The MAN TGE Lion S – reviewed!

The MAN TGE Lion S – reviewed!

The MAN TGE Lion S is an aristoCAT amongst large panel vans.   

With a hard-earned reputation in the HGV sector well and truly secured MAN Truck & Bus is intent on becoming a heavy hitter in the light commercial vehicle market. First launched in 2017, the manufacturer’s TGE is billed as a premium van and we were asked to put that claim to the test with the recent test drive of the top of the range, limited edition trim, Lion S model.

Based on the VW Crafter – and produced in the same Polish factory as the Volkswagen – the MAN TGE already sits at the high end of the market, with the Lion S enhancing that status still further. This is a big van but that doesn’t mean that all that practical and usable space will inevitably compromise the aesthetics. The MAN badge and Lion insignia are a bold centrepoint to a sloping black grille. A red stripe along the vehicle’s flanks adds to a sculpted feel, whilst 17in. alloy wheels expand upon the same theme.

The demonstrator model Professional Builder had on loan featured additional Lion decals and this is certainly an LCV where feline grace meets big cat power. There is, in fact, a huge choice of exterior styling within the MAN TGE portfolio, which includes standard topcoats, metallic and pearl-effect finishes and another 100 further paint finishes available on request. Added to that are alloys or steel wheels in silver or black.  

Wherever you look the MAN TGE Lion S exudes sporty lines, which is complemented by a more luxurious interior than you might be accustomed to, with a liberal use of leather in both the seats and the multi-function steering wheel. The retractable armrest to the left-hand side of the driver adds to the comfort levels and a truck-like feel. For the local jobbing builder their trusty workhorse is always a multi-tasker, and when fulfilling its role as a mobile office MAN has delivered on a very pleasant retreat from the muck and bullets of a building site. There are three different infotainment specifications to keep you amused and connected, for instance, with the highest offering an 8.5in. colour touchscreen, hands-free operation and DAB+.

Our test drive journey took us to a back-to-brick house renovation in the bucolic Staffordshire countryside, and the responsive and effortless twin-clutch, eight-speed automatic gearbox belied the considerable distance. It should equally be noted that the suspension, even without a load in the back, makes for a very smooth ride. The 2.0litre engine delivers a satisfying level of power for a large vehicle and, once at the job, the rear parking camera helped us navigate a site with its fair share of tight spots. Even without the camera the driving position offers good levels of visibility around the front.

The option of intelligent all-wheel drive is also a useful function if you’re navigating muddier sites and, when you’re back on the terra firma of tarmac, the system automatically adjusts to front wheel drive. Front wheel and rear wheel drive variants are also available, with the latter particular suited to a tipper, chassis cab or crewcab model.

A green and pleasant rural setting is equally fitting for a vehicle which is proudly labelled as HVO ready. This cleaner alternative to diesel is still a comparatively new concept amongst small and medium sized contractors but is one of the many fuelling and power options – alongside battery electric and hybrid – to emerge in response to global warming. According to its advocates, hydrotreated vegetable oil can reduce net CO2 emissions by up to 90 per cent and is a drop in fuel with no modifications to the internal combustion engine required. The MAN TGE, for example, is designed to run on both diesel and HVO.

In addition to our LION S model the TGE range is extensive, featuring panel van, chassis cab and crew cab options. Those models are further divided into a wide choice of vital statistics, including three heights, three lengths and two wheelbases. At its most expansive that will deliver a voluminous 18.4m3 of load space with a 3.5 tonne towing capacity into the bargain.Lengths extend from the standard 5,986mm to the extra-long panel van at 7,391mm. Roof space heights can be similarly specified to your needs with the maximum on the panel variant up to 2,590mm.

There are multiple safety, comfort and security packages on offer either as standard or as options. In the former category you can enjoy Autonomous Emergency Braking, Crosswind assist, Multi-collision braking and Hill Ascent Assist. The latter category includes trailer assist and adaptive cruise control, as well as much more besides. The needs of individual builders are as diverse as the industry itself which is why MAN is adopting a bespoke approach in almost every aspect of the vehicle’s features. It’s certainly true of the load bay where you can add another sliding door or specify different bulkheads and steps. 

The MAN TGE already exhibits very high levels of build quality and there’s the added reassurance of a 24-7 breakdown service. Indeed, an extensive dealer network that’s already well-versed in keeping downtime to a minimum amongst its truck customers – and that offers extended workshop opening hours at some locations – is dedicated to keeping you on the road.

For further information on the MAN TGE models visit MAN TGE | Model Overview | MAN UK.

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