Page 24

miniplus June issue 31

test drive as would be expected of a luxury car. It accelerates smartly and despite a substantial body it handles well, with no roll or wallow evident; that is impressive given the substantial roof-mounted air-conditioning unit. Roads around Alton Towers are particularly hilly. When climbing, the small engine has enough power to keep up with the general flow of traffic, but in very testing terrain it is at its limit at a 5,500kg GVW. Nevertheless, even when under full throttle the OM 651 does not intrude unduly, and the saloon ambience remains relaxed. Descending steep hills gives chance to test the retarder. It performs well. In the third stage, and when combined with engine braking, it held the minicoach at around 15mph on a 14% grade, which is testament to its capabilities. Visibility is good enough, although the nearside A- and B-pillars are close together. That slightly compromises vision there, although both mirrors are well sited. What’s the verdict? On a cost-per-seat basis, Plants’ Vega GT is more expensive than many full-size coaches. But buyers should bear in mind that 24 | June 2017 | miniplus.co.uk from a passenger’s perspective, the coachbuilt UNVI is a scaled-down version of those larger vehicles, and in its niche, it is a highly-competent performer that delivers an excellent travelling environment. It’s no surprise that the Vega GT gains approval when used on work for corporate clients, and the operator reaps the additional reward of a respectable fuel return. “We are happy with 25mpg given the size of the bodywork, and I see no need to specify the V6; with the four-cylinder engine, the Vega GT never drops below 62mph on even the steepest motorway hill,” says Mark. “Additionally, the retarder is very good and it handles most braking when used sensibly. I also regard the additional cost of climate control to be money well spent and I would have it again.” The verdict on the Vega GT from an operator which has very high standards – it was a finalist in 2016’s routeone Awards in the excellence in minibus operation category – is mainly positive. miniplus echoes those thoughts. The coachbuilt UNVI is an attractive cruiser inside and out. LENGTH 7.51m WIDTH 2.03m HEIGHT 2.10m WHEELBASE 4.33m UVW Not known GVW 5,500kg Rear window has been de-specified to give more space for fleet name


miniplus June issue 31
To see the actual publication please follow the link above