Highly dependent on different needs – and wants – there are many great vans out there. Topping the list are the Mercedes Sprinter, the Renault Trafic, the Volkswagen Transporter, Vauxhall Movano, the VW Crafter and of course, the old faithful, the Ford Transit van, all vying for top place.
But the best van must be the one that suits the needs of the particular industry professional.
Needs, rather than wants, must surely the best choice. And there’s a lot of choice out there, with so many models and variants within the brands. Whether a standard short-wheelbase with a one-tonne payload, a high roof people mover with crew seats, sliding side doors, four-wheel drive vans, refrigerated 3.5t long-wheelbase high-top, and everything else in between, it’s a tricky one.
What are your needs? Short haul town and city trips? Long distance deliveries? Shuttling people from the airport to a hotel, or transporting colleagues, materials and tools to work locations.
1. VW Transporter
Starting with the VW Transporter, Volkswagen has concentrated on three key aspects, technology, engines and interior. Upgrading the faithful Euro 5 engine, they have standardised the BlueMotion pack to claim 15 percent fuel saving, with more efficient tyres, regenerative braking and stop-start.
In terms of technology, the Transporter now offers hill start assist, adaptive cruise control and a driver alert system. The interior is spectacular, with the standard DAB radio, a 5-inch touchscreen, heated mirrors and electric windows. A leather-rimmed steering wheel, heated seats and climate control are optional luxuries.
2. The Ford Transit
The Ford Transit must surely be the best-known van brand ever, and Ford are not skimping on the expansive range of models available. However, this latest variant adds much in technology and Ford quality. The load space across the range has been increased by 10%, with upgrades to the engines, making them more powerful but also with improved fuel efficiency. The cabin is comfortable with its standard features apparent in a car-like atmosphere, where you can use a Bet365 bonus code.
It offers exceptional fuel efficiency with low CO2 emissions. As the largest van in the range, the loadspace is extremely generous at up to 15.1m3, with gross mass from 2900kgs to 4700 kgs. The variants include minibus, chassis cab, double cab and straight van options in five body lengths, plus front wheel drive, rear wheel drive and all-wheel drive are there to suit the professional’s requirements.
3. The Vauxhall Vivaro & the Renault Trafic
The Vauxhall Vivaro and the Renault Trafic were built as a joint venture and are identical barring the model badges. Comfortable and smooth, the sister vans must surely vie for top place in people- carriers, combining performance and fuel efficiency. EcoMode is a standard feature, improving efficiency whilst reducing torque and power, for improved profitability.
The VW Trafic has a four-year warranty, the Vivaro only has three years. Standard highlights include one-touch electric windows, manual air-con, electric mirrors, on-board computer, 20W CD and MP3 player, full-size spare wheel, full wheel covers and wraparound bumpers.
4. Mercedes Sprinter
Coming in next is the Mercedes Sprinter. Just the name conjures up luxury and comfort, and this van doesn’t disappoint. It is so versatile, with nine body styles on three different wheelbases, three roof heights and four body lengths. With an impressive range of power from 95bhp to 190bhp, and economy settings to achieve fuel savings, this van has an impressive haulage capacity. In terms of comfort the Sprinter lives up to its premium name.
The seats are a new breathable, wipe-able, elegant and hard-wearing fabric called Tunja, and the seats are ergonomically designed for improved lumbar support. The adjustable steering wheel allows the driver complete comfort, with no undue body stress. This van is definitely built to impress.
With a gross weight of 3000, 3500 or a hefty 500kg, the Volkswagen Crafter and the Mercedes Sprinter have shared their chassis and shape. However, VW use their own 2-litre turbodiesel engine, 109 to 163 bhp, and the most efficient of these provides fuel efficiency of up to 39.8 miles per gallon, plus the added bonus of 187g/km CO2 emissions. This is a hardworking,no-nonsense vehicle, with a durable interior using mainly grey or black plastic, which gives a slightly gloomy feel.
The exterior falls short of the luxury look-and-feel of the Mercedes Sprinter, but the Crafter is very adaptable to the owner’s needs with three wheelbases and up to 2.9-tonnes payload. The four body lengths can transport items up to 4.7m long, and the three available roof heights can carry 17m3 of cargo – standing up. Its suspension is extra robust, but is forgiving enough to be a comfortable ride. Power steering and cruise control are standard throughout the ranges.
Agreed, this is a difficult choice but, weighed up carefully, the right van, and the best van for your needs, is out there, waiting to earn its keep.