The Citroen Relay

Developed jointly with Peugeot and Fiat, the Citroen Relay has become a serious threat to the Ford Transit in the large van market. Offered with SmartNav satellite navigation as standard in all of the models, the Relay is probably the most high-tech of all large commercial vehicles, separating itself from the Fiat and Peugeot counterparts. The Relay is also offered as an Enterprise model with air conditioning, Bluetooth hands-free system and parking censors, a great choice for owners looking to spend the majority of their time on the road.

In a choice of four different body lengths, three roof heights and a spread of three 2.2-litre turbo diesel engines which meet Euro 5 emissions and have been proven as some of the cleanest in their class. The 130PS and 150PS engines are the best choice for businesses looking to make full use of the Relay’s considerable capacity and payload due to the Relay’s strength and ability to work in most conditions. There is, however, an issue with the amount of noise that can be heard in the cabin. Although the engines are pretty quiet, even at higher speeds, the amount of noise that comes from the wind and the road can sometimes see you reaching for the nearest pair of earplugs.

The appearance of the van epitomises workmanship, its robust body and full-size bulkhead gives the impression of a much larger vehicle. The only problem with its size and set up is the lack of visibility through the rear windows but if you go for the Enterprise version that will be balanced by the access to rear parking sensors.

Behind the cab, the Relay’s cargo area ranges from 8.0 to 17.0 cubic metres in size that puts it amongst the largest vans on sale in the UK. It also benefits from generous payloads and towing capacities.

While the Relay is not as cosy as its smaller brothers, it does benefit from many practical advantages such as a CD stereo, central locking and electric windows. Space is uniquely organised with storage compartments fitted in the dashboard and a spacious glove box. To simulate the full office experience, the Relay features a dash-mounted clipboard as well and the passenger seat ingeniously folds up to create a desk.

With punchy engines and great manoeuvrability, the Citroen Relay is perfect for businesses in need of a large cargo space and payload. Its customisability and choice of wheelbases, roof heights and body lengths will ensure that you get the right van for you.

Nissan NV400

The best thing about the mighty Nissan NV400 is the fact that it’s available in nine separate conversions – the Panel Van, Crew Van, Crew Bus, Dropside, Tipper, Box Van, Freezer/Chiller, Box Freezer/Chiller, and the upcoming Luton. The Japanese auto manufacturer seems to really understand the importance of choice when choosing a commercial vehicle and manages to give their buyers options so that they can narrow down their choices.

The Nissan NV400 has one of the widest ranges in the UK LCV market with four lengths, 3 heights, 10 cargo volumes, the option of front or rear wheel drive and 3 engine power outputs. The NV400 Panel Van is a practical and versatile van reminiscent of the Renault Master and Vauxhall Movano. It uses the same kind of 2.3-litre four-cylinder diesel engine with the same 100PS, 125PS and 150PS power outputs. If you’re concerned about fuel economy and emissions, the NV400 Crew Van is compliant with Euro 5 and has lower running costs since its 2011 launch.

A wonderfully supple suspension enhances your driving experience of the NV400 making it ideal for drivers who intend to spend long periods of time on the road. It is also perfect for ensuring that your occupants and your cargo remain intact throughout the journey. If you need to drive in both the town and motorway, the 125PS engine offers a 310Nm of shove between 1250rpm and 2500rpm. It is also available as a six-speed semi-automatic gearbox to take the stress out of motorway journeys.

The NV400 is full to the brim with plenty of boxes, cubbies and trays both overhead and under the seats. There are large pockets in the doors, a clipboard, cup holders and, similar to the Citroen Relay, a foldable centre seat to be used as a desk. If you want to go the whole hog, why not order a rotating table instead?

Amongst all of the vans in this class, the NV400 has a wide cabin to ensure more leg rooms and enough space for the driver’s head, shoulders and elbows. If you’re looking at ordering a customised model, the SE model comes with a Bluetooth hands-free system, cruise control, a driver’s armrest and electric door mirrors and windows. The Comfort Pack also comes with air conditioning, a pollen filter and front fog lights.

With load capacities between 2.8 and 4.5 tonnes, the Nissan NV400 is a versatile van that holds an impressive payload with a twin unglazed side rear doors that open out to 180 degrees as well as a sliding side door on the passenger’s side and a full steel bulkhead.