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Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles has released the first picture of its new generation of Transporter van.

“We are transferring the DNA of our icon into modern times with the completely new Transporter,” said Albert Kirzinger, chief designer at Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles.

“The details of the seventh Bulli generation pick up the characteristic design features of its six predecessors and give them a new interpretation. This has a tradition – every new Volkswagen Transporter has always represented a new visual beginning, a stylistic bridge between a long history, the present and the future. This is precisely what has kept this product line updated for over eight decades, making it the most successful van series in its class in the world,” Kirzinger added.

Sales of the new VW Transporter have already begun in Europe where prices start from €36,780.

The full vehicle will be revealed at the Hannover IAA trade show in September, ahead of vehicles hitting the road in the first part of 2025.

The latest Volkswagen Transporter is also based on the Ford Transit Custom and will eventually have a fully electric version that will share the Ford E-Transit Custom driveline.

Bulli DNA: “One second is all it takes to immediately recognise the Transporter – which has been redesigned from the first to last millimetre – as the successor to the T6.1 and as a member of the Bulli family,” says Albert Kirzinger. The Chief Designer continues: “The design consistently follows the iconic Bulli DNA. This is already evident in the main body, which has the characteristic contour for the product line below the side windows – we call it the Bulli line. This unique DNA can be found in all areas of the exterior design and also makes the new Transporter the original in its class.” The design of the new Transporter in detail:

Front: The T5 can be seen briefly in the shape of the radiator grille, the T6.1 in the headlights and the T1 in the iconic clarity – but all these features have evolved significantly into a new Volkswagen Transporter appearance. At the same time, the design is also embedded in the current Bulli family’s range. The Chief Designer adds: “The front design of our seventh Transporter immediately makes it clear that it is a member of the Bulli family and complements the Multivan and ID. Buzz duo.”

Silhouette: The side view of the Transporter, which is between 5,050 mm and 5,450 mm long, shows the design clarity typical of a Bulli. “As with the T6.1, we have extended the upper contour of the headlights as a line into the sides. This continues all the way to the rear and creates a pronounced linear curvature above it – the Bulli line. This line separates the upper and lower areas of the body and is a tribute to the T1,” says Kirzinger. The range of 16-, 17- and 19-inch Transporter wheel rims has also been redesigned. Particularly striking is the 19-inch Indianapolis alloy wheel with its diamond-cut rim flange as well as six black spokes and inner surfaces. Optimally accessible once again is the fuel filler flap integrated in the area of the B-pillar of the diesel and plug-in hybrid versions, as on the T6.1 and large Crafter. The charging socket flap of the models with plug-in hybrid and all-electric drive is located under the right-hand headlight.

Rear: The rear end of the seventh Volkswagen Transporter has a homogeneous design and thus has the clear and characteristic features of a Bulli. The commercial vehicle will once again be available with a tailgate and rear wing doors. Although completely redesigned and technically revamped, the striking shape of the tail lights with LED dots towards the sides creates a stylistic bridge to the T5. “With a horizontal line below the rear window and a black handle strip above the number plate, we form a smooth horizontal strip between the C-shaped tail light clusters, which we also use here to emphasise the iconic clarity of the new Transporter,” says Albert Kirzinger. He continues: “As always with a Volkswagen commercial vehicle, there is no line that is not logical. The described horizontal lines below the rear window and above the handle strip are a good example of this, framing the Volkswagen logo and extending into the tail lights with millimetre precision.” Form thus again always follows function on the seventh Transporter. The tailgate or wing doors are another example: their recess extends far into the bumper, resulting in a low load sill height of only 575 mm to 638 mm (depending on version).

April Fools day sure does toll around quickly. Oh, wait, it's May, and Nissan has revealed a karaoke version of its Townstar electric van... because, well, why not!

The electric Nissan Townstar Karaok-e is a one-off karaoke lounge experience model powered entirely from the Townstar Electric's 45kWh battery.

The custom-built mobile music studio demonstrates the versatility of the Townstar EV platform with a fully functional, built-in karaoke system with room for two people.

