What Van? Piaggio Porter, of course!
With three top awards and numerous commendations from previous years to its name, the Piaggio Porter range has consistently achieved recognition by What Van? as a class-leading brand that just keeps getting better. One of the key appeals mentioned by the judges over the years has been the sheer diversity of the range, which includes a Panel Van, MPV, Tipper, Big Deck, Pick-Up and Chassis, with payload capacities ranging from 560kg to 685kg and more than 50 specialist bodywork variations. This diversity will increase even further early next year when a 4x4 version will become available from March.
It’s not difficult to see why the Piaggio Porter range keeps on impressing the judges with such an innovative model line up that caters to a variety of different business needs. For example, the Porter Van offers small business users an unbeatable combination of compact exterior dimensions with outstanding interior volume, providing a load area for up to 3 cubic metres of cargo. The twin sliding doors and top-hinged full width tailgate provide unrivalled accessibility to this crucial interior space, and along with the forward-control cab layout, these features make the Porter van ‘perfectly suited to multi-drop delivery work’, says What Van?.
The Porter MPV is based on the same steel body shell as the Panel Van but also includes two large windows in each side for passenger comfort and increased all-round visibility. The standard fitment of twin glass tilting sunroofs and the option of two, four or six seat variants proves once again that form ideally meets function in the Piaggio Porter range.
Although the Porter Pick-up is diminutive in stature, its microvan-size belies the vehicle’s strength and practical capabilities. Built on a sturdy, steel frame chassis, the Pick-up boasts an up-rated suspension which increases its payload to a remarkable 680kg, well above the average for a truck of this size.
The Tipper is marginally bigger than its Pick-up cousin in both length and load area and holds its own in the market as the only factory-built tipper in this sector. With the option of either standard 300mm high steel or 400mm high alloy drop sides, along with a dual hinged tailboard, the Porter Tipper offers incredible versatility for unbeatable value for money.
The Porter Big Deck is exactly that – a Pick-up truck with a 20% bigger load deck than the standard Porter Pick-up. In fact, the size of the Big Deck makes it so practical and convenient that even palleted goods fit comfortably on the spacious deck. Big Deck also comes with a choice of alloy or steel drop sides and a maximum payload of 685kg.
As the level of taxes such as road fund licence are now linked to vehicle emissions ratings, the Porter Electric provides a convenient solution to the rising cost of vehicle ownership. The long-life, maintenance-free Lead-Gel batteries produce zero emissions, which means the Porter Electric is handily exempt from taxes such as Vehicle Excise Duty and Congestion Charging. Combined with the ultra-low running costs of the Porter Electric, choosing this vehicle could represent a significant saving for small businesses or local authorities who need to run a fleet of vehicles in a city like London. All Piaggio Porter models are available in the Electric version and are capable of a range of 85 miles, with two useful recharge options of either the standard 8hrs or a 2hr ‘fast charge’.
However, the Porter Electric is not the only clever innovation to come from Piaggio. Where the Porter range really comes into its own is with the bespoke equipment conversions it has to offer. What Van? describes the Porter as ‘a handy platform for all sorts of specialist body work’, such as cherry pickers, gritters, waste bin collectors and many more. These options are all made possible by the Porter Chassis, a simple chassis cab version of the Porter which provides a solid foundation on which to build many types of custom vehicles.
Also highly appreciated by the What Van? panel is the remarkable manoeuvrability of the Porter range, noting that ‘parking in confined spaces is a doddle and the van’s compact height allows you to wriggle into places where overhead clearance is restricted’. In fact all the Porter models boast class-leading agility with a tight turning circle and compact dimensions which ensure that even heavy or bulky goods can be delivered into the narrowest of locations, even those inaccessible to other vehicles.
Described by What Van? as ‘a definite plus’, the consumer package for Piaggio light commercials offers a generous 3 year/unlimited mileage warranty, covering any factory fitted or specialist body work, along with two years roadside rescue and recovery.
With a 33-strong dealer network across the country, and plans to expand this number to more than 40 in the next few months, Piaggio Porter is quickly developing a solid reputation in the UK as the market leader for light commercial vehicles.
Tim Slaughter, Managing Director for Piaggio LTV, says: - “We are delighted to report that Piaggio Porter is going from strength to strength since we took over distribution earlier this year. Receiving this prestigious accolade from What Van? once again only goes to prove the value and quality of the Porter range.”