Best three-seater vans

Need a strong value van with seats for three people? We've rounded up the best three-seater vans, with models to suit a variety of needs

Sam Naylor
Jul 30, 2021

Three-seater vans are probably the most common type of van there is - as this is the default number of seats for the most popular kinds of van. This means that there is plenty of choice, though some vans are much better than others.

The smallest van models, such as the small car-based ones, tend to have just the two front seats, so aren’t practical when you need to carry two passengers as well as whatever it is you need to take along in the back.

This means the smallest three-seater vans are usually a bit bigger, like the Citroen Berlingo or Ford Transit Connect. From there, as you go up through the sizes of van, it becomes the norm to have three front seats.

In all of the models we’ve picked out below in our list of the best three-seater vans, the seats are all up front in the cabin rather than using a single seat behind the front row (which is a pretty rare configuration).

It means that space differs depending on the model and also the kind of van it is. In the smaller models, the third seat up front tends to be pretty small and only really usable for short trips, as the gear shifter tends to restrict the amount of legroom and the seat itself is narrow.

Yet in the larger vans, there’s loads of space for all three people inside, as the central seat is offset from the gear shifter and is a full-size chair, often including extra storage space as well. This means that if you’re looking for a three-seater van for regularly carrying extra people, you’ll want at least a medium-size panel van.

Best vans with three seats

However, a small van makes a lot of sense if you tend to do short-range trips or deliveries or only occasionally need to carry two passengers. They’re great value and offer a surprising amount of space.

Below we’ve made our choices for the best three-seater vans for a range of budgets and size requirements, and you can read on to find out a little bit more about each of our picks.

1. Citroen Berlingo

Best small three-seater van for value

Used deals from £8,299
Monthly finance from £201*

The Citroen Berlingo is a fantastic small van, offering plenty of space along with smooth and economical engines, a comfortable ride and lots of technology. It’s a big seller, so there are plenty to choose from when looking for a second-hand model, and it’s great value.

In fact, value for money is the best reason to consider the Berlingo. You get more for your money here than with many other models, so you might not mind too much that the middle seat isn’t very spacious. That’s typical for a van this size, though.

Look for all but the entry-level Berlingo, as this doesn’t have the extra middle seat or the removable panel that allows up to 3.1-metre-long items to be loaded up. Both passenger seats can be flipped down for extra storage too.

Others to consider include the Peugeot Partner and Vauxhall Combo, as these vans are the 'badge-engineered' sister versions of the Berlingo - they’re the same van but with a different face and badge on the front. If you find one of those at a good price, it’s just as good as the Berlingo.

2. Ford Transit Connect

Best small three-seater van for driving

Ford Transit Connect front three quarters view

Used deals from £9,999
Monthly finance from £241*

The Ford Transit Connect doesn’t come as standard with three seats, so you’ll need to find one with the optional ‘Loadthrough’ bulkhead as this adds the third seat up front. It’s quite small but it does the job for short trips, and the extra versatility this option brings is excellent as well - it allows up to 3.4-metre items to be carried.

The Transit Connect is a great buy because it’s good value, practical and best of all it’s really good to drive. It makes a fine companion for spending a lot of time in, because it’s comfortable, the engines and gearboxes are enjoyable to use and it comes with a good amount of tech in the cabin.

The 'SYNC3' media system you get on most versions is really easy to use and has lots of features. Plus, the Ford comes with a range of efficient but punchy engines - and since it’s based on the Ford Focus, it’s surprisingly fun to drive as well.

3. Volkswagen Transporter

Best three-seater van for private buyers

Used deals from £18,995
Monthly finance from £396*

If you’re a private buyer looking for a van to carry bikes, surfboards or anything else but need space for three people up front, we’d go for the Volkswagen Transporter. It’s one of the most car-like vans to drive and has lots of tech and comfort, so it works really well as an ultra-practical adventure vehicle.

There is a Kombi crew van version with an extra row of seats, but what you’ll want is a Transporter with the Dual Passenger Seat option. Plenty are available with this option included when buying used, and there’s also a version with a two-seater bench on the driver’s side and then a single passenger seat, rather than the other way around.

The Transporter is comfortable and good to drive, and the engines are smooth and efficient, so it works really well no matter what your plans are. The three-seater Transporter also comes with an integrated storage area and an extra cupholder, too.

