Renault Master F1 transporter

Vans you can’t hire – Renault Master F1 transporter

Renault Master F1 transporter

This bespoke Renault Master conversion is being used to transport Renault Formula One cars.

These days, you can hire most popular types of van. But there are some models that are just a bit special and are usually only available if you’re prepared to buy one.

A good example of this is the Renault Formula One team’s new van-based F1 car transporter. Based on the Renault Master large van, this custom-built vehicle carrier is used to transport Formula One cars all over Europe.

Renault F1 car in transporter

It’s a tight squeeze, but with the car’s nose removed the Renault F1 car will fit in this 3.5t van!

I should point out that the cars transported in this new transporter are only show cars. These are static display models based on last year’s R.S.17 car. They have the current livery, but have had their R.E.17 engines removed.

However, the new transporter has turned out to be so useful that it has been used to transport ‘live’ F1 cars to testing and to collect and deliver vehicles that are being worked on at local suppliers.

Renault F1 previously used a tow vehicle and trailer, a contractor or even a 40-tonne lorry to transport its show vehicles. This new solution is cheaper, more manoeuvrable and quicker to unload than any of these. The team says a car can be unloaded by a single person in just 15 minutes.

Unloading Renault F1 car from van transporter

Unloading is quick and easy with the help of a powerful 10.6KN electric winch.

Despite the big body, payload isn’t a problem. The transporter offers a payload of 844kg, which is ample for a show car (350kg) or a race car (700kg). It can also be driven on a normal car licence, increasing the number of team personnel who can drive the van.

This success story highlights a theme we’ve discussed before — having the right-sized van for the job is crucial. Too big is wasteful and expensive. To small is unusable. Kudos to Renault’s converters for devising this neat solution.

Questor Insurance logo

Black Friday discount – SAVE 10% at Questor Insurance [EXPIRED]

Questor Insurance logoGreat news! It’s Black Friday and Questor Insurance is offering customers a fantastic 10% discount on car and van hire excess protection policies.

This is a great chance to lock in a low rate and save £££, even if you’re not planning to hire a van for another few months. This fantastic discount is valid from 20 November 2018 until 25 November 2018.

Here are the details:

THIS DISCOUNT CODE HAS NOW EXPIRED — check out our Van Hire Excess Protection page for the latest deals.

Terms and conditions may apply. See Questor website for details.

Europcar Vauxhall Vivaro Sportive

Europcar upgrades hire fleet with Vivaro Sportive vans

Europcar Vauxhall Vivaro Sportive

Europcar now has Vauxhall Vivaro Sportive vans for hire.

Customers of van hire giant Europcar can now choose to rent a high-specification Vauxhall Vivaro Sportive van.

These generously-equipped vans have been added to the firm’s fleet as part of an upgrade aimed at attracting drivers who need a mobile office space, not just a load carrier.

Vauxhall Vivaro Sportive cab

The middle seat of the Vivaro Sportive can be folded flat to form a desk large enough for a laptop or paperwork. It’s an ideal choice for van drivers who also manage sales on the move or have complex paperwork to handle.

“Adding the Vauxhall Vivaro Sportive to our fleet shows our commitment to reviewing and upgrading our offering to meet the constantly evolving demands of UK businesses”, explained Stuart Russell, Director Commercial Vehicles, Europcar Mobility Group in the UK.

Other treats in-store for Vivaro Sportive drivers include a leather-covered steering wheel, cruise control and rear parking sensors. All popular extras that make life easier or more comfortable for regular drivers.

A new model is coming

As a result of PSA Group’s acquisition of Opel/Vauxhall, the current model is due to be replaced by a new Vivaro based on a PSA (Peugeot/Citroen) vehicle platform in 2019.

I suspect the introduction of the Sportive to Europcar’s fleet may also be due to the fact that the current model Vivaro is now in run-out mode.

Manufacturers tend to offer good deals on high-spec vehicles when a model is nearing replacement as a way of boosting sales. And high-spec models like the Sportive are likely to have stronger resale value when the time comes for Europcar to move them on.

The good news is that the new PSA-based Vivaro will still be built at Vauxhall’s Luton plant, preserving its Made in Britain status. Indeed, PSA plans to upgrade the Luton factory to increase production capacity from 60,000 to 100,000 vans per year.

Questor Insurance logo

Questor Insurance EXCLUSIVE discount code – save 7.5% [EXPIRED]

Questor Insurance logo

Great news! We have another exclusive discount code for Questor Insurance car and van hire excess protection.

This service can be a great way to cut the cost of car and van hire. Questor’s insurance is sometimes much cheaper than the additional insurance sold by the rental firms.

With most companies charging an excess fee of £500-£1,000 on van hire, we believe protecting your excess is essential when hiring a van.

Here are the details:

This discount code has now expired. Please check our Van Hire Insurance page for the latest special offers.

