The Opel Movano is a mid-sized commercial vehicle that made its debut in 1998. The vehicle is sold in the United Kingdom under the Vauxhall badge and received its latest upgrades in 2010.
The vehicle features a maximum GVW (gross vehicle weight) of up to 4500 kg and is based on the actual generation Renault Master while both generations are based on the current Renault Master. The vehicle is available in single cab or crew cab configuration and comes with front-wheel drive, rear-wheel drive and heavy-duty twin rear-wheel drive options. Moreover, all models come with a three-year/100,000 mile warranty on both the chassis and the conversion (when factory built). With a starting price of 13.000 GBP (ex taxes) the Opel Movano is one of the most affordable chassis cab models from the market.
The vehicle shares a lot of common design elements with the Renault Master and Nissan NV400 which all use the same platform. Unlike the older generation which looked a bit plane to be on anyone’s taste, the new Movano looks pretty good and the designers have struggle to combine its utilitarian nature with a less unpleasant shape.
The final result isn’t bad at all and just like its donors the Movano features a nice flowing design which copes very well with its versatile nature. At the front we find a massive radiator grille which features a chromed strip on top and other three horizontal bars underneath. The company logo is mounted on top, while the big headlights have received a vertical emplacement. The black bumper also gels well with the short raked nose and is fitted with two fog lamps which are a bit too small compared with the gargantuan stance of the vehicle.
The front-wheel drive chassis cabs and platform cabs are rated at 3500kg and provide a lower kerb weight to maximize payload capacity.
Once inside the resemblances with its French sibling are evident. In fact the only details comes from Opel is the round badge mounted on the steering wheel. The cabin is fairly spacious and on the front seats there is room for up to three passengers. The head room and leg room is also very generous and even if the middle passenger could feel a bit cramped he won’t complain that much. There is a wide range of adjustments available for the driver’s seat (height, cushion angle, reach and rake) and despite the completely flat captain chairs the driving position is pretty comfortable even for a long run.
As most of the trucks in the segment the steering wheel can also be adjusted for both reach and rake thus enhancing the comfort. Needless to say that, thanks to the high driving position the front road visibility is excellent, while thanks to the raked bottom line of the door windows the side visibility is also among the best in the segment. Moreover, the electronically adjustable door mirrors have a generous glass area and offer a good rear-side view.
The dashboard design is also pretty intuitive with an easy to use layout and plenty of storage places which are available everywhere to enhance the comfort. There is also space for A5 size documents, a built-in swing tray in the instrument panel and a host of useful compartments in the doors and overhead.
Unsurprisingly the materials are rock hard and cheap as most of the commercial vehicles available in the segment, but the fittings look good and are ready to go head to head with a good number of years without starting to rattle from any corner. However if you truly want a better build quality and nicer materials you should take a look at the Volkswagen Crafter of Mercedes Sprinter as they offer the best plastics and fittings in the segment.
Besides the easy to use controls, the vehicle’s instrument cluster is also pretty ergonomically designed and can be read without any efforts as its screen doesn’t catch any unwanted light reflections. The gear level is also located pretty nice and is easy to use.
Opel Movano Standard Features
|Height-adjustable padded head restraints|
|Inertia-reel lap and diagonal seatbelts|
|Height-adjustable outer front seatbelts|
|Remote control selective door locking|
|Electronic engine deadlock immobiliser|
|56mph (90km/h) speed limiter|
|Two 12-volt electrical accessory sockets|
|Dual front passengers’ bench seat with dump latch facility|
|Electrically operated front windows|
|Electrically adjustable/heated door mirrors|
Engines and transmissions
The Opel Movano is powered by a 2,3 liter 16-valve common rail diesel engine which is available with three output options – 100hp, 125hp and 146 hp. The Euro 5 engine delivers high levels of low-end torque and copes great with the utilitarian nature of the Movano. Despite its strong towing capacity, the engine feels a bit underpowered when it needs a fast acceleration, but instead it offers a good fuel economy and relatively rare service intervals set at 25,000 miles/year.
The engine is mated on a six-speed manual gearbox with standard ‘Shift’ indicator for enhanced efficiency. Besides the standard transmission the vehicle is also available with the six-speed Tecshift unit.
The rear wheel drive version received low gearing when a better grip is needed to deal better with the steep inclines or difficult terrains. Moreover the chassis cab version of the Opel Movano can be equipped with an engine power take-off and a transmission power take-off for specialized purposes.
Ride and suspensions
At the front, the light truck gets MacPherson suspensions with independent double wishbones, coil springs and telescopic dampers, while at the rear receives tubular axle with variable-rate single leaf springs and telescopic dampers for the front-wheel-drive model and double leaf springs or triple leaf for the rear-wheel-drive versions.
This suspension configuration makes the ride pretty comfortable and even if it can’t be compared with the one of the Volkswagen Crafter is still able to soak the bumps with minimum turbulence. However, the power assisted steering is overly light and lacks any sort of useful feedback, but it copes well with the city streets and serves the vehicle with dignity, giving it good capabilities when it comes to narrow streets or congested traffic situations.
The Opel Movano is well built for a commercial vehicle and its versatility allow it to be able to do a lot of jobs without any problems. The engines aren’t the fastest in the business, but they have a good towing capability and won’t let you down in critical situations. You’ll also like the ride and drivability around city. Comfort inside the cabin is also pretty good and you have plenty of storage places and equipments ready to offer you a pleasant ride.