4. Vauxhall Vivaro

Best mid-size three-seater van for value for money

Used deals from £10,695
Monthly finance from £246*

The Vauxhall Vivaro is a budget-friendly choice if you need a mid-size panel van with three seats. All versions come with a bench in the front with room for two passengers. One thing to note with the Vivaro is that the newer 2019-on model is a bit smaller than the older version, so has less passenger space.

Both versions are great value, though, as they sold well and so there are plenty for sale second-hand. The Vivaro comes with economical diesel engines too, so running costs are also low, and safety kit is a strong point as well.

There’s even an electric version for those planning short trips and deliveries around cities, although this version is a lot more expensive. Note that the Vivaro shares parts with the Citroen Dispatch and Peugeot Expert for the 2019-on version, rather than the Renault Trafic like previous versions.

5. Renault Trafic

Best mid-size three-seater van for space

Used deals from £13,950
Monthly finance from £280*

The Renault Trafic is a good option if you want to get a newer van model but still want the extra space in the cabin that the previous Vauxhall Vivaro offered, as the Renault hasn’t changed in size - although it was updated in 2019 with more kit and a smarter look.

The Trafic is a great all-round van choice as it’s spacious, comfortable and has a range of economical diesel engines. The load-through bulkhead means you can fit long items in, but crucially it comes with three front seats and there are crew cab versions, too. The middle seat can fold down to create a flat surface for doing paperwork, as well.

The Renault isn’t quite as good to drive as the Ford Transit Custom, nor as quiet as the Volkswagen Transporter on the motorway, but it does have a very pleasant cabin that looks good quality but is still as hard-wearing as you’d expect in a working vehicle.

6. Ford Transit Custom

Best mid-size three-seater van for versatility

Used deals from £13,450
Monthly finance from £295*

If you are in any doubt about what van you should get, the Ford Transit Custom is the option for you. It’s good in just about every area, and is one of the best mid-size vans ever built - and of course, it comes with three front seats. There’s a crew cab model with an extra row too.

The Transit Custom is the smaller brother of the Transit and the bigger brother of the Transit Connect, and it offers lots of space, a fixed bulkhead with a load slot for longer items and has loads of modern tech in the cabin.

It’s available in multiple lengths, there are plenty of engine options and an automatic gearbox is optional, so choice is good. Sales of new versions have been extremely strong for years, so there are loads of used ones available and prices are very reasonable for what is one of the best-driving and most versatile vans available today.

7. Mercedes Sprinter

Best large three-seater van for space

Used deals from £21,980
Monthly finance from £516*

The Mercedes Sprinter is the obvious choice if you need a really large load bay - it’s one of the best vans around, with a car-like cabin packed with modern technology, a comfortable ride and a seemingly endless array of variants to suit anyone’s needs.

There are three seats up front in all versions of the Sprinter, plus versions with extra seats behind, different wheelbases, lengths, heights and even front, rear or four-wheel drive. There are so many variants that just about every use case is covered off.

The engines available in the Sprinter are economical for this kind of van, and the comfortable, pleasant driving experience is a big reason to choose one, along with the smart looks. The Sprinter isn’t the best value for money, but it’s still one of the best large panel vans around.

8. Volkswagen Crafter

Best large three-seater van for comfort

Used deals from £17,795
Monthly finance from £415*

The Volkswagen Crafter is an alternative to the Mercedes Sprinter, and it’s a close competition because the Volkswagen is also available in a huge number of configurations, has a great engine range, is massive inside and, best of all, comes with three front seats.

There are versions that have just two seats, so look out for those, but most will have the front bench installed. The middle seat folds down to create a flat paperwork area, plus there are lots of storage spots in the cabin and lots of modern tech.

The Crafter is comfortable, easy to drive, looks smart and the extensive safety equipment makes it one of the most sensible large panel vans you can get. Plus, the driver’s seat has been certified by a body that promotes healthy backs, so it’s great for long trips.

*Representative PCP finance - Ford Fiesta:

48 monthly payments of £192
Deposit: £0
Mileage limit: 8,000 per year
Optional final payment to buy car: £2,923
Total amount payable to buy car: £11,926
Total cost of credit: £2,426
Amount borrowed: £9,500
APR: 9.9%

BuyaCar is a credit broker, not a lender. Our rates start from 6.9% APR. The rate you are offered will depend on your individual circumstances.

 

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