Vauxhall Movano Review

Andrew Brady

Written by

Andrew Brady

Vauxhall Movano
Vauxhall Movano

1/10

1 / 10

00/10
heycar rating
"For the biggest loads around"
  • Launched: 2010
  • Van
  • Diesel

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Quick overview

Pros

  • Low loading sill with the front-wheel drive models makes it easy to load heavy goods
  • Strong engines and slick gearboxes
  • Low running costs and 25,000-mile service intervals.

Cons

  • Insubstantial-feeling plastics
  • 100PS model is underpowered on the motorway
  • ESP not fitted as standard until 2014. 

Overall verdict

On the inside

Driving

Cost to run

Prices and Specs

Common questions

Overall verdict

"The Vauxhall Movano brings the British-badged van into direct competition with the likes of the Ford Transit and Fiat Ducato."

Vauxhall Movano Front Side View

It shares almost all of its components with the Renault Master, which includes a range of fine 2.3-litre turbodiesel engines and the choice of front or rear-wheel drive.

Vauxhall has also got wise to the needs of van users by offering the Movano in a huge variety of configurations. This allows users to choose from different wheelbases, body lengths and three different roof heights. With maximum cargo capacities ranging from 8.0m3 to 17.0m3 depending on which model you choose, the Movano offers more space than the Ford Transit when comparing like for like models.

The Movano also comes with a decent spread of safety kit that includes ABS anti-lock brakes and electronic brakeforce distribution on all models. Rear-wheel drive models of Movano also have ESP traction control as standard, though it’s a shame the front-drive models missed out on this as part of their basic specification until 2014.

However, the Movano does make up for this to some extent with its generous 25,000 miles intervals between oil services, which means less down time for operators. A three-year, 100,000-mile warranty is on a par with most of the competition.

Comfort and design

"It’s quite an ascent up to the Movano’s cabin, but the benefit of this is the excellent view from the cab."

Vauxhall Movano Driver's Seat

The Movano has large door mirrors helps with rearward vision too, making the Movano easier to reverse and shuffle about in confined spaces.


The driver’s seat is a big, comfortable chair and it’s adjustable for height, as well as the usual fore and aft movement and backrest angle adjust. There’s also height adjustment for the steering wheel, helping the Movano fit almost every size and shape of driver. The foot pedals are also at the right angle and height for all-day comfort whether you’re wearing boots or shoes.


Vauxhall builds the Movano’s cabin to a good standard and we have no doubt it will prove durable in the rough and tumble of everyday working life. However, a lot of the interior plastics have hard surfaces that scratch too easily, which could soon make the Movano’s cabin look tired and scruffy. This is one area where the Vauxhall definitely loses out to the likes of the Mercedes-Benz Sprinter or Volkswagen Crafter.


However, the Vauxhall most definitely doesn’t miss out when it comes to the amount of storage there is inside the cabin. If you’re looking for somewhere to store all of the paperwork, phones, maps, drinks and general paraphernalia that accompanies the working day, the Movano has it covered. There are pockets, cubbies and boxes dotted around the cabin, including a handy overhead unit and pull-out map holder in the middle of the dash that is just where you need it when only an A-to-Z will get you where you need to be.


The driver is treated to an airbag as standard, while the two passengers on the wide bench can have an optional passenger airbag. There’s also the option of side airbags. Only rear-wheel drive versions of the Movano originally came with ESP traction control as standard. However, in 2014 Vauxhall changed this by adding ESP on Movano front-wheel drive as standard.


Moving to the cargo area of the Movano, you can pick from a wide range of panel van models thanks to different wheelbase options, varying body lengths and three choices of roof height. There are also dropside truck, double cab, chassis cab and minibus versions of the Movano on offer.


For the panel van models, cargo capacity ranges from 8.0m3 to 17.0m3, depending on which model you choose. This puts the Movano in among the most generous load carriers in this class. It can also provide maximum payload of between 994kg and 2254kg, while maximum GVW is up to 4.5-tonnes, underlining the Movano’s position as one of the heavier vans in this sector. It can also tow 2.5-tonnes or 3.0-tonnes, based on which model you choose.


There’s a sliding side door as standard with every Movano model and the front-wheel drive versions have a very low load sill when the twin side-hinged rear doors are opened. They can open to 90-degrees or 180-degrees, and the rear doors can also be extended to open flush with the side of the van.


Vauxhall has made the wheelarches of the current Movano less intrusive than its predecessor, which helps with loading larger items or pallets. There are various securing hooks and lashing eyes in the cargo bay and the Movano’s near vertical sides also help make it one of the most practical load movers in the business for shifting big items.

