Best large vans

Load space is not a problem for these large vans, which are as happy eating motorway miles as they are transporting titanic cargo

Jul 19, 2018

Vans drivers are often described as the backbone of Britain’s economy. Plumbers, builders, delivery drivers, we’d be lost without them.

But choosing the right van can be a minefield. There’s so much choice, even in the large van specific market.

These gargantuans of the road can usually handle a 3.5-tonne payload, but come in a vast array of body styles, engines, and cab styles. This makes the buying process hazardous to say the least.

Ford, Volkswagen, Mercedes and Vauxhall, all have excellent offerings in the large van section, all of which are modern-feeling and sport efficient engines.

Why buy a large van?

It's obvious really. Because you have a lot of stuff to move around the country and you want to do it in an efficient, comfortable, and safe manner.

Perhaps more importantly is the fact that these large vans are offered in lots of different styles, which means there is a workhorse for every occasion.

Expect standard short wheelbase vans with a one-tonne payload capacity to be offered alongside long wheelbase, high roof variants that can carry large amounts of people and their kit.

Whichever way you look at it, the large van keeps the majority of communities and economies running, offering the speed and versatility of a smaller van, with the added benefit of impressive load capacity.

These are the large vans that we think deserve a special mention.

Best large vans

1) Ford Transit

Best large van for car-like abilities 

Latest Ford Transit deals from £11,995
Finance from £246 per month

Ford’s Transit burst onto the scene more than 50 years ago, and became an instant hit with van drivers who wanted something more like a car to drive. Unfortunately, it was so easy to manoeuvre, it also became the bank robber’s choice of wheels. Nevertheless, the Transit - not to be confused with the smaller Transit Custom - is one of the easiest large vans to drive, plus, its engines are some of the most economical.

The likeness to Ford’s cars continue on the inside too, as the Transit houses most of the creature comforts you’d expect in a Fiesta. Top spec Trend models have cruise control and 4-inch monitor which you can connect your phone to.

It’s not quite as big as some of the vans on this list, so if you need something truly huge, you’re better off looking further down.

Loadspace 9,500-15,100 litres Payload 914-2169kg Fuel economy 32.5-41.5mpg

2) Volkswagen Crafter

Best large van for uncompromising quality

Latest Volkswagen Crafter deals from £11,888
Finance from £203 per month

Crafter by name, grafter by nature, this large commercial vehicle is packed to the rafters with Volkswagen technology, interior build quality, and handy everyday features.

Expect an intelligent parking system, complete with electronic steering assist, front assist, emergency braking and the latest touchscreen infotainment systems to appear throughout the range. Volkswagen's new ergoComfort suspension seats feature a specific design with 20-way seat adjustment to reduce the impact of any jolts and improve spinal health.

Choice of engine is limited to a single 2.0-litre TDI unit, but offered in 102hp, 122hp, 140hp and 177hp outputs. The best fuel economy figure is 38.2mpg and CO2 emissions start as low as 192g/km, making it an affordable, everyday proposition.

Loadspace 11,300-16,400 litres Payload 735-2,573kg Fuel economy 31.0-38.2mpg

3) Iveco Daily

Best large van for solid construction

The eagle-eyed among you may have spotted this entry in our Best Medium Vans article, and that's simply because this versatile beast is offered in everything from a medium, one-tonne payload panel van to a huge long wheelbase version that can carry up to 7.2-tonnes of stuff.

It features a somewhat archaic body on chassis construction, rather than the unibody approach taken by rivals, which means it's arguably not the most comfortable or refined on the list but it is built tough. Customers will be presented with vans, chassis cabs and crew cab body styles, while various lengths and heights are also on the table.

The engine range is equally broad, with a total of nine different options available, plus there's the option of CNG natural gas-powered models too.

Loadspace 7,300-19,600 litres Payload Up to 7,200kg Fuel economy Up to 34.0mpg

4) Mercedes Sprinter

Best large van for high mileage drivers

Three wheelbases, nine different body styles and three roof heights make the Sprinter one of the most capable and versatile vans currently on sale. It also happens to be one of the most comfortable and absolutely rammed with premium technology and premium touches that Mercedes is famed for.

