- Will the new changes increase van prices and running costs?
- Payload reduced in some cases - but not all
- List of which manufacturers are up with the latest standards
The latest version of the Euro 6 emissions standard officially came into force on 1 September 2018 alongside the new Worldwide Harmonised Light Vehicle Procedure (WLTP) testing procedure. It aims to give greater clarity to consumers about how efficient their vehicle is, and this is a handy guide to how this affects vans and pickups.
There’s good and bad news, with the Euro 6 regulations encouraging better fuel economy but at a cost, potentially to both your wallet and your payload when compared to the older vehicle you might be looking to replace.
What does Euro 6 mean?
As the name suggests, Euro 6 (also known as EU6 or Euro VI) is the latest round of regulation set by the European Commission governing the amount of harmful exhaust gases motor vehicles can emit.
It was first introduced on 1 September 2016, but has since been updated to include the new WLTP and Real Driving Emissions (RDE) tests that are designed to better represent modern driving situations. The updates were introduced in September 2017 for all newly launched car and van models, and made mandatory for all new registrations from September 2018.
You might see this written as a couple of things. The overall changes are sometimes referred to as ‘Euro 6.2’ but this is subdivided into Euro 6c, which means the car complies with WLTP testing, and Euro 6d-TEMP, which relates to the RDE element.
Compared with the previous Euro 5 (also known as EU5 or Euro V) emissions standard, which focused largely on carbon dioxide emissions – the CO2 that is currently used to set road tax bands for cars in the UK (vans are taxed differently, click here for full details) – Euro 6 is particularly targeting nitrogen oxide (NOx) emissions. But it also aims to reduce sulphur dioxide, carbon monoxide, hydrocarbon, and diesel particulate matter emissions, as well as CO2.
NOx emissions have been scientifically linked to respiratory diseases and other health issues, and environmental damage including acid rain. Depending on fuel type (and diesel is the main issue here), the Euro 6 standard forces vehicle makers to reduce NOx by more than 55%. This was a mandatory requirement for all new light commercial vehicles from September 2016 and many had to make changes to their vehicles in order to comply.
Or at least, it is in theory. We’ve added a list of how LCV makers are dealing with the new regs below – click here to jump straight to this list
How do vans and pickups meet Euro 6?
Reducing NOx emissions means adding extra technology. Small vans are able to use a simple NOx trap, while most of the larger van and pickup makers are choosing to use Selective Catalytic Reduction (SCR), which injects a reductant called AdBlue into the exhaust stream to neutralise the nasty NOx.
There are exceptions, however. For example, Fiat Professional has chosen to use Low Pressure Exhaust Gas Recirculation alone to meet Euro 6 in the latest Ducato (pictured above), a development of the existing Exhaust Gas Recirculation (EGR) technology that has been used in diesel vehicles for years.
Isuzu has chosen to go for another simple approach, and has downsized the engine in its D-Max pickup. It moved from a 2.5-litre diesel engine to a 1.9-litre version that doesn’t need AdBlue to meet the targets.
What is AdBlue?
AdBlue is the most recognised name for diesel exhaust fluid. Added to a special extra tank in compatible vehicles in a process that’s as simple as topping up the windscreen washer reservoir, this fluid is used to break down NOx into less harmful nitrogen and water vapour.
Prices vary, but AdBlue costs around £8-£20 a litre (buy in bulk to make it cheaper) and can be purchased from service stations, truckstops, dealerships and motorfactors like Halfords.
Do Euro 6 vans and pickups have less payload capacity than before?
This varies between vehicles, and even trim levels. The extra weight of the SCR system and a full AdBlue tank (usually 15-20 litres) will understandably have an impact on vehicle kerbweight, which will potentially eat into payload capacity.
However, in some cases the vehicle maker is also able to increase the Gross Vehicle Weight (GVW) to compensate. An example of this is the Nissan NP300 Navara, which has actually seen an increase in payload on some Euro 6 versions (and only a minor reduction of 2kg on others).
Unfortunately, it’s not possible to increase the Gross Vehicle Weight on a 3.5-tonne van without taking it over into Heavy Goods Vehicle (HGV) territory, so you will find that almost all of these have a reduced payload rating after conversion to Euro 6.
However, the changes to comply with Euro 6c and Euro 6d-TEMP shouldn’t require any technical alterations to the engine so it shouldn’t impact how it performs when it comes to lugging stuff around.
Are EU6 vans and pickups more expensive to run?
Like-for-like against Euro 5 they are certainly more expensive to buy, as manufacturers passed on the cost of implementing the additional emission control systems (though often you got extra standard equipment by way of compensation). However, prices often increase over time due to a variety of factors and it is fair to imagine that things like exchange rates might have evened things out or increased prices further since Euro 6 was introduced in 2015.
On a day-to-day basis, there is the added cost of refilling the AdBlue tank, though. The rate of use varies from vehicle to vehicle, with some vans getting through a litre of the stuff every 200-250 miles while others may go three times as far.
