vehicle can carry) is certainly competitive against other vans in this class, clocking in at 550kg – but the drawback of its compact frame is the small load space of less than 1.0 cubic metres, considerably less in practical terms than the slightly larger Citroen Nemo’s 2.5 cubic metres.

This is not a van for a builder, plumber or anyone who needs space on a regular basis – but if your business requires you to carry around no more than a box of tools or a few parcels then you should find the load space perfectly adequate.

Despite its small size, the cab is fairly spacious, with what has been described as ample leg room. The interior has all the basic features you would expect, including speed-sensitive power steering, a CD/radio with auxiliary input socket (which means you can play music from external sources) and adjustable wing mirrors; plump for the Sportive and receive extra add-ons like an extra forward gear, sports seats, air-conditioning and electric windows.

As the Corsavan is essentially an adapted car, its handling stacks up well, offering more manoeuvrability than larger light commercial vehicles such as the Citroen Nemo. This, coupled with its very small profile, makes it another ideal choice if you are a city dweller – enabling you to forever avoid the nightmare of attempting to park a huge, unwieldy van in a city centre, and you can store it in a garage for added security.

Vauxhall is viewed as one of the most reliable manufacturers, and as such its vans retain a good deal of value when resold. This is a key advantage if you’re starting small and plan to upgrade to a larger van when the need arises, as you will make most of your outlay back selling second-hand if you look after this model.

Editor of industry publication BusinessVans.co.uk Ralph Morton says: “Just what you need to make nippy deliveries in and out of town, the Corsavan makes short work of large loads thanks to the size of its tailgate and 0.92 cubic metres load area.

“What’s not big on the Corsavan, though, is the cost of running this smart car-derived van. Economical ecoFLEX models promise over 85mpg. So you can carry on delivering rather than refuelling – just the support your small business will need.”

Alternatives

The Corsavan’s main competitor is the very similar Ford Fiesta van. Similarly-sized and priced, Ford also offers an ECOnetic version with ultra-frugal fuel economy – but the payload is less, coming in at around 490kg.

5 key features:

–          Excellent fuel economy

–          Nippy handling

–          Small profile

–          Low emissions

–          Holds value well

2 negative features:

–          Small load space

–          Diesel version can be noisy

Specification (ecoFLEX model)

Load length 1257mm
Load width (max)1264mm
Load height924mm
Carrying capacity: 0.98cu m
Payload550kg
Towing capacity braked/unbraked1005kg (braked)
Engine1300cc CDTi diesel (95 hp)
Power/Torque170Nm
Economy (combined) 83mpg (ecoFLEX model)
CO2 Emissions88g/km (ecoFLEX model)

 

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