What other vans are similar to the Vauxhall Movano?

If we're talking about big vans there's one that rules the roost - the Ford Transit -the most popular van on sale by a country mile. There's also the excellent Volkswagen Crafter and Mercedes Sprinter along with the Citroen Relay, Nissan NV400 and Peugeot Boxer.

Engines, gearboxes and handling

"The range of 2.3-litre turbodiesel engines may not be as broad as the likes of the Ford Transit’s, but these engines are ideal for almost anyone's needs."

Vauxhall Movano Front Side View

They come in 100PS, 125PS and 146PS forms with each offering plenty of low-down shove and a big band of mid-range torque for relaxed cruising and hassle-free driving where you don’t have to constantly change gear to keep the van moving at a decent pace.


A six-speed manual gearbox is standard on all models and has a positive, slick action that puts the Vauxhall’s drivetrain refinement and well engineered feel in the same league as the Ford Transit’s. There is the option of a Techshift automatic gearbox for the two more powerful engine options. The 100PS model needs to be worked harder on the motorway than the other two, but it’s perfectly at home in the urban environment. In 2014 the 100PS unit was upgraded to 110PS, giving it marginal improvements at motorway speeds. 


The Movano can also be fitted with a biturbo version of the 2.3-litre diesel, with 136PS or 163PS. Both offer a substantial upgrade in torque, with 360Nm from 1500rpm. Braked towing capacity for all models is the same though, at 2.5 tonnes. 


The Movano makes short work of most driving situations, even when it’s loaded towards its maximum capacity. At higher speeds, the Vauxhall’s engines are quiet, helped by them running at just 2000rpm at the national speed limit. With little in the way of wind and road noise filtering through to the cabin too, the Movano makes a strong case for itself as a van for those who travel long distances as its excellent refinement means less fatigue at the end of a busy day.


On tighter urban or rural roads, the Movano’s tight turning circle and well weighted, positive steering prove a further boon to driving pleasure and usability. There seems no discernible difference in steering feel or turning circle between the front and rear-wheel drive versions of the Movano. 


The only distinguishing feature that’s obvious when manoeuvring being the added length of some models means more care is needed in more compact parking areas. Large door mirrors help here, as does the excellent forward and side vision from the driver’s seat thanks to the lofty droving position in the Movano.


Whichever Vauxhall Movano you decide to buy, each enjoys suspension that makes light work of heavy going roads. It absorbs the bumps with supple ease, whether the van is fully loaded or running light, expanding the Movano’s repertoire from its previous position as more the choice of those who required a heavy van. 


When you factor in the Vauxhall’s handling that endows the vehicle with more agility than you'd think, the Movano is more fun to drive than you might expect. Again, this gives the Vauxhall an added appeal for those drivers who spend a great deal of time at the wheel.

MPG and fuel costs

"Movano ecoFLEX models are the best for fuel consumption."

Vauxhall Movano Rear Side View

Fitted with start/stop as standard, the Movano ecoFLEX 2.3 CDTi is available in two power outputs (100PS and 125PS) and wheelbases (L2H2 and L3H2). It now returns a claimed 37.2mpg with CO2 of 199g/km, a 5 per cent reduction over the outgoing model. Over the course of 80,000 miles, Movano ecoFLEX operators could save more than £700 per vehicle in fuel costs.

How well equipped is the Vauxhall Movano?

"A facelift in 2019 brought a rear vision camera system, available for the first time, gives a live feed to a seven-inch touchscreen, providing optimum visibility and helping to detect cyclists and pedestrians."

Vauxhall Movano Inside Van

A blind spot monitoring system is also new to the Movano, using ultrasonic sensors to detect objects in the blind spot and alerting the driver with LED indicators in the corresponding mirror. A lane departure warning system, which sounds an audible alarm if the driver strays from their lane, is also available.


Ask the heycar experts: common questions

Is the Vauxhall Movano any good?

The Movano also comes with a decent spread of safety kit that includes ABS anti-lock brakes and electronic brakeforce distribution on all models.

David Ross

Answered by

David Ross

Is Vauxhall Movano the same as a Renault Master?

The Vauxhall Movano is nothing more than a Renault Master with Vauxhall badges. But they did continue to be assembled at Luton long after Vauxhall stopped assembling cars there.

Dan Powell

Answered by

Dan Powell

How much weight can the Movano carry?

he Movano has the highest payload rating of any large van up to the 3.5-tonne (3,500kg) maximum gross vehicle weight you can drive on a regular car licence

Andy Brady

Answered by

Andy Brady

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