Nissan says singing and music are scientifically proven to reduce stress, boost dopamine levels and produce endorphins, which is why it says its Karaok-e is perfect for "fun-filled joyous journey".

The Townstar Karaok-e’s load area has been transformed into a cutting-edge karaoke lounge with an interior revamped to provide maximum passenger comfort and limousine-like legroom. It gets a state-of-the-art sound system and subwoofer along with a 32-inch high-definition display screen to let you read the words for your favourite pop song or ballad.

Passengers can also record their performances on GoPro cameras, and then seamlessly personalise and share their intros, outros and fantastic failed falsettos on popular social platforms using built-in touchscreens.

The LED cabinet and interior roof lights are also synchronised to the beat and on the outside there's even an ‘On Air’ for when a session is in progress.

If you're eager to dance along to a dealer to buy one you'll be dissapointed as the Townstar Karaok-e is not available to purchase. Instead you'll have to opt for a regular Townstar EV which is available in the UK as a Crew Van, with five seats.

Alternatively the panel van is available to order as L1 and L2 variants with prices starting from £33,945 ex VAT.

Watch the Townstar Karaok-e van in action with the funky video Nissan has put together to show off the new Townstar Electric crew van.

Chinese car maker BYD has revealed the first pictures of it's full size pick-up truck with a petrol-hybrid powertrain, the BYD Shark.

Continuing the marine naming theme established with the BYD Dolphin, Seal and Seagull passenger cars, the Shark is aptly named as the most ferocious model yet in the range.
Said to be larger than a double cab Ford Ranger. the BYD Shark uses a 1.5-litre turbo charged petrol engine paired to an electric motor producing 320hp.

The motor and engine specifications match that of the top-spec BYD Seal in Design trim. It also uses a 1.5-litre petrol hybrid engine with a 238kW output and 550Nm of torque.

It gets an all-wheel-drive driveline as used in the Design trim version of the Seal, using synchronous motors, where the front motor produces 150kW/300Nm and the rear motor delivering 120kW/250Nm.

For the hybrid component, the Shark will likely share the 18.3kWh batteries from the Seal, which are capable of being charged at a maximum speed of just 18kW. However, that will be enough for an electric only range of 100km and combines with the 60-litre fuel tank to deliver more than 840km of range using both electric and ICE.

BYD Shark on a stage at launch

The Shark was unveiled in Mexico and will be initially only be sold in Mexico. However, it is also expected to reach Australia later this year.

It's one-tonne sizing, rather than more North American proportions, mean it will be a direct competitor to the Toyota Tacoma and Ford Ranger. Pricing will see it exceed both models, though, with a starting price of 899,980 pesos ($53,400) for the Shark GL and 969,800 pesos ($57,500) for the more premium Shark GS.

rear view of BYD Shark

Thanks to the electric motor it will be understandably swift with a 0-62mph speed of 5.7 seconds.

The BYD Shark will also have a 2.5-tonne towing capacity and an 835kg payload.

On the inside of the Shark there's a modern-looking 12.8-inch touchscreen with wireless smartphone mirroring for Apple CarPlay. There's also wireless phone charging, a head-up display and a full 360-degree camera.

BYD Shark Interior

Importantly, the BYD Shark is the first competitor to emerge to the Ford Ranger PHEV, and it will arrive in the key Australian market ahead of the Blue Oval pick-up truck.

BYD have been on an aggressive spree of new vehicle launcheds with a range of attractive and competitively priced electric cars.

Their introduction to the pick-up truck segment is the brand's first forray into the 4x4 commercial vehicle market outside of China. However, BYD has a burgeoning portfolio and it is widely expected that vans and pick-up trucks will be a growth area for the brand in Europe. BYD already sells the BYD T3 van in some European markets including Norway, where electric vehicle uptake is currently the highest in the world.


More pick-up truck news

Nissan has opened the order books for the new Nissan Interstar van with the entry-level model priced from £33,090.

Diesel versions of the all-new Interstar will be available in two trim levels, Acenta and Tekna, with power options from 103hp to 167hp using a 2-litre turbodiesel engine. A full electric version of the Nissan Interstar Electric will follow in 2026.

