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Best vans for 2022

The latest van models boast substantial load capacities, improved engines and comfort levels on a par with luxury cars. They’re also packed full of gadgets.

But where do you start? How can you find the most suitable van for your needs? What do you need to consider and are there ways of cutting your costs?

Here we take a look at what you need to factor into your decision-making process and highlight some of the best vans on the market.

 
 
Toyota Proace City Compact
 

Best small van: Toyota Proace City

Price: From £24,510

All hail the winner! Toyota’s Proace City has been crowned the 2022 Parkers Small Van of the Year and it’s a title that’s thoroughly deserved.

The judges noted it was ‘fundamentally identical’ to the Citroen Berlingo, Peugeot Partner and Vauxhall Combo Cargo, but highlighted one key quality.

“We’ve singled out the Toyota because the firm is now offering it with an amazing 10-year warranty programme,” they stated.

Of course, the Proace City has plenty of other attractions, including a decent level of equipment as standard, along with an impressive payload and comfortable driving experience.

There’s even an electric version with a starting price of just under £32,000 and offers a range of up to 161 miles on a single full charge.

Of course, the best small van space is crowded with potential options. Along with the aforementioned Berlingo, Partner and Combo Cargo, is the Volkswagen Caddy Cargo.

Ford Transit Custom
 

Best medium van: Ford Transit Custom

Price: From £26,145

Transit has been one of the most instantly recognisable van names for decades. And while it has changed enormously, its popularity has remained.

There are many reasons why it’s the UK’s current best-seller: its all-round practicality, renowned toughness, and level of equipment to name a few.

It also looks great and is available in a wide variety of trims. This combination of qualities recently helped it be named the 2022 Parkers Medium Van of the Year.

Choices of van body type include a panel van option, double cab-in-van, and Kombi, with 3 rows of seats that can carry up to 9 people. 

Then there’s the loadspace, arguably the most important feature on any van. Even the Kombi with its extra seating still provides 2.5 cubic metres, along with pallet-width sliding side doors.

The Transit Custom is also available with a FordPass Connect modem offering benefits such as 4G WiFi for up to 10 devices, and real-time traffic updates.

Other medium-sized van contenders include the Volkswagen Transporter and the Toyota Proace.

Man TGE
 

Best large van: MAN TGE

Price: From £33,951

There are times when you need a larger van – and the MAN TGE is definitely worth considering for those wanting extra space.

The panel van option comes in 2 wheelbases, 3 vehicle lengths, and 3 vehicle heights. It even has an optional trailer coupling for more flexibility.

Parkers named it the 2022 Large Van of the Year. They said its strengths include being “incredibly easy to drive and comfortable”, with an intelligently designed cab.

The equipment packages available include:

  • Adaptive cruise control

  • Emergency Brake Assist (EBA)

  • front and rear parking aids

Tyre pressure monitor displays.However, it’s the company’s after sales support that helped clinch the title. As principally a truck manufacturer, MAN can offer TGE buyers extended workshop opening hours.

“As a result, we’ve seen repeated instances of customers expressing their amazement at just how quickly MAN has been able to get them back on the road,” stated Parkers. 

Other larger vans worth a look include the Volkswagen Crafter and the Mercedes-Benz Sprinter.

Ford Ranger
 

Best pickup truck: Ford Ranger

Price: From £24,750

This is a simply stunning pick-up. It’s exactly how a pick-up should look: tough, durable, and clearly able to withstand the toughest terrain.

Unsurprisingly, it has also enjoyed critical acclaim, having been named the Parkers Guide pick up of the year title for 3 consecutive years – 2020, 2021 and 2022. 

Little wonder, therefore, that it’s the UK’s best-selling pick-up. 

The Ranger is available in various specifications. Choosing which suits your needs depends on whether you’re after a more basic option or one that’s packed full of the latest gadgets.

For example, the entry-level XL costs £25,000 (ex VAT) but there are a number of Ranger versions and extras that you can choose.

