1999 - 2003 Opel Movano

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The Movano it is Opel ’s heavy duty weapon designed to fight on the big panel van battlefield. Even it wasn’t as advanced as the new generation, the old Movano was a practical work horse with a versatile nature which help it to be suited for a wide range of commercial applications.

The old Movano was sold between 1999 and 2003 but in 2001 the entire range of engines was replaced with more efficient common rail units. At that time the offer included 1.9 liter, 2.2 liter and 2.3 liter engines with gross vehicle weights ranging from 2.8 tonnes to 3.5 tonnes and payload capacities between 1,047kg and 1,705kg.

Design

Opel Movano

With more than 10 years ago, the big panel van segment didn’t looked as stylish as now and most of the vans looked more or less the same with a boxy shape and a dull overall appearance.

The old Movano makes no exception and its short bonnet is heavily raked, sharing the same angle as the windscreen. There massive panoramic windscreen was combined with generous door windows to offer an excellent overall visibility.

The main lights didn’t receive any sort of dynamic design, but they gel well with the rest of the body. The radiator grille features a simple style and bares the company’s badge in its center. The bumper is also pretty rudimentary and enhances the utilitarian appearance of the vehicle.

The Opel Movano can swallow anything between 8 cubic metres and 14 cubic metres, and can carry payloads between 1,047kg and 1,705kg.

To make loading and unloading operations easier, the Opel Movano it’s fitted with a sliding side door and generous twin rear doors. For increased functionality, the vehicle was also available with a second sliding door as an option.

To be able do satisfy the needs of a larger, public the Opel Movano was offered with a choice of three wheelbases (short, medium and long) and three roof heights.

Interior

Opel Movano

Hop inside and you’ll find a spartan interior which even at its time looked dated. Needless to say that the plastics were rock hard and most of the materials were part of the third class. The build quality was also pretty poor and was far behind the models from Volkswagen or Mercedes.

The center console however, was pretty practical and most of the controls were placed within easy reach. The instrument cluster wasn’t something to rave about, but it was fairly clear and kept you well informed about various vehicle stats.

The driver’s seat was among the most comfortable units in its class and came with proper back support being pretty comfortable for long journeys. There were also a few useful adjustments to help you find a proper driving position.

As it was expected, the overall visibility was nothing short of excellent thanks to the big, panoramic windscreen and the thin A pillars. The lateral mirrors were also up to the task and kept you well informed about what was going on behind you.

There were plenty of useful features on offer such as air conditioning or metallic paint, but the most interesting ones weren’t offered in the standard package and you’d had to pay extra money for them.

Engines and performance

Opel Movano

The Opel Movano was never offered with petrol engines. While this lack of petrol units could sound strange to some people, the majority of vans are usually preferred with diesel engines so Opel’s decision to leave the petrol units apart makes a lot of sense.
Since 2001 the Opel Movano engines were equipped with common rail technology. The entry level 1.9 liter unit developed 82 hp and 147 lb-ft of torque, while the 2.2 liter unit was offered with 90 hp/191lb-ft and 115hp/213lb-ft.

The engines weren’t as lively as the newer vans, but at that time they were at par with their competitors.

Regardless of what engine option you’ll choose, the Movano proves a willing drive around the city and can keep it up with the traffic pretty well. When fully loaded however, even the strongest engine will act sluggish.

Opel Movano Engines Specifications

EnginePower – hpTorque – lb-ft
1.9 liter82147
2.2 liter90191
2.2 liter115213

Ride and handling

Opel Movano

At the front, the vehicle is fitted with double wishbones, while at the back it gets leaf springs. The ride is more on the hard side, but the good part is that the body roll is well kept in check and the vehicle feels well balanced permitting you to attack corners with confidence.

The old Opel Movano was also equipped with a nicely-weighted power steering which feels good at both high and low speeds.

The stopping power was assured by front and rear disc brakes, but ABS was available only as an optional feature. Moreover the standard equipment didn’t even include a driver’s airbag, but at least central locking and an engine immobiliser were available for every model.

Verdict

Opel Movano

The old Opel Movano was a rugged work horse with a spartan interior, filled with cheap plastics and doubtful materials. There is no secret that its overall ergonomy was slightly behind its rivals, but in the practicality department the vehicle was able to stack up against its rivals with dignity.

The Movano was offered with a wide range of body styles, roof heights and diesel engines which made it one of the most versatile vans in the segment. The diesel engines however were a bit sluggish and needed more power. On the other hand, the ride and handling were pretty good and the vehicle had great overall road manners.


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