Most Economical Vans
Choosing a van with the best fuel efficiency and miles per gallon (MPG) ratio will help to reduce business costs, especially if you're on the road a lot travelling between jobs.
How Is MPG Calculated?
Every manufacturer must provide an official mpg figure for each of their vans and the different engine variants available. This figure is calculated using the EU emissions test. Since the 1980s, vehicles have used the New European Driving Cycle (NEDC) test.
However, this was replaced by the Worldwide Harmonised Lightweight vehicles Test Procedure (WLTP), which started being used from 1st September 2017 for all new vehicle types (i.e. brand new models).
What Affects A Van's Fuel Economy?
The fuel economy of a van is affected by a number of factors including its payload and the driver's driving style. The heavier a van, the more fuel it requires to move it around. The payload isn't the only thing that can affect a van's weight - extra kit (e.g. a 4WD system or ply-lining), extra passengers and extra space will all have an adverse effect on fuel efficiency.
Erratic and aggressive driving styles will inevitably reduce a van's mpg ratio compared to a smoother and more consistent driver. Instead of accelerating as fast as possible, build up speed at a steady pace to try and improve fuel economy.
The van you need to buy for your business will often be dictated by size. As a result, we've split the most economical vans into four different size categories: small, medium, large and pick-up trucks. Every figure quoted is based on the combined fuel economy cycle as provided by the manufacturer using the official testing procedure.
NOTE: These mpg figures should act as a guideline. It is highly unlikely that you will be able to achieve these figures in real-world driving conditions.
Most Economical Small Vans
CITROEN BERLINGO / PEUGEOT PARTNER
Citroen Berlingo 1.6 BlueHDi 100 S&S M Enterprise/Driver - 67.3 mpg
Peugeot Partner 1.6 BlueHDi 75 Standard S/Professional - 67.2 mpg
As part of the French-owned PSA Group, the Berlingo and Partner were developed alongside each other and both won the International Van of the Year Award 2019. The 1.6-litre BlueHDi diesel engines are Euro 6 compliant; although are planned to be replaced with smaller 1.5-litre units later in 2019.
The most economical Berlingo comes with a larger 100PS variant as well as Stop-Start technology to improve efficiency in urban areas. In contrast, the Partner with the best mpg has the entry level, 75PS engine which doesn't feature Stop-Start.
Both small vans are the most compact versions - long wheelbase variants are available but return 65.7 mpg. In terms of trim levels, Citroen and Peugeot have developed a specific model catered towards people that spend most of their time behind the wheel (e.g. couriers) who need a comfortable cabin and the best fuel economy possible.
RENAULT KANGOO / MERCEDES CITAN
Renault Kangoo 1.5 ML19 Energy dCi 75 - 65.7 mpg
Mercedes Citan 1.5 109 CDI Long - 65.7 mpg
Although this seems like an unlikely partnership, the Renault Kangoo and Mercedes Citan are built on the same platform and use the same engine range. The second generation Kangoo was introduced in 2008 and upgraded in 2016 so that the diesel engine met the new Euro 6 emissions standards.
The most fuel-efficient 75bhp unit in the Kangoo comes fitted with a five-speed manual gearbox and is exclusively available on the standard length model. It can be fitted to either the entry-level Business model or middle-of-the-range Business+ version.
If you want a more upmarket-looking van for your business, the Citan uses the same 1.5-litre diesel engine which produces the same 65.7 mpg; however, this figure is generated by the largest 110bhp variant and the longer wheelbase.
FIAT DOBLO CARGO
Fiat Doblo Cargo 1.6 MultiJet II 105 / 120 E6 DPF with S&S - 62.8 mpg
Twice named International Van of the Year (2006 & 2011), the Fiat Doblo Cargo is a spacious small van that is often overlooked, but represents excellent value for money, especially when it comes down to fuel efficiency.
The larger 1.6 MultiJet II engine is available in 105 and 120 outputs, both of which are capable of achieving up to 62.8 mpg, so it really depends how much pulling power and payload you need as to which version you choose.
The Euro 6 Ecojet models include a range of additional features such as Stop-Start technology to boost fuel economy by up to 15%. The best mpg figures are recorded by the standard wheelbase and roof, although a 'MAXI' long wheelbase is available alongside a second, taller roof height.