Sharing its platform with the new Renault Master, Nissan will also offer a range of factory-built conversions with tipper, drop-side and box van options. There will also be several panel van versions with two possible body lengths and two roof heights allowing L2H2, L3H2 and L3H3 variants. There will also be the choice of six-speed manual transmission or nine-speed automatic gearbox.

Safety equipment levels have been improved with the new Interstar now getting a Forward Emergency Braking, Drowsiness Warning and a Tyre Pressure Monitoring System as standard. Nissan also says the reaction time for its emergency braking will be half that of the previous generation.

Nissan Interstar side view

Other standard systems include Lane Keep Assist, Lane Departure Warning, Intelligent Speed Assistance, Intelligent Emergency Braking with cyclist and pedestrian detection and Side Wind Assist.

On the inside, manual air-conditioning will be standard along with a 10.1-inch touchscreen that has been angled towards the driver to improve visibility. The Interstar also gets two large cup holders, overhead shelves and 10 open storage areas. There are also three closed areas and a multipurpose central seat-back workspace and under-seat storage box.

Top trim level Tekna vans will cost an additional £1,200 + VAT over the Acenta variants and get the following additional equipment.

Most importantly, the Nissan Interstar will come with a five-year or 100,000-mile warranty.

Pre-orders for the Interstar diesel van are open now with sales expecting to begin on 1 October 2024.

Volkswagen has taken the digital covers off its all-new VW California camper van

Previously teased as the California Concept last year, the new California is based on the current Multivan platform. That's because from the end of this year, the Volkswagen Transporter will utilise the Ford Transit Custom chassis and be built in Turkey.

The new California camper is bigger than its predecessor, based on the Transporter 6.1 with a maximum headroom of nearly 2m.

It's also the first Volkswagen camper van to feature a hybrid drive train, using the petrol and electric powertrain from the Multivan, enabling the new camper to be almost self-sufficient with its own power source from the lithium-ion batteries.

"It is a worldwide icon and has a huge fanbase. Personally I'm looking forward to the new California," Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles CEO, Carsten Intra said.

Intra also confirmed that Volkswagen plans to develop the California name into its own brand, and will offer a whole host of new features. The so-called California universe will offer mechandise and experiences as well as sales and bookings.

The new California range includes three five levels, Beach, Beach Tour, Beach Camper, Coast and Ocean and comes with a new package of enhanced safety and driving assistance systems.

A California 4Motion four-wheel-drive model will also be available thanks to the hybrid powertrain.

On the inside there's a revamped interior which is now more flexible, with lightweight seats and some smart new packaging systems. There is of course the usual cooking and washing facilities.

"It's a true sports utility vehicle," said Albert Kirzinger, Volkswagen Commercial Vehicle head of design.

The all New California is based on the modular transverse matrix (MQB) platform used in the current long-wheelbase version of the Multivan. That means it has the exact same dimensions with a 5,173mm length, up from 4,904 mm in the previous version. The width without exterior mirrors is 1,941mm and it has a total height of 1,990 mm including the lowered pop-up roof.

Sales will begin in June with the first models following shortly after in the second half of the year.

Volkswagen California trim levels in detail:

Demand for vans has risen by 5.4% in April according to the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT).

A total of 23,889 new vans, 4x4s and pickups were registered, in the month - the highest total since 2021.

Large vans weighing more than 2.5 tonnes to 3.5 tonnes were the most popular with 15,714 new van registrations, up 3.3% on the same month last year. They made up almost two thirds (65.8%) of registrations, while medium-sized vans were the second most purchased. Medium vans grew by 6.8% to 4,611 units.

The biggest percentage increase was resevered for small vans, which were up 41.1% however they still have just a 2.5% share of the market.

Pick-up truck sales rose, by 16.2% to 2,487 units. Deliveries of new commercial 4x4s fell by 17.6% to 473 units.

Electric van sales continued to stall last month, with new battery electric van sales falling to 861 units. That's a drop of 42.4% compared with last year.

