Yes, its back. This is now the 11th year of running the awards. We have some repeat winners and also some ‘New Kids On The Block’.
As per usual, for some awards our panel of Judges agreed quickly. For other awards we were convinced objects would start flying….
Van of the Year – Ford Transit Custom
Judges’ comments: Not only was the Ford Transit Custom the best selling van in the UK last year, it was the best selling vehicle too. Just about every street in Britain has at least one Transit Custom parked in it and as such this van must be THE vehicle to use and own for traders. When it came to judging this category, the judges all immediately voted for the Ford Transit Custom with very little discussion between them about who should win. It was obvious!
Best Large Van – MAN TGE
Judges’ comments: The MAN TGE is a Volkswagen Crafter under its badging and that alone would be enough to secure a win in this sector. But owning an MAN TGE against its VW brother brings benefits, such as heavy truck levels of aftercare and maintenance. Own an MAN TGE and there will be no queueing up at the dealership behind Mrs Jones and her little runabout car.
Best Medium Van – Volkswagen ID Buzz Cargo
Judges’ comments: There was much discussion among the judges in this sector. After all, there are separate awards for alternative fuel vehicles and this one runs on electric alone. But the gong finally went to the Volkswagen ID Buzz Cargo because, of all the various new launches at present, this one goes right off the scale in terms of funky outrageousness. VW really has pulled out all the stops here and has succeeded magnificently.
Best Small Van – Renault Kangoo
Judges’ comments: Of all the vehicles in this sector, there are many cracking good ones, but the judges felt that while the Renault Kangoo had been giving excellent service for many years, it had never really received the recognition it deserved, mainly playing second fiddle to the mighty Stellantis offerings such as the Citroen Berlingo et al. So here, we finally give this perky little vehicle the gong it has deserved for a long time.
Best Workhorse Pickup: Isuzu D-Max
Judges’ comments: Isuzu has won this sector every year since the awards began and the judges had no hesitation in carrying on this unbroken record. They all felt the working versions of the D-Max offer unrivalled levels of standard spec at a price that won’t break the bank and as such is a worthy winner yet again. A massive Win
Best Lifestyle Pickup – Isuzu D-Max AT35
Judges’ comments: With Mitsubishi pulling out of the UK market, Isuzu has jumped straight in to hoover up all those buyers who used to opt for the L200 by launching dashing new lifestyle models. And when it comes to the AT35, the WOW! factor goes right off the dial. It has huge tyres, stunning looks and more standard spec than any driver could wish for. Congratulations to Isuzu for pulling off the double in the Pickup sector of our awards.
Best Alternative Fuel Van (Light) – Vauxhall Vivaro-e Hydrogen
Judges’ comments: the Government may be pushing electric cars and vans at present, but when it comes to commercial vehicles, those in the know believe that hydrogen may be the way forward. Our judges are among them and so felt that Vauxhall should be recognised for its forward-thinking strategy. By offering a hydrogen van ahead of the pack, Vauxhall will be ready and waiting when the general public wakes up to the benefits of hydrogen power over pure electric.
Best Alternative Fuel Van (Heavy) – Renault Trucks Master Red Edition E-Tech
Judges’ comments: Renault Trucks has invested huge amounts of money to make sure its electric offerings continue to be ahead of the pack. The judges immediately saw this and concluded that once again the Master Red Edition E-Tech was the one they would choose if buying an alternative fuel vehicle in this sector.
Best Builders’ Truck – Isuzu Trucks Grafter
Judges’ comments: Builders’ trucks take an enormous amount of punishment in their lives, so anyone buying into this sector needs to know that the vehicle they choose is tough enough for the job. Once again, the judges felt that the Grafter ticked all the boxes here. The Grafter is a truck which will go on for years without a murmur, even in the toughest of climates. The 11th year of winning with no signs of giving up!
Best Vehicle 3.5-7.5 tonnes – Iveco Daily
Judges’ comments: The judges felt that once again, no contender in this sector came anywhere near the Iveco Daily. Built on a rugged ladder-frame chassis and bursting with Tonka-toy-like strength, the Daily is tough enough for any job at the heavy end of the market.
Best Conversion Range – Vauxhall
Judges’ comments: Many traders need special conversions for their particular needs and Vauxhall ticks most of the boxes here, whatever sector traders deal in. Vauxhall is now a part of the giant Stellantis Group so can leverage backing from an amazing number of places. The judges also liked the fact that traders can actually buy a vehicle that’s made in England. Some buyers, after all, still wish to wave the flag for Britain.
Best Trade Van Range – Mercedes-Benz
Judges’ comments: Who can doubt the power of the three-pointed star? It speaks volumes about build quality and reliability and traders who choose a Mercedes-Benz van know they will be buying a vehicle that’s a large cut above many of the others. They also know that turning up at a client’s premises in a Mercedes-Benz van will enhance their reputation as a smart operator.
Best Accessory Provider – Fleetshield
Judges’ comments: Fleetshield wins this award for the third year running. Whatever traders need doing to customise their vans, Fleetshield is likely to have the answer. Fleetshield offers solutions for racking, storage, lighting, power, livery, health and safety and security – and all work is guaranteed to be first class. Such diversity makes Fleetshield a worthy winner.
A full write and award pictures will feature in the June issue