Terms and conditions may apply. See Questor website for details.

The new 2019 Vauxhall Combo

New Vauxhall Combo should tick boxes for van hire

The new 2019 Vauxhall Combo

The new 2019 Vauxhall Combo

The latest version of the popular Vauxhall Combo small van will reach UK showrooms in December. I suspect it will be a popular choice with van hire companies too, albeit with tough competition from the Ford Transit Connect.

It’s new: It’s the first new Combo model since Peugeot owner PSA group brought the Vauxhall and Opel businesses one year ago. The new van is based on the same vehicle as the Citroen Berlingo and Peugeot Partner vans, but is designed and adapted by Vauxhall to be a distinct model.

Short, long & 1 tonne: Among the highlights of the new Combo are a maximum payload of 1,000kg and a maximum loading length of 3.4m, achieved by folding down part of the front passenger seat. Crew cab and long wheelbase models will also be available.

Combo with pallet loaded

The new Combo can carry two standard euro pallets and has a payload of up to 1,000kg, depending on variant.

Petrol or diesel: As is increasingly the norm, buyers will be able to choose from both petrol and diesel engines. This gives operators using the van for low mileages or short journeys the chance to buy petrol and avoid problems with Diesel Particulate Filters, which are unsuited to such use.

Diesels will be available with 75PS, 100PS or 130PS power ratings. Buyers opting for the range-topping 1.5-litre 130PS diesel will also be able to specify an eight-speed automatic transmission for the first time.

Lower-powered models will get a 1.6-litre diesel with a five-speed manual transmission. No details were provided in the launch press kit about the petrol engines, so it seems Vauxhall isn’t expecting much interest in this model.

Plenty of tech: The new van will have the usual array of safety kit. Like its French siblings, the new Combo will be available with a sensor-based load indicator that warns the driver if the van is overloaded.

Android Auto and Apple CarPlay will also be available.

Vauxhall Combo interior

Inside the new Combo has been redesigned and boasts plenty of storage and modern tech, including a touch screen.

The new Vauxhall Combo is available to order now and should reach UK showrooms in December. Prices start from £15,630 +VAT.

London Low Emission Zone sign

Hiring a van is easiest way to cut emissions

London Low Emission Zone sign

The London LEZ already covers most of the area inside the M25 and is set to become stricter, with a new Ultra-Low Emission Zone planned inside the North/South Circular from 2021.

I’ve often talked about the cost advantages of renting a van for occasional van users. But the environmental gains are equally exciting.

Data released by the British Vehicle Rental & Leasing Association (BVRLA) to mark Green GB Week show that 56% of the UK’s van rental fleet already meets the latest Euro VI emissions standard.

In contrast, just 13% of the UK’s van fleet as a whole is Euro VI. Of course, one reason for this is that the leasing and rental sector is one of the biggest buyers of new vans in the UK. After 2-4 year, most of these vans are then sold into the secondhand market.

But the reality is that buying a cheap, old van seems to be a poor choice, environmentally, compared to occasionally renting a nearly-new van.

This has implications for drivers wanting to travel into the expanding London ULEZ and potentially into other planned Clean Air Zones. Keeping an old van parked up for occasional use in cities could cost you dearly if planned charges are introduced. Plus it’s likely to cost you more to run (and more headaches) than an occasional rental.

Even if you don’t venture into our major cities, you’ll probably be concerned about minimising your impact on air quality, which is already dangerously poor in many areas of the UK.

Our independent van hire price comparison engine allows you to compare van hire prices from most of the UK’s main rental firms. If you’re considering the cost of van hire, why not take a look?

New Peugeot Partner van

New ‘Overload’ feature could soon be standard for hire vans

New Peugeot Partner van

The new Peugeot Partner van is available with an Overload Indicator that warns when the van has exceeded its maximum authorised mass.

For hire van drivers, it’s often very difficult to know whether their van has been overloaded. This is especially true if the goods being carried are mixed, such as tools, building supplies and equipment or perhaps household possessions.

It’s all very well to say that drivers are responsible for knowing the weight of the stuff they’re carrying — although it’s true, the reality is that it isn’t always easy to find out. And finding an open weighbridge close to your route is often even harder.

This could be the solution

I’ve been writing about this problem on since 2007!

But while our price comparison system has come a long way in that time, vans have remained far too easy to overload. Indeed, the problem seems to have worsened, and drivers can face serious fines if caught.

What I think is needed is for vans to be fitted with a load sensor that detects when the van has reached its maximum authorised mass. Aftermarket systems have been readily available for some time, but some new vans are starting to be fitted with this feature as standard.

Among the first to benefit are the new Peugeot Partner and Citroen Berlingo vans. These small vans benefit from a payload of up to 1,000kg. All-new third-generation models are now available to order. They are available with an (optional) Overload Indicator which warns the driver when the van has exceeded its maximum authorised mass (i.e. when it’s overloaded).

