Eddie Cunningham: I'm a relative novice when it comes to vans, but this one really fitted the bill
I recently had need of a van to shift a few awkward yokes as well as compiling and conveying a big load of recyclable stuff to the nearby centre.
I took the Opel Vivaro panel van for a couple of bits of days for tipping around and for one longer journey.
As I reported recently with the High Roof Volkswagen Crafter long wheelbase, being at the wheel of one of these vans - the Vivaro is more compact - brings a whole new perspective to not just your own driving but that of others.
Again, I was impressed with the ease of drive and room for occupants (driver's and twin-passenger seats) and the big, independent, cargo area.
What surprised me most was that the power was from the 1.6-litre diesel in the Opel.
In this case, it was the 1.6 CDTi 120PS version. It's no harm to know there is also a 1.6-litre CDTi 95PS, a 125PS and 1.6 CDTi BiTurbo 145PS (that should be something).
The panel van model starts at €23,395, but there is also a Double Cab, nine-seat Combi and seven-seat Tourer Elite, so you've plenty of choice.
The capacity of the panel van I had was six cubic metres, which was ideal for the stuff I was carrying.
It's quite long (3.4m), but also a nice height (1.4m) and width (1.6m).
Its towing weight is 750kg unbraked and 2,000kg (braked), not that I needed it.
I'm a relative novice when it comes to vans, but this really fitted the bill and I can see how vital it is for a business, large or small, to get exactly what they need. Hence the need for a wide range of choice on size and payload.
The Vivaro's sliding door was a great facility for getting stuff on board and unloading, though I flung a fair few things in via the split back doors too.
I'd have to say it was a comfortable drive, and the engine gave a great account of itself.
But it was in tighter, reversing situations (about which I had nightmares in advance) that I found it best, despite the absence of a reversing camera on the version I had.
Yes, the vehicle is long, but I found it easy to gauge distances from doors, gates and pillars.
As my colleague Brian Byrne says in the accompanying piece, vans reflect the economy's buoyancy more than most other yardsticks.
I love the sheer practicality of them, not to mention how (cliche alert) car-like they have become.
• There has been good news recently on the Vivaro front with the announcement that the next generation will be made at the UK plant in Luton.