It’s also worth noting that some manufacturers have been forced to reduce the size of the conventional fuel tank in order to make room for the AdBlue tank (the Volkswagen Transporter T6 is one example, the Nissan NP300 Navara, above, another). This likely means stopping for fuel – and, let’s face it, probably snacks as well – more often.
What are the advantages for vans and pickups?
On the plus side, the move to Euro 6 increases engine efficiency – which means better fuel economy. In many cases, Euro 6 engines are more powerful than their Euro 5 equivalents, too (take the updated Renault LCV range, for example, which has 5hp extra across almost every model).
Euro 6 also reduced CO2 emissions, helping to decrease the carbon footprint of companies with large fleets – which can help with taxation. Similarly, should the Government ever choose to move LCVs onto a CO2-based road tax system from the current fixed rate owner-drivers will also benefit from lower CO2 vehicles. However, there are currently no plans for that to be the case.
Then there is London’s proposed Ultra-Low Emission Zone (ULEZ) for 2019, which will require all non-Euro 6 LCVs to pay a daily fee, in a manner similar to the Congestion Charge. It will apply 24 hours a day and comes into force on 8 April 2019.
Do I need to have my current van modified to meet Euro 6 legislation?
Absolutely not. The new legislation only applies to new vans and only affects the testing that the manufacturers have to put their vehicles through. Manufacturers were building Euro 6 compliant vehicles for some time before the requirements came in in 2015.
What happens after Brexit?
Technically, the UK Government will be free to go its own way and implement its own rules and regulations for vehicle emissions requirements when it leaves the European Union in March 2019. But since that would then potentially require vehicle manufacturers to adapt their products to a different set of rules, resulting in an inevitable increase in costs, it’s almost certain we will continue to follow the EU’s lead in this area.
Industry analysts at IHS Global Insight have confirmed this thinking in the past, telling Parkers: “Nothing is expected to change with regards to [emissions] legislation because of Brexit.”
Will all new vans and pickups sold from September 2018 be Euro 6c or Euro 6d-TEMP compliant?
Not necessarily. Manufacturers are able to keep selling a limited number of their existing old-series models that were tested under the New European Driving Cycle (NEDC) test until September 2019.
However, manufacturers were only able to get an extension for up to 10% of number of cars they sold in 2017. All major manufacturers have carried over some cars that haven’t been tested under WLTP conditions, so there will still be some available.
Fiat is up to speed with Euro 6 across all of its models, and some versions of the Fiorino small van are even up to the latest Euro 6d-TEMP standards.
Of the other models, the Ducato is notable for using Low Pressure Exhaust Gas Recirculation instead of the more common SCR technology to meet the requirement.
The Ford range has had a series of recent tweaks, with updated engines going into the Transit and Transit Custom that should take the models up to the latest standard. The existing engines are already Euro 6 compliant.
The Transit Courier is already there, and is certified to Euro 6c and Euro 6d-TEMP across the range.
Chinese maker Great Wall was the big victim of Euro 6’s implementation, as it has no engine for the Steed pickup that was capable of meeting the standards. As a result, Great Wall is not on sale in the UK at this stage; we’ll report further details if it returns.
Hyundai doesn’t sell many of its iLoad van, but those that it does are all Euro 6 compliant.
The Isuzu D-Max is Euro 6 compliant across the range, thanks to a decision to downsize the diesel engine in the pickup. The 2017 update saw the truck move from a 2.5-litre diesel engine to a 1.9-litre unit, which meant owners don’t need to use AdBlue to make it compliant.
The Iveco Daily is fully up to date with Euro 6.
The Land Rover Discovery Commercial is right up to speed, and meets all the latest Euro 6c and Euro 6d-TEMP requirements.
The MAN TGE is fully compliant with Euro 6.
In contrast to the Nissan Navara, Mitsubishi managed to bring its Series 5 L200 pickup up to Euro 6 standard by using a NOx trap rather than an AdBlue system - meaning no loss of fuel tank capacity, nor changes to the payload rating.
The commercial vehicle version of the Outlander is Euro 6c and Euro 6d-TEMP compliant in petrol form.
All of Nissan’s range meets Euro 6 requirements, but none have been updated to Euro 6c and Euro 6d-TEMP.
Euro 6 updates brought a 5hp gain for every Renault Trafic, while twin-turbo versions of the Master also receive a 5hp boost. However, 50kg weight of the SCR system also reduced the Master’s maximum payload.
None of the vans are Euro 6c and Euro 6d-TEMP compliant, though.
Ssangyong has seen a major change to its line-up since the arrival of Euro 6, as the Korando Sports pickup transformed into the Musso. The Musso meets the latest requirements without needing AdBlue.
The Vauxhall Corsavan might have been axed from the range, but other models are powering on with the latest emissions standards. Some versions of the Vivaro (the Combi version of the 2900 1.6CDTI BiTurbo 120 for example) are already up to Euro 6c and Euro 6d-TEMP standards.
Fully Euro 6 compliant.