These models aren’t yet available from hire companies. But they will be soon.

In my view, this is such a useful feature that I expect it to become much more widely available on new vans over the next few years. It should also make it easier for employers and van operators to comply with their duty of care responsibilities.

In the meantime, if your local van hire company (or your employer) is ordering some of the new Peugeot Partner or Citroen Berlingo vans, make sure you ask whether they’re specifying the Overload Indicator!

BT Fleet 250,000 Luton Vivaro

Luton plant celebrates 250,000 landmark for Vivaro van

BT Fleet 250,000 Luton Vivaro

250,000 2nd generation Vauxhall Vivaro vans have been built at the firm’s Luton plant.

The Vauxhall Vivaro is a popular choice with van hire companies, tradesmen and fleets. Built at the firm’s Luton plant, it’s one of only a handful of mass-produced commercial vehicles that can honestly claim to be Built in Britain.

Staff at the Vauxhall plant recently celebrated the production of the 250,000th second generation Vivaro built at Luton. Fittingly, the landmark model was handed over to Vauxhall’s biggest Vivaro customer, BT Fleet Solutions.

BT Fleet has bought no fewer than 25,000 Vivaro vans from Vauxhall over the last 14 years, so it seems fair to assume that the model works well for the firm. Indeed, you’d have to assume that such a big buyer might even have had input into the design and specification of this popular model.

The next Vivaro

The current Vivaro could be the last ‘true’ mid-sized Vauxhall van. The sale of the Opel/Vauxhall business to Peugeot/Citroen owner PSA Group means that the replacement model is likely to built on a PSA platform that’s shared with other group models.

The good news is that PSA has already committed to build the new Vivaro at Luton and plans to upgrade the factory’s production capacity from 60,000 to 100,000 vehicles per year by mid-2019.

Northgate VW Transporter at Nurburgring

Hire van sets new lap record at Nürburgring

VW Transporter at Nurburging

Rob Austin’s stock Volkswagen Transporter hire van has set a new unofficial lap record of the Nurburgring

A standard production model Volkswagen Transporter supplied by Northgate Vehicle Hire has set a new unofficial lap record around the legendary Nürburgring Nordschleife race circuit.

The van was piloted by British Touring Car driver Rob Austin, who is normally found behind the wheel of a highly-tuned Alfa Romeo Giulietta.

Rob took some time off his day job to try and beat 10 minute 8 second time set by German racer Sabine Schmitz in a Ford Transit for Top Gear in 2005.

Northgate VW Transporter at Nurburgring

Rob succeeded and clocked up a 9m58s lap, setting an unofficial new record:

As far as I know, this is a record for a standard van. But I do remember that back in 2013, tuning firm Revo souped up an earlier VW Transporter and squeezed out a 9 minute 57 second lap at the ‘Ring:

And finally, no discussions of ‘Ring lap records in vans would be complete without including footage of Sabine Schmitz’s legendary 2005 lap for Top Gear, which she completed in 10m 8s in a rather slower Ford Transit:

You’ve got to love the footage of a Transit van passing fast cars and motorbikes on the Nurburging. Just goes to show that most of the time, speed is about the driver, not the vehicle.

Moving house with a van

Heading back to uni? Don’t leave home without renting a van

Moving house with a van

Shifting your stuff is much easier in a van than in your parents’ car! Think about sharing with an older driver to avoid age restrictions.

It’s that time again. Students are flocking back to university with all of their ‘stuff’. If this is you — or your son/daughter — then it’s time to start thinking about renting a van.

To help you get on the road and enjoy a stress-free journey #backtouni, we’ve put together some links to help you get started with van hire:

  • To get started, check out our student van hire guide. This includes details of minimum age restrictions at popular hire companies and other useful tips.
  • One-way van hire: this can be a great solution for students old enough to drive themselves back to uni. We highlight some of the main companies offering this service and explain what you need to know.
  • Got questions about driving licence requirements or age limits? This guide should help.
  • Insurance worries? The excess on rental vans is generally £1,000 or more. So purchasing excess protection insurance can help. Most hire companies sell this by the day, but it’s sometimes cheaper to buy it yourself beforehand — see here for ideas and discount codes.
  • First time? Check out our van size guide and our guide to hiring a van for the first time.
  • Finally… if you haven’t driven a van before, don’t leave home without taking a look at our guide to driving a hire van for the first time.

Once you’re ready to book, our unique van hire price comparison engine enables you to compare prices from many of the UK’s largest and most popular van hire companies.

Please don’t leave it too late — as term starts near popular sizes of van are often booked and some companies may raise their prices…

We hope our tips will get you on the road safely, cheaply and quickly. But if you’ve got any van hire questions, please don’t hesitate to get in touch on Twitter @vanrentaluk, via our Facebook page or by good old-fashioned email.