When you work in heavy industry areas such as construction or engineering, your vehicle isn’t something that just gets you from A to B – it also plays a huge role in your workflow. We look at some of the best vans out there.
Ford Transit, 2014 model, prices ranging from £24,775-£44,875
The Ford Transit van has become the archetypal commercial vehicle and its popularity shows no sign of slowing down. Not only was it the best-selling van of last year, one in every four vans on the road is a Ford Transit. We’re into the sixth-generation now, and in many ways it’s the best it’s ever been.
The new range is available with three different power outputs: 99bhp, 123bhp or 153bhp, depending on the van’s driven wheels. The whole range uses a 2.2-litre diesel engine that Ford calls the DuratorqTDCi. While some owners have reported that lower powered units have struggled on steep inclines, the 153bhp has received great reviews across the board.
Model-for-model the Ford claims that the new Transit offers ten per cent more load volume than its predecessor. Its gross vehicle mass (GVM) varies from 2.9 to 4.7 tonnes across the range and the highest cargo capacity available is 2.3 tonnes. The largest of all is known as the Jumbo variant and features extra rear overhang for a total load volume of 15.1 cubic metres. It’s also available in two wheelbases, three body lengths, and two roof heights.
Mercedes-Benz Sprinter, 2013 model, prices ranging from £21,075-£40,360
The Mercedes-Benz Sprinter is ideal for professionals as it comes in five body styles: Cargo, Crew, Passenger, MiniBus, and Cab Chassis. It’s also available in two wheelbases and a variety of different body lengths and roof heights to suit your specific needs. It also looks great which is never bad for the company image. In fact, the Sprinter was only outsold by the aforementioned Ford Transit last year, which shows tradespeople aren’t afraid of paying a premium for real quality.
For those working on a budget, good prices can still be found in the used market. The GVM varies from 3 to 5 tonnes and the powercan range from a modest 95bhp up to one of the most powerful engines on the market, the 190bhp 3.0-litre V6 CDI diesel offering 35mpg. While it does fall behind the Iveco Daily’s 3.0-litre twin-turbodiesel, the Sprinter is still a strong performer and it shouldn’t have any problems providing the necessary power for most contractors.
Volkswagen Crafter, 2013 model, prices ranging from £21,050-£32,900
While the Volkswagen Crafter shares its chassis and overall body shape with the stylish Mercedes-Benz Sprinter, it lacks the premium feel of its country’s counterpart. The interior is filled with a lot of plastic which can feel a little cheap. Despite this, the vehicle has received good customer satisfaction ratings for its comfort, particularly over long journeys.
Where the Crafter really shines is its hefty GVM which comes in increments of 3 tonnes, 3.5 tonnes, and a massive 5 tonnes. Another way it beats the Sprinter is through its stronger fuel efficiency of 39.8mpg, powered by a 2.0-litre turbodiesel engines, which ranges from 109bhp-163bhp. Each model in the Crafter range makes use of a six-speed manual gearbox driving the rear wheels, and there’s no automatic transmission options as offered by the Sprinter or Ford Transit. The crafter is further customisable with three wheelbases, four body lengths, and three roof heights to choose from.
Whichever of these vans you decide to buy you’re guaranteed a great vehicle. Consider what fits your needs best before you make the investment.