Powering Connect is a choice of two 1.8 litre turbodiesels or a 1.8 litre 16v petrol unit. Even the smallest van can easily take two Euro 1 pallets lengthways. There's no doubt that Connect will be a sure-fire winner, but watch for special run-out deals on the Courier and Escort models.
Connect is a direct rival to Vauxhall's excellent new Combo (centre right). It boasts the lowest running costs in its class ­ 8.23p per mile over 90,000 miles and three years. It's a superb all-round choice, although both the Citro뮠Berlingo and Peugeot's Partner (identical vans apart from badging) boast the better diesel engine line up.
If it's value for money and volume you're after, Fiat's Doblo Cargo takes some beating. Also new are the people-carrier spin-offs: Citro뮧s Dispatch, Fiat's Scudo and Peugeot's Expert. These are a common design differing in engine line-ups and assorted trim details, but the Citro뮠and the Fiat are the more appealing due to their new common rail turbodiesel engines.
That great British institution LDV soldiers on with its dated but respected Pilot (a similar size to the above, more modern MPV-based vans) and the larger, beefier Convoy line-ups. What they lack in design refinements they make up for in value for money ­ and improved aftersales package. Don't forget LDV also markets a rebadged Nissan Vanette, the Cub, a mid-sized van that's more modern to drive than the similar-sized Pilot but with a sluggish 2.3 litre diesel engine.
Recently revamped is the popular Sevel trio: Peugeot Boxer, Citroë® Relay (bottom) and Fiat Ducato. All feature improved diesel engines and a punchier 2.3 common rail replacing the 2.8.
Since its launch last year, Renault's stylish Trafic has won numerous awards. It also gave Vauxhall a vital addition to its van line up with the Vivaro ­ a rebadged Trafic.
Renault's impressive Master van is cloned as Vauxhall's Movano, too, and now there's another alternative from Nissan, controlled by Renault! Called the Nissan Interstar, it differs slightly in parts, with a smaller range but a higher-brow image. Expect a rebadged Trafic marketed as the Primstar by 2003.
If you want something more pocket-sized, then there are three microvans to consider: the Suzuki SuperCarry, the Piaggio Porter and the Daihatsu Hijet. The latter pair are the same van, with the Porter being marketed by Reliant. The Porter is diesel powered (1.4/38bhp) while the Hijet is petrol-powered (1.3/64bhp). re is also an LPG option.