Most Economical Medium-Size Vans
Toyota Proace 1.6 115hp Turbodiesel - 54.3 mpg
To give you an idea of how economical the Toyota Proace is, even the least economical version returns more than 50 mpg on the combined cycle. This van straddles two sectors of the commercial vehicle market - the Compact version is small enough to compete with long wheelbase (L2) variants of traditional small vans, whereas the Medium and Long models sit firmly in the mid-sized panel van category.
The smaller 1.6-litre diesel engine is offered in 95bhp and 115bhp versions which are both fitted with a 5-speed manual gearbox; however, only the more powerful unit is equipped with stop-start technology, making it more fuel efficient.
A range-topping 2.0-litre diesel engine is available with a 6-speed manual gearbox that still manages an impressive 53.5 mpg. All engines are Euro 6 compliant and use a Selective Catalytic Reduction (SCR) system to reduce NOx emissions.
The Proace offers outstanding fuel economy and comes with a 5-year warranty as standard. Although it can't compete with the class-leaders in terms of top end carrying capacity, it effortlessly combines the cost and manoeuvrability of a compact van with the practicality of a medium-sized van.
FORD TRANSIT CUSTOM
Ford Transit Custom 2.0 TDCi Ford EcoBlue 105 PS ECOnetic - 49.6 mpg
Despite only arriving in the UK commercial vehicle market in 2012, the Ford Transit Custom has made a big impression and sold hundreds of thousands of units in this time. Ford constantly updates this model to stay relevant in such a competitive class.
In 2016, they revamped the engine range to be compliant with the latest Euro 6 emissions standards which meant replacing the 2.2-litre engines with smaller 2.0-litre EcoBlue units with the same 105PS, 130PS and 170PS power outputs. Each engine is paired with a 6-speed manual gearbox and all models are front-wheel drive.
With a 15% increase in fuel efficiency, Ford claims that the new EcoBlue engines will save the average driver around £1,250 per year. To make the range even more economical, an Econetic version was introduced in 2018 which added low rolling resistance tyres and different engine mapping. The result was a maximum return of 49.6 mpg from the 105PS unit.
Renault Trafic 1.6 Energy dCi 125 - 47.9 mpg
An updated Renault Trafic is due to be released in September 2019 with a refreshed exterior look and a new engine range designed to meet the tougher WLTP test procedure. The 1.6-litre twin-turbo diesel engine is going to be replaced by a new 2.0-litre turbodiesel unit offering 120hp, 145hp and 170hp.
Despite the larger engine size, Renault is claiming an increase in fuel economy by as much as 10% on certain versions. As standard, they will be paired with a 6-speed manual gearbox and receive stop-start technology to increase fuel efficiency.
The current range of 1.6-litre engines are all Euro 6 compliant and offered in four power outputs. The most economical unit is the 125hp twin-turbo which is capable of achieving up to 47.9 mpg on the combined cycle.
Most Economical Large Vans
Fiat Ducato 2.0 MultiJet 115bhp - 47.9 mpg
Currently, the Ducato is developed in tandem with the Citroen Relay and Peugeot Boxer vans from the PSA Group at the Italian SEVEL Sud Factory. While they share much of the same technology and engineering, the most economical engine range is exclusively available in the Fiat large van.
The Ducato was previously powered by 2.3-litre and 3.0-litre units which have been replaced by smaller, Euro 6 compliant, 2.0-litre and 2.3-litre MultiJet II variants. Although it isn't the most popular, the most fuel-efficient engine is the 2.0-litre 115hp version capable of returning 47.9 mpg on the combined cycle.
The 2.3-litre 130hp and 150hp models are favoured by most buyers, still offering 46.3 mpg and 44.8 mpg respectively. The entire range is front-wheel drive and comes with a 6-speed manual gearbox as standard.
Unlike most manufacturers, Fiat employs Exhaust Gas Recirculation (EGR) technology in the Ducato large van to achieve the required emissions levels set out in the latest Euro 6 standard.
CITROEN RELAY / PEUGEOT BOXER
Citroen Relay 30 2.0 BlueHDi 110 L1H1 - 47.1 mpg
Peugeot Boxer 330 2.0 BlueHDi 110 L1H1 - 47.1 mpg
First introduced into the UK commercial vehicle market in 2006, the Citroen Relay and Peugeot Boxer have established themselves as key models in the large panel van sector. An updated and improved version was released in 2014 to stay relevant against their main rivals.
