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Top 5 delivery vans

Home delivery was rocketing in popularity even before the coronavirus lockdown forced vast amounts of people to work and shop from home. Companies that would have relied on walk-in customers have diversified and taken to the streets. If you’re looking for a delivery van for your business then one of these five vans will likely offer what you’re looking for.

Auto Trader

Words by: Auto Trader

Published on 23 July 2020 | 0 min read

1. Ford Fiesta Van
Is a van with a payload of just 515kg, a maximum loadspace of less than a cubic metre and a load length of only 1283mm really a great delivery van?
It is when it is the Ford Fiesta Van, as there are many more reasons why this is a perfect urban delivery vehicle. Not all delivery drivers need to haul huge amounts of boxes around town and the intimidating dimensions of a van will put them off. If you are delivering, say, flowers, food or something equally lightweight, then the Fiesta will be plenty big enough. With a rear window, a bulkhead with a meshed top that you can see through and the same dimensions as the standard Fiesta it is perfect size to nip in and out of tight spots around town, especially if you have no previous experience of driving a commercial vehicle. However, because you get a rubber mat that you can easily wipe down and four tie-down loops as standard in the loading bay, the Fiesta Van is much more practical than simply folding down the seats of a standard Fiesta. Find a Ford Fiesta here.
2. Citroen Berlingo/Peugeot Partner
There are plenty of reasons why the Citroen Berlingo and Peugeot Partner are compelling urban delivery vehicles – they are easy to drive, have a comfy cabin and you can get them with a decent automatic gearbox that makes urban life that bit easier.
The main reason why these two are such good delivery vans, though, is the clever piece of technology that lets you absolutely max out the permitted payload. It’s called the Overload sensor and it warns you when you have got close to the maximum and when you have reached it. This has an obvious safety benefit – it means you won’t be driving around with too much weight in the back and you won’t get fined – but it also has an efficiency benefit. If you are unsure about whether you are close to the maximum you may err on the side of caution and not put that extra box in. This way you’ll know how much you can get in without having to weigh all the stuff that is going in the back of the van. The Vauxhall Combo Cargo also has the kit, but it is only a cost option on all versions and, oddly, it costs £20 more than it does on the Berlingo and Partner. Find a Citroen Berlingo here. Find a Peugeot Partner here.
Peugeot Partner
Peugeot Partner
3. Ford Transit Custom PHEV
An electric van is a great option for a predictable delivery route around town, but if your depot is based a further distance out of town or if you aren’t sure where you need to head day to day then you might want a more conventional engine. The electric vans that are on sale right now don’t have the range to match up to the passenger cars that are coming to market – expect something around 100 miles or so in most cases.
The Ford Transit Custom plug-in hybrid lets you get a bit of both, with an electric motor and battery backed up by a 1.0-litre petrol engine. It allows you to get up to 35 miles of electric range (although 25 to 30 miles is more realistic and it will go down if you load it up with heavy kit) and a total range of 310 miles with the engine taken into consideration. The other bonus is that, because the 1.0-litre petrol engine is lighter than the diesel equivalents, the PHEV doesn’t lose out on the payload front. There are four modes, allowing you to drive in EV only or save the battery for when you are in town. Because you can charge it up on a conventional charging point in around three hours it should be fairly easy to make sure you use it on electric power for a large chunk of the day, too. The big issue is the price though – it costs around £15,000 more than a diesel so you have to be committed to charging it regularly to make the most of the electric element. Find a Ford Transit Custom PHEV here.
Ford Transit Custom PHEV
Ford Transit Custom PHEV
4. Citroen Dispatch/Peugeot Expert/Vauxhall Vivaro
The Citroen Dispatch and its Peugeot and Vauxhall siblings are good delivery vans for several reasons, with the low overall height just one. The Dispatch sits at just under 2m tall, which means that it is capable of getting in under the vast majority of urban height restrictors. This is also true for the the Peugeot Expert and Vauxhall Vivaro, as all three vans are essentially the same as one another but with different badges.
One piece of tech that sets the Dispatch etc apart, though, is the sensor that allows you to open the door by waving your foot at it – this means you don’t have to muck around with finding somewhere to put down the box you’re carrying, dig around for the key, open the door, pick the box back up and load it into the van. It’s a pricy optional extra but one that could save drivers’ backs and trim a little off drop-off and collection times too. Find a Citroen Dispatch here. Find a Peugeot Expert here. Find a Vauxhall Vivaro here.
Citroen Dispatch
Citroen Dispatch
5. Volkswagen Crafter
The difference between a manual and automatic gearbox will really make itself apparent you’re jumping in and out of a van all day long. Pushing down a clutch pedal a few times isn’t that big a deal but when you do it all day every day it can get a bit wearing. Drivers will feel less harassed at the end of a day with an auto.
You used not to have much of a choice, but vans are increasingly coming with automatic gearboxes these days. If you need to carry a load of stuff and only want to use two pedals then the VW Crafter is one of the best out there. It is an eight-speed gearbox and is really smooth at changing between the different gears at lower speeds. The eight gears means that it will sit quietly and happily at low revs at higher speeds should you head out on the motorway to get back to base, too. Find a Volkswagen Crafter here.
Volkswagen Crafter
Volkswagen Crafter

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