Vauxhall Movano van review

Category: Large Van

A do-it-all large van at a middle-of-the-road price, the Vauxhall Movano may not be a class leader, but it stands out for being versatile and relatively affordable

Vauxhall Movano action front
  • Vauxhall Movano action front
  • Vauxhall Movano rear action photo
  • Vauxhall Movano interior
  • Vauxhall Movano load space
  • Vauxhall Movano side static
  • Vauxhall Movano action front
  • Vauxhall Movano rear action photo
  • Vauxhall Movano interior
  • Vauxhall Movano load space
  • Vauxhall Movano side static
What Car?’s Movano (2019) deals


What Car? says...

It’s been a decade since the Vauxhall Movano first hit the roads, yet during that time this large van hasn’t really changed all that much. This latest version, unveiled at the end of 2019, makes do with a facelift and new engines.

Based on the Renault Master van, the Vauxhall Movano is also closely related to the Nissan NV400, and has to compete against titans of the large van sectors like the Ford Transit and Mercedes-Benz Sprinter, as well as the Fiat Ducato, Citroën Relay, Peugeot Boxer and Volkswagen Crafter.

Carving out a speciality in the large van sector is tough, but the Movano can lay claim to a large array of body options, ranging from panel vans in four lengths and three heights, to 4.5-tonne chassis cabs. There is also a double cab option with seating for up to seven, as well as crew cab vans, box vans and platform cabs.

The Movano is also available in front-wheel-drive for short, standard and long bodied vans, and is available with rear-wheel-drive with single or twin rear wheels on the two largest body sizes.

Power comes from a 2.3-litre biturbo diesel engine producing 128bhp to 178bhp. A six-speed manual gearbox is fitted as standard, with the option of a Tecshift six-speed automatic also available. 

While the smaller Vauxhall Vivaro and Vauxhall Combo city vans are now built by Vauxhall’s owners PSA Group (Peugeot and Citroën), the Movano will have to wait a while longer to inherit underpinnings from the Peugeot Boxer and Citroën Relay. 

The Movano is available with gross vehicle weights (GVW) from 2.8 tonnes to 4.5 tonnes, can transport up to 2100kg (over 1500kg for a 3.5 tonne van) and has a maximum load volume of 17m3.

Inside, there is a new Intellilink 5.0 navigation system that is compatible with Android Auto and Apple CarPlay. There are also new seats with improved lumbar support and the option of an air suspended seat option for the driver. New safety features have been added too, with Side Wind Assist, lane departure warning and blindspot detection, as well as the option of a rear-view camera that's paired with a 7in screen where the rear-view mirror would be.

Read more: How we test vans


The Vauxhall Movano is a solid all-rounder in the large van segment. There’s an abundance of body lengths and engines to choose from, plus an options list that lets you tailor your needs specifically to the van.

  • Wide range of bodies and options
  • Excellent interior storage
  • Strong driving experience
  • Disappointing automatic gearbox
  • Biggest vans must be RWD
  • Uninspiring visually

Performance & drive

What it’s like to drive, and how quiet it is

Considering that the Vauxhall Movano is more than 10 years old, this latest version delivers quite a surprise package. At the heart of this is a 2.3-litre engine that's more torquey than the previous engine, making the Movano a very driveable van even when fully loaded. It’s also quieter and more refined, which means the cabin is a more relaxing place to be.

Vauxhall Movano (2019) image
Skip the showroom and find out more online

The range of engines is, however, a little confusing, as your choice is dependent on whether you want a front- or rear-wheel-drive model. Vans with power to the front wheels get 133bhp, 148bhp or 178bhp engines, while rear-drive gives you 128bhp, 143bhp and 163bhp options.

Whether you choose front- or rear-wheel-drive will depend on your intended purpose for the vans, with towing or higher payloads all needing to be considered, but of the pack our preference would be the front-wheel-drive 148bhp engine. You get plenty of power and 284lb ft of torque – just 11lb ft less than the 178bhp version.

The twin-turbo engine is, however, capable at all outputs and the 133bhp unit is worth considering as a budget option if you don’t plan on operating near maximum payload.

For a big van, fuel economy is very good too. All Movanos should comfortably return mid-30mpg fuel figures in the real world.

The six-speed auto is ponderous and at times quite punchy with its shifts, however, so be sure to test it before  finalising your order.

Overall, to drive, the Movano – like the Renault Master – is a solid all-rounder that's capable of covering many miles at a pleasingly frugal rate. While it can’t lay claim to being up their with the best handling and most comfortable vans in the sector – that title is shared by the Volkswagen Crafter and Mercedes Sprinter – it does possess a commanding seating position that gives great visibility forwards and backwards thanks to large and well positioned mirrors.