As a whole electric vans made up just 3.6% of all new LCV registrations compared with 6.6% in April last year.

Experts predict the new van market to grow by 3.3% to 353,000 units this year. However, the demand for electric vans has been revised downwards from 9.4% to 8.3%.

BEV volumes are still expected to rise by 44.1% in 2024 to 29,000 units.

Speaking about the registrations for new vans, Mike Hawes, SMMT Chief Executive, said, "Britain’s new van market continues to grow with the very latest, more fuel efficient models driving down CO2. Manufacturers are investing billions to bring electric vehicles to market, however, uptake is slowing and urgent action is needed. If government is serious about delivery of its ambitious targets, it must deploy an equally bold strategy for delivering van-suitable public chargepoints across the UK."

Toyota has revealed the starting price for its Dakar Rally-inspired Toyota Hilux GR Sport II with order books now open.

The top of the range Hilux will cost £49,750 inc VAT, putting it in a similar price bracket to a recently launched Ford Ranger Wildtrak X. The price for the GR Sport II is £41,523, excluding VAT.

As part of the package there's entirely new suspension with a wider track to improve handling. Styling changes include new 17-inch black alloys and an aero sports bar.

Power remains unchanged with the current line-up's 2.8-litre engine producing 201bhp and 500Nm of torque. This is the same engine used in the Toyota Hilux Invincible X which is the top-of-the-range pick-up model in the standard range.

The £50k on the road price is also a whopping £10,000 more than the next model down in the range, the Hilux Invincible X. The price puts in on a par with the £49,000 Wildtrak X - which uses the 2-litre bi turbo engine - and slightly behind the £53,000 Wildtrak the V6 engine.

The inside gets a new Toyota Smart Connect+ multimedia system which includes Apple CarPlay and Android Auto smartphone connectivity as well as a nine-speaker JBL audio system.

Van Reviewer has already been behind the wheel of the new GR Sport II Hilux and was suitably impressed by the new suspension changes. The wider track does improve handling, especially on road where the Hilux now feels far more engaged than the standard model. The increased ride height also gives it a slight performance boost off-road - although the gains are no where near as noticeable as they are on-road.

Toyota also claims the new setup delivers less noise and vibration, which we can confirm.

The improved suspension also enables the new GR Sport II to claim some small wins on the off-roading capabilites, in terms of the numbers it can tackle. The approach angle has increased from 29 to 30 degrees, while the ride height boost of 20mm has improved ground clearance slightly. The front and rear tracks have also been increased by 140mm and 150mm, respectively.

Read the full review of the Toyota Hilux GR Sport II below:

Ineos Automotive has launched their newest commercial variant of the Ineos Grenadier Commercial in the UK.

The new van model replaces the current two-seat version of the Utility Wagon and gets a fully flat load floor with partition bulkhead and steel rear quarter windows that complies with the N1 vehicle classification. No rear windows, and permanently disabled seat mounting positions are needed for tax purposes as a commercial vehicle. That means the Grenadier Commercial will now comply fully with HRMC, no questions asked, and customers can reclaim the VAT and pay the flat rate commercial vehicle levels of (BIK) tax.

The new Grenadier Commercial is available with the same 3-litre petrol or diesel engines from BMW and a four-wheel-drive system. Grenadier Commercial has a 2m3 load volume, can carry a standard 1,200mm x 800mm Euro pallet, and has maximum payload of 871kg for petrol models and 796kg for diesel models.

On top of its internal loadspace credentials, the Grenadier Commercial gets a 3.5-tonne towing capacity and 5.5 tonnes of winching power - for recovering itself or other vehicles.

Rear view of Ineos Grenadier Commercial showing aluminium panels and blacked our rear glazing

As mentioned, the rear passenger windows are replaced with aluminium panels and there's also blacked out glazing on the rear doors.

Unlike previous two-seat Utility Wagon models, the chassis mounting points for the second row of seats have been disabled to ensure that the load area cannot be re-converted back into a five seater vehicle.

As a result, Grenadier Commercial is HMRC compliant as a commercial vehicle, rather than a passenger car allowing individuals or businesses that are VAT-registered to reclaim the current 20% tax.

