January 09, 2017
The traditional one-tonne van is in decline, according to recent data published by the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT). In October, demand for new vans with a gross vehicle weight of 2.5-3.5-tonnes dropped 7.1 percent.
There could be a number of reasons for this little slump, so we decided to round up the best medium vans in our range and spell out exactly what is so good about them – and why they are perfect vans for your business.
‘Needs no introduction’. ‘One of Britain’s most popular vans’. ‘So good your wife will even let you park it on the drive’. We could wax lyrical about the Ford Transit Custom, but you’ve heard it all before.
Nevertheless, the regurgitated descriptions above remain true. Let’s look at the facts. Good looking? Check. Easy to drive? Check. Adequately safe? Check. But what about functionality? The Ford Transit Custom provides a minimum 6 cubic metres of loadspace complemented by a load-through bulkhead and a payload of 700Kg, although the biggest models carry up to 1400kg.
The Transit Custom comes with a 2-litre Euro 6 compliant engine with three power outputs – the mid-range 130PS model will be the most popular with 385Nm torque and fuel economy of up to 43.5mpg.
Ford’s ‘Limited’ spec provides body coloured…everything, alloy wheels, DAB digital radio, air conditioning, and front and rear parking sensors.
Models available (270 SWB 130PS, 290 SWB/LWB 130/170PS, 310 SWB/LWB DCIV 130PS – all Limited spec)
The Renault Trafic faces a big task to persuade operators that it’s the right van for them. Why? Because there are now FOUR – yes, four – new vans on the market that are virtually identical. The Trafic has long been a partner for the Vauxhall Vivaro, but now there’s also the Fiat Talento and Nissan NV300 – both also based on the exact same van.
So what does the Trafic have over the rest of the pack? Renault have packed some innovative features into their medium van to distinguish it from the rest; Grip Xtend is a driving mode that provides extra traction on surfaces such as gravel, snow and mud, there’s a wide view mirror that virtually eliminates your blind spot, while R&GO is an app that turns your smartphone or tablet into a touchscreen for your dashboard.
As standard on Sport models is Renault’s MediaNav system, an on-board touchscreen tablet that provides access to useful and practical features including navigation, DAB Radio and Bluetooth handsfree technology.
Models available (SL27 Sport 125PS, LL29 Sport 125PS)
Heritage. A word that sums up the Volkswagen Transporter. Having been around for 65 years in various guises, there won’t be many people who don’t know about this classy and sophisticated van. For those looking to project a professional business image, the Transporter is the ideal choice.
Just last year, the Volkswagen Transporter won the International Van of the Year award for the third time, highlighting its credentials. With Euro 6 compatible engines delivering fuel economy of up to 48.7mpg and a ridiculous 450Nm maximum torque, the Transporter is efficient and effective.
Highline models are the ultimate in luxury, providing many features usually specified as cost-options. You’ll find air conditioning, front fog lights, alloy wheels, digital radio, body coloured bumpers, mirrors and handles, cruise control and rear parking sensors.
Models available (T28 SWB Highline 102PS, T30 LWB Highline 102PS)
As we’ve already mentioned, the Vauxhall Vivaro is the Renault Trafic’s ‘twin’. Or was, until the other two popped up. Anyway, the Vivaro is the only one of the four vans that’s built in Britain.
It combines a spacious load area volume (5.2 – 8.6 cubic metres) with excellent payload capacity (up to 1274kg) with two lengths, two heights and a load-through bulkhead for effortless transportation of even the most awkward loads.
Sportive models come well-equipped. You can expect to find body coloured bumpers, mouldings and housings, a mobile office (work surface, clipboard, USB port) air conditioning, cruise control with speed limiter, rear parking sensors and digital radio.
Models available (2700 L1H1 125PS, 2900 L2H1 125PS, 2900 L2H1 Doublecab 125PS – all Sportive spec)