At the top end is the Raptor Special edition, for which you need around £46,000 (ex VAT). This is an absolute beast that offers everything you could ask for in a truck.

While there aren’t many options in the pick-up space, the Toyota Hilux and Isuzu D-Max are both worthy contenders.

Citroen e-Berlingo
 

Best electric van: Citroen e-Berlingo

Price: From £25,980

Small vans are often favoured by businesses needing to transport tools – or delivery drivers making numerous stops in an average day.

Being able to navigate tight city centres is particularly important for the latter. Spending all day trying to find places to park could adversely affect their earning power.

This is where the Citroen e-Berlingo’s versatility is hard to beat. As well as being well-equipped, with the ability to double as a mobile office, it’s practical.

Top of the list is a zero emissions range of up to 171 miles. This makes it a particularly attractive option for the so-called last mile delivery industry.

It also has a vast array of driver assistance systems, including:

  • Adaptive cruise control

  • Lane departure warning system

  • An audible coffee break alert after 2hours

If you’re after a medium-sized electric van then there’s the Vauxhall Vivaro-e, while a larger option is the Fiat E-Ducato.

Mercedes-Benz Sprinter
 

Most reliable van: Mercedes-Benz Sprinter

Price: From £29,435

Reliability is absolutely crucial – regardless of whether your van is a daily driver or only brought out for jaunts on the weekend.

It doesn’t matter whether it looks the part and has plenty of space for everything you need if it constantly breaks down.

Every year, Fleet News reveals the most reliable vans after quizzing the UK’s biggest leasing companies to rate vehicles for warranty and breakdown issues. 

The latest winner – once again – is the Mercedes-Benz Sprinter. This hugely popular panel van is constantly being improved in terms of technology, safety and security.

It’s also remarkably adaptable, coming in different vehicle lengths and types or roof, as well as a choice of 3 trim lines: Pure, Progressive, and Premium.

This degree of flexibility is one of the reasons why it’s become such a firm favourite with companies needing a reliable transporter for various needs.

Other vans that scored highly for reliability on the survey include the Volkswagen Transporter, the Volkswagen Caddy, the Volkswagen Crafter, and the Ford Transit Connect.

Lower demand for vans this year

There were 40,613 new UK vans registered in March 2022 – 27.6% less than the 56,122 figure for the same month last year, according to the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT).

The March 2021 figure was boosted by pent-up demand, which contributed to the largest increase in light commercial vehicle (LCV) registrations since 1999.

Supply and delivery issues continued to hamper the sector, including the global shortage of semiconductors and those affecting construction, logistics and shipping.

 

Best-selling vans

The best-selling van so far in 2022 is the Ford Transit Custom with 13,833 sold, according to data  from the SMMT. It’s followed by:

  • Ford Transit -  8,413 sales

  • Vauxhall Vivaro -  4,757 sales

  • Citroen Berlingo - 4,154

  • Mercedes-Benz Sprinter - 4,106 sales.

As far as pick-ups are concerned, the Ford Ranger leads the way with 4,170 sold in the period, followed by the Toyota Hilux with 2,403.

Choosing your van

There’s certainly no shortage of vans, with a vast array of sizes and specifications available.

Your decision depends on your personal needs. 

  • Are you wanting a family runabout with plenty of space for surf boards, kayaks or bikes?Do you need a business workhorse that can carry your tools and materials?

  • Are you looking to use your van to transport workers during the week – and your family on the weekends?

Remember, your van insurance is partly determined by how it’s used, Whether ithat’s for purely social requirements, acting as transport for your own tools, or delivering other people’s goods.

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Vans for work

There are around 5 million vans on the UK’s roads and many of them are obviously used for work purposes, especially between Monday and Friday.

So, what do you need to factor into your decision-making? The most important is what you’ll be carrying and the ease of access.

For example, do you need to load pallets into the back? Is it important to have side door access to find items more quickly? Are you wanting to carry people as well?

Then there are the overall dimensions. If you’re needing to transport large plasterboard, for example, then added headroom could prove beneficial.