Built on a box-section ladder frame chassis with solid beam axles, it has a two-speed transfer case and up to three locking differentials.

The Grenadier Commercial will be built in Hambach, France, at the manufacturing facility INEOS Automotive acquired from Mercedes-Benz in January 2021, with conversion undertaken in the UK by Pontypool-based engineering specialists EDC Limited.

Order books are now open, and prices for the Grenadier Commercial will start at £51,931 excluding VAT.

Rear loadspace with flat floor and steel mesh grille in Ineos Grenadier Commercial
Full specifications

Van insurance has risen by 33.2%, that’s according to the latest Consumer Intelligence Van Insurance Price Index report.

The latest annual increase is lower than the 35.9% recorded last year and in the last three months quoted premiums rose by 3.3% which is the lowest quarterly increase across the last five quarters.

Most van insurance policies cost between £750 and £999 according to the report data for March, with 18% of all insurance quotes for vans falling within that range. The next most common price was between £500 to £749 where 17% of quotes were recorded.

According to Consumer Intelligence, the rising cost of claims and repairs fuelled by increased prices for replacement parts continues to drive inflation in quoted premiums.

“The rising costs of claims in relation to the increased price of sourcing replacement vehicle parts and completing repairs has pushed van insurance premiums higher. However, the recent two quarters movements suggest that the rate of inflation is showing signs of slowing,” Laura Vas, senior insight analyst at Consumer Intelligence, said.

Amazingly, young van drivers haven’t fared as badly as the rest of the market, with a considerably lower increase in premiums. However, young van drivers were already paying massive insurance premiums.

Van drivers under 25 has the smallest increase in premium quotes with a 20.8% hike, compared to 36.6% for the over-50s. Van drivers aged between 25 and 49 saw an increase in quotes by 34.7% for their insurance premiums.

Of course, insurance prices for young van drivers have been at higher levels for years and just 7% of the under-25s found a quote of less than £1,000 which compares to 44% of those aged between 25 and 49. A massive majority of the over 50s managed to find a cheaper insurance quote with, 65% getting prices below the £1,000 level.

Average quoted van insurance prices have more than trebled in the past 10 years. They have risen by 202% since April 2014. Premiums for the under-25s have also doubled but for anyone aged between 25 and 49 the price has gone up by 224% - the highest of any group. The over 50s have seen an increase of 217%.

First details and pictures of the MAN TGE have been released with more safety and driver assistance systems and revised cabin.

The new model for 2025 still shares its underpinnings with the Volkswagen Crafter and has not had any dramatic changes to its appearance but under the skin the new MAN TGE gets 11 new assistance systems bringing the total to 27.

Production will begin in June with a new limited edition launch model. The MAN TGE Next Level Edition will get piano black mirrors, a special pale copper metallic paint, silver boomerangs in the bumper, 17-inch alloy wheels in silver or black, and a “Next” badge in the grille.

New control units as well as new radar sensors and cameras have allowed MAN to add many more ADAS (Advanced Driver Assistance Systems) to the van. There’s now Blind Spot Warning and Drive Off Warning, both of which are standard on all MAN TGEs over 3.5 tonnes. Other new assistance systems include Cruise Assist, Cruise Assist Plus and Turn Assist.  

Standard equipment levels have been improved for the MAN TGE Next Level. All TGE vans will come with Fatigue Detection, Traffic Sign Information, Intelligent Speed Assist, Emergency Brake Assist, Parking Assist, Active Lane Guard System, Cruise Control and Tyre Pressure Monitoring System.

Vans under 3.5-tonnes will also get a passenger airbag and an accident recording system as standard.

No changes have been made under the bonnet, with the same 2-litre turbo diesel engine and choice of manual or 8-speed automatic transmissions.

The previous 102hp entry-level engine, however, will no longer be offered due to a lack of customer demand. That means there will be just three power outputs of 140hp, 163hp and 177hp. It will be followed up with a 202hp front-wheel-drive model.

