Building contractors (especially the self-employed and small companies), landscapers and house furnishers, among others, have been doing really well in the strange times we all live in. So logically, their commercial vehicles were everywhere, working overtime. Here’s a diverse collection of them, caught over the past months.
2013 Renault Trafic 2.0 dCi with a 2006 Hapert tandem axle flatbed trailer.
Oh look, that’s an interesting full-size van project, inside the shed.
2018 Peugeot Expert 2.0 BlueHDi and 2017 Mercedes-Benz Vito 109 CDI (1.6 liter), both are FWD vans. The same Peugeot can also be seen in the first picture, on the left.
2019 Renault Master 2.3 dCi box truck with a cantilever liftgate, RWD and with dual rear wheels. There’s a 2007 Chrysler Grand Voyager 2.8 CRD van-conversion hiding behind the Renault truck. It’s powered by a VM Motori, four-cylinder turbodiesel; the same 2.8 liter engine was also available in the Jeep Wrangler~Cherokee/Liberty and Dodge Nitro.
Over to Mercedes-Benz with this 2016 Vito 114 CDI (2.1 liter). Unlike the red Vito further above, this one is RWD, like all more powerful Vito models.
2012 Sprinter 316 CDI (2.1 liter) single cab panel van with a low roof…
…and a 2016 Sprinter 313 BlueTEC (2.1 liter) double cab panel van with a high roof, in a more outstanding and daring color scheme and with the long(est) wheelbase of 433 cm (170.3”).
Parked right in front of the renovation jobsite, a 2016 Renault Trafic 1.6 dCi with a rather short tandem axle trailer.
The cab and entire FWD-drivetrain from a 2005 Renault Master 3.0 dCi.
Chassis- and coachbuilder Coxx produced everything behind the cab, with this market vendor’s mobile shop as the end product.
2006 Hyundai H200 2.5 TCI. Tough vans!
2019 Ford Transit Custom 2.0 EcoBlue TDCi. The FWD, missing link between the compact Transit Connect and the full-size Transit.
A house furniture hauler, this 2016 Ford Transit 2.2 TDCi box truck with a cantilever liftgate. Such chassis-cabs must have underride guards, as seen here on the right side.
A Henra tandem axle flatbed trailer, coupled to a 2006 Volkswagen Transporter T5 2.5 TDI. A paver’s combo, all too obvious. Now you can perfectly see what such trailers are used for and why dropsides are so darn handy.
Interesting, this 2010 Iveco Daily 40C18 double cab tractor with a Veldhuizen tandem axle, lowbed semi-trailer. The nose on the right is from a 2009 SsangYong Rexton van-conversion with a license-built, five-cylinder Mercedes-Benz turbodiesel under its hood.
Another Iveco Daily tractor, a late model, with a semi-trailer. Going around the roundabout, with a Manitou telehandler as its main load.
The tour’s last rig, a 2015 Iveco Daily 35C17 panel van. Body-on-frame and RWD, this one with dual rear wheels. The Daily is the heaviest European, full-size van.
The Iveco is towing a 2007 Hapert dump trailer. For this occasion, removable fences have been placed on top of the usual dropsides. A landscaper’s combo, all too obvious.
Funny that the H200 had that name over there.
Here in Portugal they were called the H-1 until the current gen, which they called Starex (rarely seen, sales fell off a cliff) and then pulled out of the van market here for a long time.
Then a couple years ago they rejoined the Portuguese van market, brought the H350 big van (that sells reasonably well) and the very same Starex, but renamed it H-1 again
Funny indeed. Selling the same van on the same continent with another model designation…unless pronouncing H200 in Portugese sounds unintentionally “funny”. We all know some other examples.
H-1 in Australia too.
The market vendor truck looks crazy and impossibly long! I think over here in the States some traditionalists think FWD work trucks aren’t up to the job like RWD. Worries mostly surround the transmissions and front suspensions holding up. Since 2013 we’ve seen the Fiat Ducato’s here sold as Ram trucks in all manner of configurations. Obviously the European trucks you always show us prove them wrong! Always enjoy your features Johannes!
Dimensions Renault-Coxx market vendor truck, according to its registration:
Overall length: 1,026 cm (33’8”)
Wheelbase (first to last axle): 642 cm (21’1”)
Width: 226 cm (89”)
Thanks, Johannes! You know me, the old truck sales person. I love the pictures and the data.
