Best van for courier work

For express deliveries, check out these affordable vans that are perfect for courier work - better still, you can get one delivered to you

Gavin Braithwaite-Smith
Jul 25, 2022

Couriers are an essential part of modern life. Whether it’s delivering packages to a business or parcels to a domestic property, our roads are filled with vans loaded with goods of all shapes and sizes.

Some are small vans handling the ‘last mile’ deliveries in towns and cities. Others are medium and large vans transporting packages from distribution hubs to homes and businesses across the land.

Only you can decide what size of van you require. Don’t be tempted into buying something larger than you need, because these vans will cost more to buy and run. They’re also less manoeuvrable on congested streets. Equally, make sure you don’t get something too small, because you don’t want to be wasting your time returning to base for yet another load.

For courier work, you need something reasonably nippy with an excellent record for reliability. Decent fuel economy is a must, otherwise the cost of petrol or diesel will eat into your profits. Here are some of the best vans to consider.

Best courier vans

1. Ford Transit Courier

Our pick Ford Transit Courier 1.0 EcoBoost
Used deals Limited stock

The clue’s in the name, because the Ford Transit Courier was designed for urban van users who need something small, nippy and easy to park. It’s the smallest member of the Transit range, but it offers a load more practicality than the Fiesta Van.

It’s based on a platform used by Ford passenger cars, which means that it drives better than many of its rivals. There are two engines: a punchy and frugal 1.0-litre EcoBoost petrol engine and a popular 1.5-litre diesel in a choice of outputs. A 1.6-litre diesel was available before an update in 2018.

A maximum payload of 595kg is adequate for a van of this size, and there’s enough room between the wheelarches for a Euro-pallet. All versions get asymmetrically hinged rear doors and a sliding side door, with a second sliding door available as an option on some versions.

2. Vauxhall Corsavan

Our pick Vauxhall Corsavan 1.3 CDTi
Used deals Limited stock

The Vauxhall Corsavan is little more than a supermini with the rear side windows panelled over, the back seats ripped out and a flat floor installed in the boot. A case of less is more, if you like.

As you’d expect from a supermini-based van, the Corsavan isn’t particularly spacious, but the maximum payload of 571kg is ideal for delivering lots of small packages, important documents or maybe even fast food deliveries. The flipside is that this is one of the easiest vans to fit down tight roads and narrow driveways without getting stuck.

Few people chose the 1.2-litre petrol engine, so you’ll almost certainly find a 1.3-litre diesel engine below the bonnet. The load area, which is separated from the cab by a half-height bulkhead, is almost square and of a reasonable size. Options include a mesh upper section for the bulkhead, tie-down hooks and cargo net.

3. Mercedes Sprinter

Our pick Mercedes Sprinter 2.1 CDI
Used deals from £19,953
Monthly finance from £389*

The Mercedes Sprinter is one of the most popular large vans in the country. Many businesses choose it for its unique blend of prestige, quality, load area, payload and range of options. As an all-rounder, the Sprinter outpaces its rivals.

Launched in 2013, the second-generation Sprinter offers the best value for money. Choose from short, medium, long and extra-long bodies, along with standard, high and super-high roofs. Even the smallest Sprinter offers a maximum load length of 2,700mm and a maximum load height of 1,650mm. It also boasts a maximum payload of 1,408kg.

It’s not the most economical van on our list, so make sure you need the extra space before taking the plunge. Meanwhile, it may be more expensive to buy than a number of alternatives, but the Sprinter is good at retaining its value, so you should get a decent amount when you sell it on.

4. Renault Zoe E-Tech Van

Our pick Renault Zoe 52kWh

Meet Britain’s smallest electric van. It’s based on the Renault Zoe supermini and is essentially the same vehicle from the front seats forward. The rear side windows are fixed in place and coated in a black film to start the transformation. There’s a mesh bulkhead to separate the cab from the load area, with the rear seats and seatbelts removed.

Predictably, it’s not the most spacious van on the market, but a 457kg payload should be adequate for urban use and ‘last mile’ deliveries. Access to the load area is via the standard hatchback or rear side doors.

With the 52kWh battery fully charged, the Renault Zoe E-Tech Van offers up to 245 miles of electric driving range, with an 80% charge taking around an hour when using a 50kW charger. Alternatively, you can charge the battery at home using an ordinary plug or dedicated wallbox for faster top ups.

5. Toyota Proace

Our pick Toyota Proace 1.5D
Used deals from £15,799
Monthly finance from £296*

Launched in 2016, the Proace is essentially a rebadged Citroen Dispatch, Peugeot Partner and Vauxhall Vivaro, but it gets the nod thanks to the availability of a 10-year warranty. That should give you one less thing to worry about when you’re trying to navigate the inner ring road.

The medium van sector is dominated by the Ford Transit Custom, but the Toyota is worth considering over the ‘backbone of Britain’. Power is sourced from a 1.5-litre diesel engine available in a range of outputs, with a choice of three trim levels.

A maximum payload of 1,400kg is available if you opt for the Long-Panel version, and all except the Combi and Crew Cab grades feature Toyota’s Smart Cargo system. This comprises a fold-up passenger seat and load-through bulkhead for carrying longer items.

6. Ford Fiesta Van

Ford Fiesta Van front three quarters view

Our pick Ford Fiesta Van 1.0 EcoBoost
Used deals from £11,448
Monthly finance from £0*

The Fiesta Van is Ford’s smallest commercial vehicle. As the styling suggests, it’s little more than a Fiesta supermini with panels for rear side windows and the back seats removed, with a flat load liner stretching from the bulkhead to the tailgate.

It feels great to drive in standard form, but for some added zip take a look at the Fiesta Sport Van, which features styling inspired by the Fiesta ST hot hatchback, supportive seats and an array of sporting upgrades, some of which are optional.

A maximum payload of 511kg is adequate for a supermini-based van, but the size of package you can carry is dictated by what you can fit through the hatchback rear. For regularly carrying larger items, take a look at the Transit Courier.

7. Renault Trafic

Our pick Renault Trafic 2.0 dCi
Used deals from £10,957
Monthly finance from £258*

Launched in 2014, the Renault Trafic was updated in 2022 to maintain its position as one of the best medium vans in Britain. Highlights include revised styling, LED headlights, a revamped dashboard and, most importantly, a new suite of driver assistance systems.

The 2022 facelift follows an update in 2019 which saw the old 1.6-litre diesel engines replaced by a 2.0-litre diesel unit with a choice of outputs. Fuel economy is likely to be excellent, regardless of which engine you choose.

In terms of payload, the Trafic is beaten by many of its medium van rivals, with pre-2019 versions rated up to 1,280kg, though this could still be more than enough for many couriers.

8. Ford Transit Connect

Ford Transit Connect front three quarters view

Our pick Ford Transit Connect 1.5 EcoBlue
Used deals from £8,948
Monthly finance from £253*

The Transit Connect sits between the Courier and the Custom in the Ford Transit range of vans. We offer no apology for including a third Ford on our list of the best vans for courier work, because these vehicles are great to drive, backed by a superb network of dealers and should be cheap to run.

The Connect has been on sale for nearly a decade, but a significant update in 2018 keeps it close to the top of the small van class. There’s a choice of short and long-wheelbases, with payloads rated at 579kg to 967kg, depending on the model.

A steel bulkhead is fitted as standard, but most models also feature a load-through hatch for carrying longer items. If your courier duties take you off-road or on gravel tracks, take a look at the rugged Active model, which features raised suspension and SUV styling.

*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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