Features
Tuesday 22 May 2018

Microvan of the Year 2014


DFSK Loadhopper
voty-2014-microvanOffering an award for a microvan may seem a little strange when one considers that at present only one manufacturer markets a product in the UK that qualifies for such an accolade. By doing so, however, we believe that we are performing an important service by acknowledging that the category still exists and making prospective purchasers aware that microvans and mini trucks are available in Britain once again.

In our own small way we are also encouraging more entrants to move into a sector of the light commercial market that has been neglected for far too long. Which brings us to the winner of our 2014 Microvan of the Year award; DFSK’s Chinese-built Loadhopper.

With a 3.0m³ cargo box, it shares all the characteristics of the classic microvans of yore. Access to the load area is a doddle thanks to a sliding door on each side and a rear-mounted glazed hatch and its compact dimensions make it easy to park in a busy urban environment.

loadhopper-2014-voty2The payload capacity of 548kg is perfectly respectable for a vehicle of its size, and while it is certainly not designed for high-speed motorway work — no microvans are — it will happily potter around congested city streets. Buyers can choose either a newly introduced 1.0-litre developing 52hp or a 1.3-litre generating 77hp; both engines are petrol.

While the standard specifications are somewhat basic, driver comfort can be improved by ticking some of the items on the options list, including electric windows and air-conditioning. By doing so, however, you will be diluting one of the Loadhopper van's biggest appeals; its competitive price; they begin at a modest £7,495 plus VAT.

A microvan van is not your only option. Loadhopper is additionally marketed as a single-cab pick-up, a double-cab pick-up with either fixed or drop-down sides, as a single- or double-cab tipper and even as a (very mini) minibus. It can be ordered as a tipper or a dropside with a stretched single cab too and a four-wheel-drive model is in the pipeline.

Loadhopper could of course be dismissed as a niche product; but we reckon that niche is a lot wider than many people suppose.

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