The large panel van sector has a new arrival in the shape of the MAN TGE. German company MAN Truck & Bus is an established truck manufacturer that today is part of the Volkswagen Group, but the arrival of the TGE marks its first venture into the light commercial vehicle market.
If the TGE looks familiar, that’s because it’s essentially a rebadged version of the Volkswagen Crafter. The two vans are built in the same factory in Poland, and the differences between the two largely centre around the front end and the badging. The Crafter’s two-bar grille with large VW roundel is replaced by a piano black trim piece on the TGE that features the MAN logo with the company’s lion badge above it. In addition, the TGE features its model designation on the front wing ahead of the doors. Further back, only the different manufacturer badges differentiate the two models.
Like the Crafter, there are a variety of body, chassis and drive options on sale. The panel van version has three roof heights – Normal, High and Super-high – and three body lengths – Standard, Long and Extra-long – while the latter two feature a long wheelbase. MAN also offers TGE Chassis Cab and Crew Cab body styles. The Chassis Cab comes in the same three lengths as the panel van, while the Crew Cab comes in Standard and Long forms.
Under the skin, the TGE’s running gear is the same as the Crafter. That means van weights starting from three tonnes and up to five tonnes or more, front, rear (including twin wheel derivatives) or four-wheel drive, a six-speed manual or eight-speed twin-clutch auto gearbox on selected models and 2.0-litre diesel power in four outputs. It’s clear from the variety of models on offer that MAN is serious about catering for every requirement in the large van sector, and it has also teamed up with leading body builders to supply pick-up, tipper and Luton bodies for the TGE Chassis Cab.
MAN uses its truck naming structure for the TGE, so different models are identified by their numbers which relate to their gross weight and the power output of the van’s engine. So a three-tonne van powered by the smallest engine is called the 2.100, while a 3.5 tonne model with the mid-range diesel is the 3.140. At the top of the range, the five-tonne TGE with the most powerful diesel is called the 5.180. It will make perfect sense to those familiar with MAN’s trucks, but might be confusing to the uninitiated.
The TGE benefits from the same safety technology as the Crafter. That means electronic driver aids such as adaptive cruise control, lane keep assist, traffic sign recognition, park assist and trailer assist are all available, although these are all on the extensive options list. Other available extras include a touchscreen sat-nav, ergoComfort suspended seats, seat heating, climate control, a rear camera and side sensors that detect objects in your blind spots. There are a number of load area upgrades, too, including additional sliding doors with optional windows, different bulkhead designs and access steps.
The one thing that will separate the TGE range from the Crafter and its other van rivals is the service back-up that will be available from MAN Truck dealerships and service centres. While rivals such as Ford, Renault and VW are establishing dedicated van service centres around the country, the TGE will benefit from a service network that is already focused on quick turnaround times to ensure that work vehicles are off the road for as short a time as possible. Currently there are 64 MAN dealerships in the UK, which is small in relative terms, but the service they provide should see a van off the road for the briefest time, while 24-hour service centres can get your van back on the road overnight if necessary.
Another benefit of choosing MAN is its MAN Mobile24 emergency service, which will send out a dedicated MAN service and repair technician to you to help you get going as quickly as possible. This should provide a better level of service than with rivals that simply include cover from a breakdown company as part of their after-sales package.
As well as the Crafter, the TGE challenges all the main large van rivals, which includes the Mercedes Sprinter, Renault Master, Peugeot Boxer, Citroen Relay, Fiat Ducato, Ford Transit and Vauxhall Movano.