April 29, 2017
Despite driving the new van market during the back-end of 2016, large vans still lag behind their medium-sized counterparts in terms of sales. Little should be read into this – at the end of the day medium vans will generally be the size of choice unless load volume is a priority.
If load volume is the driving force behind your decision to buy a new van, then you’re spoilt for choice. The large van segment offers some of the most reliable and capable vans on the market – and some well-known names to boot!
Demand for light commercial vehicles (LCV) saw a 1 percent increase in 2016, something that arguably would not have happened were it not for the performance of large vans in the final few months of the year.
Predictably, Ford vans topped the charts – all of them, in fact. Ford sold more than twice the number of vans as its nearest competitor, Volkswagen, while the Ford Transit Custom topped both the overall and medium vans charts. The small vans, large vans and pickups charts were headed by the Ford Transit Connect, Ford Transit and Ford Ranger, respectively. After shifting over 15,000 more new vans in 2016 than in 2015 and possessing a total market share of 30 percent, it’s safe to say that 2016 was Ford’s year.
Back in the large van segment, the Ford Transit’s sales of 29,965 units put it in first place and represent a rise in sales of 14 percent and a total LCV market share of 8 percent. Only one van comes close to the Transit’s popularity; the Mercedes Sprinter, with sales of 21,966. The Peugeot Boxer consolidated its third-place finish from 2015 with sales of 13,074 – a 17 percent increase for the French manufacturer. Fourth went to the Renault Master, with 7,616 units sold. The top five is rounded off by the Boxer’s twin, the Citroen Relay which sold 7,469 units.
Volkswagen will be hoping to claim back their top-five place this year with the launch of the brand-new Crafter. After freeing itself from the shackles of its partnership with the Sprinter, the Crafter is now the better looking van and has a number of class-best features.
Just over six months ago the fifth-generation Ford Transit got a range of new Euro 6 compliant engines. Both torque and power outputs were boosted across the range, yet the cabin is well-refined. The Transit offers the option of front, rear or all-wheel drive, with a six-speed automatic model recently introduced. Two trim levels are available, Base and Trend.
The Mercedes Sprinter has always been a quality van with excellent handling and refinement. The most recent model, launched in 2013, offers a range of driver aids including crosswind assist, blind spot assist and lane keeping assist. One of the best is called collision prevention assist which is designed to prevent or at least reduce the severity of a collision. Where the Sprinter falls down is with its standard features – although cruise control is a standard feature across the range.
As one of three virtually identical vans, the Peugeot Boxer has its work cut out to distinguish itself from the rest. The results show that it has managed to do so – a new Boxer was registered almost twice as often as the Citroen Relay in 2016. The Fiat Ducato – the Boxer’s ‘other’ twin sold just 5,551 units making the Boxer the clear winner. It offers a very good level of standard equipment, especially in its Professional ‘top-spec’ models which include air conditioning, satellite navigation, cruise control and digital radio.
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