7 Best Small Vans
Perfect for travelling around the city, a small van is best suited for operations that don't carry a lot of cargo on a daily basis. Typically, they're no bigger than a medium-sized car, but they offer the added security of hiding your cargo, plus they're purpose built for loading and unloading with 180° rear doors and sliding nearside doors.
Small vans are ideally suited to carry boxes for couriers or florists as well as carrying equipment for photographers or similar professions. Here are a selection of the best small vans on the market:
FORD TRANSIT CONNECT
Sharing the same running gear as the Ford Focus hatchback, the Ford Transit Connect small van is fun to drive with a comfortable interior that is superior in terms of quality compared to its rivals.
Available in standard (L1) and long (L2) wheelbases, you can determine how much load space you need. As standard, you'll receive 2.9m³ load volume which increases to 3.6m³ in the longer version which can accommodate payloads just over 1 tonne with optional modifications. Despite its compact size, the Transit Connect L1 can still carry two Europallets and take items that are 3m long.
The cabin is a comfortable place to be with DAB Radio, USB connectivity and steering wheel mounted audio controls included as standard. There's lots of headroom which is a bonus, especially for taller drivers as well as a range of clever storage options to make the most of limited space.
PEUGEOT PARTNER / CITROËN BERLINGO
Built on the same platform, the Peugeot Partner and Citroën Berlingo are essentially the same van with a slightly different design and a different badge on the front. Originally introduced into the market in 1996, the Partner and Berlingo have established themselves as popular small van models.
Both vans offer two body lengths – L1 and L2 – which provide 3.7m³ and 4.1m³ of load space respectively. The bigger L2 version has enough space to transport two Europallets. On certain models, you’ll receive twin passenger seats so that you can travel with two extra people which is perfect for a small team. It can also be used on the weekend to transport a small family of three.
The Berlingo and Partner are both available with the choice of manual or automatic gearboxes as well as diesel and petrol engines alongside a fully electric motor so that you can find the perfect version for your business.
After a redesign in 2018 as part of a cross business Groupe PSA programme, the Berlingo, Partner and Vauxhall Combo were named as the International Van of the Year 2019 for their enhanced safety, technological advancements and modularity.
The Nissan NV200 is certainly one of the biggest small vans on the market. Built using Japanese-style architecture it receives a narrow track, high roof and short wheelbase which provides a much tighter turning circle, more space for taller items and a raised seating position typically associated with larger vehicles.
The large 4.2m³ load area that comes as standard in the NV200 is more than enough space to accommodate two Europallets and the taller roof means you can carry items up to 1.36m in height. Every NV200 receives twin sliding doors to make loading and unloading much easier as well as a 5-year/100,000 mile warranty which is transferable when you buy used.
Available in three trim levels – Visia, Acenta and Tekna – the NV200 comes well equipped as standard with Bluetooth, USB/AUX sockets and steering wheel controls. If you upgrade to the top of the range edition, you’ll receive the touchscreen sat nav and entertainment system.
The E-NV200 model is the electric version of the NV200 van which offers zero emissions driving to help reduce fuel and tax costs. Using the technology developed in the market-leading Nissan Leaf car, the battery in the E-NV200 was recently upgraded in 2018 to offer the furthest range of any electric van in the market.
Originally introduced into the UK market in 1997, the Renault Kangoo has established itself as an efficient, no-nonsense urban delivery vehicle. It has since had two major updates, first in 2008, and most recently in 2016 to comply with Euro 6 emissions standards.
The Kangoo has two body lengths to choose from – Standard and Maxi – as well as a Crew version so that you can transport up to five people. The Standard model has a load volume of 3.0m³ which is capable of carrying one Europallet, while the Maxi version boasts 4.0m³ of load space that can squeeze in two Europallets. There’s even 2.4m³ of load space in the Maxi Crew van with a multi-position bulkhead fitted.
There are three dCi diesel engines on offer; however, the 75 is only offered with the Standard version, whereas the 90 and 110 outputs can also be fitted with an automatic gearbox. Alternatively, you can opt for the 100% electric Kangoo ZE model which comes with a 22kWh lithium ion battery pack based on the technology used in the Renault Zoe car.
As a premium option, the Volkswagen Caddy can command a high residual value thanks to its reliability and the level of quality that has been transferred from the VW car range. Recently updated in 2015, this small van now sports a sharper look that is closer to the Polo and Golf models.
Like most vans in this list, the Caddy comes with a Standard and Maxi body length as well as a window van version, the five-seater Caddy Combi and the Caddy Life which offers two additional seats in a more MPV style vehicle so that it can transport up to seven people. The Standard version has a load volume of 3.2m³ which increases to 4.2m³ in the Maxi.
There are diesel and petrol options available to suit your business. The 2.0 TDI diesel engine comes in three versions, of which the two most powerful units can be paired with a dual-clutch automatic gearbox. Similarly, the largest of the trio of petrol engines can also be fitted with an auto option.
As standard you’ll receive a 5” touchscreen display for the DAB Radio as well as electric windows and mirrors. The top of the range Highline model adds VW’s Discover Media Navigation system so that you’ll never get lost on the way to a job again.
FIAT DOBLO CARGO
The multi-award winning Fiat Doblo Cargo small van scooped the WhatVan? Light Van of the Year Award for the third consecutive year in 2018 coinciding with its makeover in 2015.
Unusual for a small van, the Doblo Cargo is available with two roof heights which is something typically associated with larger vehicles. As expected, it also comes with two body lengths – Standard and Maxi. The biggest version is the XL model (Maxi wheelbase and high roof) which has a load volume of 5.0m³ with a payload of 1,005kg.
In the cabin there are clever storage solutions including the overhead storage above the windscreen, door pockets and a passenger seat that flips up to reveal a little space to store documents.
At the top of the range Tecnico trim level, the Doblo Cargo is about as well-equipped as any compact van. It receives rear parking sensors, Bluetooth connectivity and a power mounting for a TomTom sat nav built into the top of the dashboard as well as the unit to go in it.
Developed alongside the Renault Kangoo, the Mercedes-Benz Citan comes with badge appeal that portrays a more upmarket image to customers and demands higher residual values than its French counterpart.
Available in three lengths, the Compact version is similar in size to the Citroën Nemo and Peugeot Bipper with a load volume of 2.4m³ which is still able to accommodate a Europallet width ways. The Long and Extra Long models have load areas of 3.1m³ and 3.8m³ respectively. There’s also a Crew version available which provides up to five seats as well as the Citan Tourer MPV-type model.
The suspension, engine and bodywork have all been reworked by Mercedes to improve the van’s performance. As standard, the refined interior receives USB connectivity, front electric windows and daytime running lights. There is also a range of additional options to choose from as you would expect including sat nav, rear parking sensors, heated front seats and alloy wheels.