On the inside there is a new MAN Media Van infotainment system with three versions of the infotainment system to choose from.

The standard MAN Media Van has a 10.4-inch screen, the same screen size is also available with navigation where it is called the MAN Media Van Navigation. The highest spec interior is the MAN Media Van Navigation Business with a 12.9-inch screen.

The cabin now includes an inductive charging cradle for wireless smartphone charging as well as wireless smartphone mirroring. Other new standard features include Keyless Go, electronic parking brake and two USB-C ports.

When is it on sale?

Order books of the Model Year 2024 van have now closed and reopened for the new TGE Next Level version. Production will start in June with the first vehicle deliveries expected in July in Europe.

What about an electric MAN eTGE van?

Executives at MAN have confirmed that the TGE will not be available as a fully electric model any time soon. They say they are working on the future of the TGE range and looking to offer an eTGE in the future. This is hardly surprising given that Volkswagen – who make the TGE for MAN – has already confirmed that it will not be introducing an electric version of the eCrafter until 2028.

TGE turning into a street with cars and cyclist

What is the new standard equipment?

What about the upgraded safety systems?

Active Lane Guard System – helps the driver to keep the vehicle in lane by correcting steering interventions.

Parking assist – the parking aid uses parking distance sensors to monitor the area in front of and behind the vehicle and supports the driver when parking. A new feature is that emergency braking is automatically initiated in the event of an imminent collision.

Fatigue Detection – indicates to the driver both visually in the instrument cluster and on the MAN Media Van screen, as well as haptically with a brief tightening of the seat belts, a short or long-term loss of attention.

Traffic Sign Information – informs the about traffic signs detected by cameras or determined from navigation and route data. If the speed limit is exceeded, the driver is warned visually and acoustically.

Intelligent Speed Assist – determines the speed limit from the activated speed limiter, recorded traffic signs and predictive route data and automatically decelerates to the speed limit.

Emergency Brake Assist – helps to avoid collisions with vehicles in front.

What are the new safety assistance systems?

Completely new, optional driver assistance systems are the Turning Assist and Cruise Assist Plus (including Emergency Assist). Changes have also been made to Park Steering Assist, the Rear View Camera with dynamic guidance lines, ACC Stop & Go and Emergency Assist.

Turn Assist – helps to avoid head-on collisions with oncoming vehicles by automatically braking when turning into the opposite lane.

Park Steering Assist – supports the driver when parking in parallel and perpendicular parking spaces.

ACC Stop & Go – a semi-automated control of acceleration and braking processes based on the speed set by the driver.

Active Lane Guard System and Traffic Jam Assist – also controls acceleration and braking based on the speed set by the driver or the distance to the vehicle in front. It also corrects steering movements to keep the vehicle in lane.

Emergency Assist – continuously monitors the driver's activity on the accelerator pedal, steering and brakes. If there is no driver activity in an exceptional situation Emergency Assist can take over vehicle control to bring the vehicle to a standstill and call the emergency services.

Cruise Assist – combines the functions of ACC Stop & Go, Active Lane Guard System and Traffic Jam Assist to help the driver maintain distance, speed and lane position.

Cruise Assist Plus – consists of the functions of ACC Stop & Go as well as Emergency Assist, Active Lane Guard System and Traffic Jam Assist.

Lane Change Assist – supports the driver when changing lanes by actively monitoring the surrounding area and now comes with a significantly larger detection range.

What equipment is standard?

STANDARD ASSISTANCE SYSTEMSOPTIONAL ASSISTANCE SYSTEMS
Traffic Sign Information  Rear View Camera
Cruise Control Cruise ControlEmergency Assist
Parking Assist  Traffic Jam Assist
Active Lane Guard System  ACC Stop & Go
Fatigue Detection  Cruise Assist
Blind Spot Warning [N2]  Cruise Assist Plus
Drive Off Warning [N2]Turning Assist
Emergency Brake AssistLane Change Assist
Tyre Pressure Monitoring System  Blind Spot Warning [N1]
Intelligent Speed Assist  Drive Off Warning [N1]
 Park Steering Assist

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