In 2016, Euro 6 emissions-compliant diesel engines were added to the range. The previous 2.2-litre units were downsized to the current 2.0-litre BlueHDi variants offering 110hp, 130hp and 160hp power outputs. Every Relay and Boxer comes with a 6-speed manual gearbox - automatic transmission is not available - which exclusively drives power to the front wheels.
The range-topping 160hp engine is only available in larger versions of the Relay and Boxer to help cope with heavier payloads. The most economical engine is the smallest 110hp model in the most compact L1H1 version, capable of producing 47.1 mpg.
Ford Transit 2.0 TDCi Ford EcoBlue 105 PS - 42.2 mpg
For a large van, the Ford Transit produces some very respectable fuel consumption figures from the most compact version up to the longer and taller models. The latest 2.0-litre EcoBlue diesel engine can be found in all Transit vans with varying power outputs.
In 2016, the old 2.2-litre engines were downsized to meet the new Euro 6 emissions standards which actually resulted in a 13% increase in fuel economy. The Transit features regenerative braking, a gear shift indicator and Ford's Auto-Start-Stop technology to help improve fuel efficiency.
Although the most frugal unit is the 105 PS version (with a combined cycle of 42.2 mpg), the powerful 168hp variant manages 40.9 mpg even in the L3H2 model. Opting for rear-wheel drive will increase fuel consumption and make your Transit van more economical.
Most Economical Pick-Up Trucks
NISSAN NP300 NAVARA
Nissan NP300 Navara 2.3 dCi Single Turbo 2WD King Cab - 46.3 mpg
If you're looking for a vehicle that performs at work, and one that's also comfortable and spacious enough to transport the family, the Nissan Navara is the perfect match. Every Navara is powered by the same 2.3-litre diesel engine in either single or twin-turbo versions and comes with a 5 year, 100,000-mile manufacturer warranty as standard
The most economical Navara is the single turbo 2WD King Cab which offers class-leading fuel economy of up to 46.3 mpg, but it's only available in the entry-level Visia and Acenta trim levels.
However, the top of the range 4x4 Double Cab with the larger twin-turbo 187bhp engine still manages 44.8 mpg, generating 24% fuel efficiency improvements over the previous model.
Isuzu D-Max 1.9 Utility 4x2 RWD Single Cab - 45.6 mpg
Although the D-Max is the only Isuzu model available to buy in the UK, it offers a wide range of trim levels to choose from including Utility, Eiger, Yukon, Utah and Blade. It's also available in single cab, extended cab and double cab body styles.
In 2017, the 2.5-litre diesel engine was downsized to a more economical 1.9-litre turbodiesel unit which remains the only engine option; however, a 6-speed automatic gearbox is offered alongside the standard 6-speed manual transmission.
Despite its smaller size, the 1.9-litre engine provides the same power output of 163bhp as the outgoing 2.5-litre unit. With the manual gearbox in place, the RWD D-Max is capable of achieving 45.6 mpg which reduces to 40.4 mpg on the 4x4 versions.
Unlike most competitors, the D-Max doesn't use AdBlue to meet the latest Euro 6 emissions standards. It also offers a class-leading 5 year, 125,000-mile manufacturer warranty which is better than both the Nissan NP300 Navara and Mitsubishi L200.
Ford Ranger 2.2 Duratorq TDCi 160PS 4x4 - 43.5 mpg
The Ford Ranger is the UK's best-selling pick-up truck offering three body styles: Regular Cab, Super Cab and Double Cab. Ford offers a wide choice of Ranger models to help it compete against every competitor in the class.
Ford has been working to boost the Ranger's fuel economy by adding auto stop-start to the manual models as standard as well as Electric Power Assist Steering. The most economical Ranger is the four-cylinder 2.2-litre model in Super or Double Cab with the 3.15 final drive ratio, offering up to 43.5 mpg.
However, if you're looking to take advantage of the class-leading maximum braked trailer towing weight, you will need to choose the 3.55 final drive ratio which reduces fuel efficiency down to 39.8 mpg.