The UK’s premier commercial vehicle event returns to the Birmingham NEC on 24 April, and while there are no major new model unveilings expected, there will still be plenty of exhibits to excite attendees
1: 4×4 COMMERCIAL VEHICLES
The 4×4 commercial vehicle market has certainly been rather slim since the Land Rover Defender ceased production in 2016. The British firm has returned to it with the Discovery Commercial, and now Toyota is entering it with its new Land Cruiser commercial vehicle variant.
The Land Cruiser Commercial (pictured) takes a simple approach – it comes in one spec, with a choice of three or five doors, as either short or long-wheelbase options. Pricing starts at £27,546 and deliveries kick off in July.
There is also a chance of Mitsubishi showing off something similar. The Shogun Sport passenger car has been revealed recently, with an on-sale date of early summer, and is slightly more practical and luxurious than the regular Shogun. Given that the standard Shogun comes with a van version, a Shogun Sport commercial vehicle is pretty likely to follow.
Software gets the hard sell
Away from the metal, expect plenty in the way of apps and software geared towards helping fleet managers keep a handle on their vans. These include Leaseplan’s new Uptime Live, which uses telematics to schedule in servicing, plus an app called My Vehicle Check, which addresses duty of care and checks that a van is roadworthy.
BT Fleet is also about to release a new app that guides drivers through the steps they need to take in the case of an accident. As well as making sure that they get all the necessary details for the authorities, it also helps them to log images and details from the site.
Another technical offering comes from Intelligent Telematics. It is launching a multi-camera dash cam system that will also plug into the engine to record mpg, odometer and RPM data as clearer evidence in the case of an incident.
2: TOP-TRIM TRUCKS
The pick-up market continues to rise, and buyers are still pushing for more and more kit on their trucks. Isuzu, Mitsubishi and Toyota are all looking to give buyers what they want this year, with the trio showing off high-trim versions of their flagship pick-ups.
Toyota is set to show off a limited-edition version of the Hilux with a new front end that celebrates the 50th anniversary of the truck. Once the 150 limited editions are gone, this model will then continue as the new range-topper. Expect a wide selection of cosmetic and equipment upgrades over the current Invincible top-spec model.
Isuzu is also set to reveal a limited-edition model that will most likely sit above the current D-Max Blade range-topper. Plus, an accessory pack for the D-Max will be shown off on the stand.
Visitors to the Mitsubishi stand might be forgiven if they experience a touch of déjà vu, because the brand has released a second iteration of its L200 Barbarian SVP. The SVP II (pictured) is limited to 250 examples and has been created by Mitsubishi’s Special Vehicle Products branch (hence the SVP name). It comes with a striking two-tone paint job, with half of the run in black and the other half in grey. Both are finished with orange flashes.
As well as the various visual upgrades, which includes badging, wheelarch extensions and roof rails, the SVP II gets a generous level of tech. It’s priced from £29,830 and first deliveries start in May.
3: SPECIAL-EDITION VANS
Fiat and Volkswagen are both showing off special editions of their vans, but in very different styles. The Volkswagen Business Editions are geared towards company buyers, and are available on the Caddy panel van (pictured) and Kombi, Transporter panel van and the Crafter panel van and chassis cab models.
As the name suggests, they add kit desired by company users – an alarm, rear parking sensors and air-con on the Caddy and the same kit plus a bulkhead on the Transporter.
The Crafter gets front and rear parking sensors, an alarm, air-con, two remote folding keys and an overhead storage compartment. The packs add £950, £975 and £1,250 to the price of the three vans respectively.
Fiat is resurrecting the Sportivo trim, which brings a visual upgrade to Fiorino, Doblo, Talento and Ducato. You’ll be able to tell it apart from the standard model thanks to its black paint job and red stripe, alloy wheels and extra kit including sat nav and air con. Price premiums range from £1,500 to £3,230.
4: EUROPEAN DEBUTS
The NEC will also be the place to head to get your first look at a few versions that have appeared elsewhere but haven’t yet been shown in the UK.
First up is the rear-wheel-drive version of the MAN TGE, the truck maker’s first light commercial vehicle that was first shown in the UK at the 2017 CV Show. It is based on the VW Crafter, so there won’t be any technical changes over that. You’ve got a while to wait until the higher-capacity versions arrive, because they won’t go on sale until September.
The Ford Transit Custom (pictured) will be making its UK debut, too. The facelifted best seller was revealed late in 2017, but this is the first time UK buyers will be able to view it.
5: ELECTRIC VANS
Several manufactures are putting electric vans at the forefront of their stands this year, with Renault showcasing the Master Z.E. and Nissan showing off the eNV200 with its new 40kWh battery and extended range.
They aren’t the only manufacturers presenting electric models, though. LDV might have shown off its battery-powered vans last year, but this year they remain at the centre of the stand because the company has now opened the order books.
The CV Show wouldn’t be complete without a few converted vehicles on show, and there are bound to be a fair few around to inspect. Outside of the converters – Ingimex, Bri-Stor, CPD Bodies and more will all be there – several of the manufacturers will have their latest in-house offerings on display, too.
The new MAN Vans 2 Go range will also be shown. It consists of a Luton, a dropside and a tipper (pictured) The truck maker plans to keep around 50 to 60 of each in stock and aims to provide the short-notice requirements of fleets that need immediate delivery.
Fiat is also showing off a Ducato ambulance, while Peugeot will be exhibiting off a low-floor, high capacity Luton Boxer.
Meanwhile, Citroen will have its latest Relay Tipper on its stand.