Vauxhall Movano rear action photo


The interior layout, fit and finish

The latest Movano’s interior is a major step forward over that of the previous model, being both functional and modern. That's especially true if you spec the Multimedia Navi Pro system, which adds a central screen.

Basic specifications for the Movano include Bluetooth connectivity, automatic lights and wipers, steering-mounted audio controls and a height-adjustable driver’s seat with armrest. There’s also Hill Start Assist, an Eco gearshift indicator and remote central locking with an immobiliser.

There’s no trim range as such, but rather a wide range of options can be added to the Movano so you can build a van to your liking. Popular options include rear parking sensors, a rear-view camera or surround vision. You also get the nearside blindspot mirror, as also found in Renault vans, fitted as standard in the passenger sun visor.

We’d also recommend the Convenience Pack – although it’s worth noting that you are paying for some options that come on other vans as standard. It adds a driver’s seat with lumbar support, allows the central seat on the passenger bench to fold and become a table, and adds underseat storage. One-touch down electric windows, a retractable A4 clipboard and improved bulkhead sound proofing complete the package.

The Movano also has a selection of some of the best storage solutions in the large van sector. It has a generously sized glovebox, large, useful door pockets and an overhead shelf that will take most items. If that’s still not enough then the optional underseat storage will help.

Vauxhall Movano interior

Passenger & boot space

How it copes with people and clutter

With front- and rear-wheel-drive vans that offer similar capabilities, it’s easy to get a little muddled in the details. L1, L2 or L3 length vehicles are available as front-wheel-drive vans (FWD), while L1 models can have a standard or high roof and L2 and L3 get the option of either a high or extra-high roof. Rear-wheel-drive vans (RWD) come in L3 and L4 lengths, with the choice of high and extra-high roofs.

That means that FWD vans have a maximum load volume of 14.8m3, while the RWD vans can accommodate as much as 17m3.

Maximum load length carrying capacity for L1 vans is 2583mm, for L2 vans is 3083mm, for L3 vans is 3733mm and for L4 vans is 4383mm. Maximum width across the loadspace is 1765mm, with 1380mm between the wheelarches.

Loadspace height is 1700mm for FWD L1 vans, 1894mm for L2 models and 2144mm for H3. Loading height at the rear is 557mm whereas RWD vans have a 696mm loading height. As a result, internal roof heights are a bit limited, with 1798mm for the H2 and 2048mm for the H3.

The Movano is available in a wide range of gross vehicle weights (GVW), with the smaller 2.8-tonne vans capable of moving 873kg and the largest 4.5-tonne Movano able to move 2151kg. Payloads for conventional 3.5-tonne vans range from 1226kg to 1545kg. Other variants and 3.3 tonne models are also available with payloads in excess of 1300kg.

That means the Movano is one of the better large vans for carrying weight, surpassing key rivals like the Ford Transit in most guises.

The rear loadspace gets a side loading door on the nearside, with twin rear doors that open to 180 degrees as standard. There’s also the option of 270 -degree opening rear doors. The shortest wheelbase vans get six load-lashing points, while L2 and L3 vans get eight and L4 models receive 10. Full height plywood protective lining is an option on all vans, along with a plywood floor protector. LED rear lighting is standard.

Vauxhall Movano load space

Buying & owning

Everyday costs, plus how reliable and safe it is

The Vauxhall Movano’s updated 2.3-litre engine has resulted in a significant step forward in the competitiveness of its running costs. MPG has risen across the board by as much as 8mpg, with the best performer, the 148bhp engine, officially returns 32.2mpg under the WLTP testing regime.

While the Movano’s starting price and options are mid-pack, the total cost of ownership is hampered by its 25,000 mile servicing intervals; that's relatively frequent compared with some rivals.

Safety systems in the Movano are impressive, though, with new features including Side Wind Assist and Active Emergency Braking.

With no specific trim levels to choose from, the Movano’s spec is as flexible as you want to make it, but we would encourage you to consider the Convenience Pack and the 7in touchscreen to really maximise your comfort and connectivity.

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About the author

George Barrow is one of the leading van and truck reviewers, and is the UK’s only representative on the prestigious International Van of the Year jury. He has written about vans and commercial vehicles for the past 15 years, and can be found in titles including The Sun and What Van?, alongside What Car?.

Barrow is well regarded in the commercial vehicle industry, securing access to the latest models – and the people who made them – long before other titles.

Vauxhall Movano side static