Quite the smorgasbord, and yes that mobile vendor’s Master is absolutely huge! I love all of these in their different sizes and variations aft of the front seats.
We are seeing the Metris (a version of your Vito) now rolling out as a new USPS delivery vanlet. They took the Mercedes star off the front and replaced it with a big round Eagle badge (the USPS symbol) and removed all other badging – I’m sure they were probably the lowest bidder and it’s likely a good choice but it’s a little surprising to me that the USPS would buy an imported truck from a foreign brand in volume (although its possible they are built alongside the Sprinter in CKD form). They are even right hand drive (which may have precluded the domestics from bidding?), and apparently the contract is for about 30,000 of them. I’ve seen a few about town here so far with no doubt more to come.
Interesting info, and quite the contract! Can’t say that the Vito/Metris has made huge inroads into our postal/government services, unlike the VW Transporter (since ages).
Yet the Sprinter has the upper hand in our market for full-size ambulances. (photo courtesy of Visser Ambulances Leeuwarden & M. Kraan)
Sprinters are fairly common here (at least my city) for ambulances too but as a cutaway with a wider rear section.
Heavy-duty, with dual rear wheels!
Ambulances beyond the Sprinter-segment are called MICU (I just learned that), Mobile Intensive Care Unit. Like the Volvo FL below (ambulance body by Visser Leeuwarden, just like the Sprinter above).
The latest Micu in the Netherlands is based on a Sprinter cutaway made bij Tulatech in Germany.
Interesting about that Metris purchase by the USPS. In all, a total of 17,310 Metris vans and more than 7,100 Dodge ProMasters will be swapped out for Grumman LLVs, Chevrolet Uplanders and Dodge Caravans over the next three years.
But this is still all just a stop-gap, while the USPS still evaluates and decides what will be the definitive replacement for the 264k ancient LLVs.
These Metris are assembled in South Carolina, and have the 2.0 l gas turbo four.
Reading somewhere, it appears many of the carriers switching from the LLVs are not too wild about the Metris, as it’s not really designed for the same job, of curbside delivery. The door doesn’t slide open, and the way the cargo trays are arranged, and the fact that it has a wire mesh divider behind the front seats means no walking into the back from the front.
And the Mercedes logo was presumably swapped out for the Eagle because there’s still an image thing about Mercedes, folks thinking their trucks must be more expensive like the cars.
I noticed that the various trailers seem to have the wheels farther forward than I’m used to seeing. Perhaps it’s a trick of perspective–but I don’t think so.
Are they trying to reduce the tongue weight? Does having the wheels farther forward on the trailer make tight city corners easier to negotiate?
I’d be concerned about trailers wagging the tow vehicle. But obviously it’s working out OK for them.
Wild Guess with No Evidence: The wheels are farther forward because the tow vehicles can’t accept USA-style tongue loads without collapsing the rear suspension. The trailers have double axles carrying what seem to be light loads to reduce the steering/stability problems associated with light tongue loads.
But maybe I’m wrong.
Going by memory here, but European tongue weights for non-semi trailers are often around 5% of a trailer’s weight, while in North America 10% is more common. The North American solution is more demanding on tow vehicles, but allows towing at much higher speeds. European light trailers usually trigger a speed limit on their tow vehicles of around 90 km/h (55 MPH), as the risk of the trailer pushing the tow vehicle around gets unacceptably high above that speed.
Paul’s posts about The Great American Anti-Towing Conspiracy are relevant to this subject.
Yes, quite right. But unfortunately that article does not fully acknowledge that reality. I really need to update it. I’m a bit embarrassed about that now.
Some extra info:
The weight limit for standard, tandem axle (and tridem axle) trailers is 3,500 kg. For towing that kind of trailer weight, you’ll need a full-size van (like the article’s last Iveco Daily), or a decent SUV or pickup. The Renault Trafic or Benz Vito vans, for example, won’t do.
Yet my own SWB, Toyota Land Cruiser 90~Prado (curb weight 1,800 kg) is legally allowed to tow such a 3,500 kg (7,716 lbs) trailer.
To avoid any tongue weight issues, one can opt for a full trailer, see below.
More weight is possible, but then you need a heavy-duty trailer coupling, ABS and air brakes on both towing vehicle and trailer. Not to mention that a “car and trailer” driver’s license is not enough to drive such a rig.