On top of this, the Sprinter boasts a range of reliable and powerful diesel engines. The smallest is a 2.1-litre in 114hp, 143hp and 163hp outputs. Alternatively, there's a range-topping 190hp V6 CDI diesel that ensures the large van lives up to its namesake. These power plants might not be the most efficient on sale but they are designed to run for miles and miles with limited servicing and impressive reliability levels.

The list of available safety features is also impressive, with crosswind assist, blind spot assist, lane keeping assist and a front collision prevention system available across the range.

Loadspace 7,800-15,500 litres Payload 804-2547kg Fuel economy 34.0-40.4mpg

5) Fiat Ducato

Best large van for fuel economy

Latest Fiat Ducato deals from £11,500
Finance from £237 per month

What the Fiat Ducato lacks in refinement, interior quality and exterior looks, it more than makes up for it with an excellent range of engines and impressive cargo-carrying capacity.

The entry-level 115hp 2.0-litre engine returns up to 47.9mpg, while the more powerful 130hp and 150hp models offer 46.3mpg and 44.8mpg respectively. These powerplants aren't the quietest or most refined around but they are all Euro6 compliant, so produce fewer harmful emissions and cost less to tax on an annual basis.

On top of this, the Ducato is offered in a broad array of lengths and heights, with the range itself often tricky to navigate thanks to its confusing naming strategy and sheer variety of versions, including minibus, dropside trucks, tippers and combi vans that split cargo capacity with extra seating for crew.

Loadspace 8,000-17,000 litres Payload 1,000-2,200kg Fuel economy 34.0-47.9mpg

6) Renault Master

Best large van for all-wheel-drive

Latest Renault Master deals from £7,400
Finance from £152 per month

Navigating the Renault Master brochure is akin to getting stuck into a Dan Brown novel, with so much choice and variety that it requires a few cups of tea and at least a pack of biscuits to get through.

It does mean the Master is one versatile puppy, with not only the option of many wheelbase lengths and cargo capacities but also the ability to specify it in all-wheel-drive for increased traction in adverse conditions.

Just one 2.3-litre dCi engine powers the range but it is available in no less than five different outputs (110hp, 130hp, 145hp, 165hp and 170hp), offering similar performance and economy figures to rivals the Fiat Ducato, Ford Transit and Nissan NV400. That said, the Fiat Ducato remains the economy champ.

Loadspace 8,000-17,000 litres Payload 898-2080kg Fuel economy 30.4-40.4mpg

7) Nissan NV400

Best large van for low running costs

Latest Nissan NV400 deals from £10,795
Finance from £221 per month

The Nissan NV400 shares most of its parts with the previously mentioned Renault Master and Vauxhall Movano, as the three manufacturers work in partnership to create a largely similar van.

The big Nissan also shares much of its oily parts with the Renault, including the engine, but it is offered here in tunes of 110hp to 170hp, offering slightly more variety in the lower powered end of the market. This 2.3-litre diesel engine is also offered in front or rear-wheel drive variants, the latter better suited to larger payloads and towing heavier items.

As well as its efficiency, Nissan's build quality means oil and filter changes are only required every 25,000 miles, or every two years, while parts and servicing tend to be cheaper than some rivals on this list. The warranty is an impressive five years long.

Loadspace 7,800-15,840 litres Payload 948-2080kg Fuel economy 30.4-40.0mpg

8) Peugeot Boxer

Best large van for interior storage and practical touches

Latest Nissan NV400 deals from £10,795
Finance from £221 per month

This joint venture between Citroen (with its Relay) and Fiat (the Ducato) is very similar in terms of what it offers with regards to body styles, lengths, capacities and engine choice but it differs in the styling department - both outside and in.

The interior, in particular, has been very well thought out, with plenty of stowage areas for bottles and cups, extra large door bins and storage space under the seats for kit.

All models receive DAB radio with Bluetooth and USB inputs along with electric heated door mirrors. Professional trim level sees cruise control, manual air conditioning and satellite navigation thrown into the mix. It's a great package for the price, especially when you consider the very frugal diesel engine range, but we can't help thinking the Mercedes-Benz Sprinter and Volkswagen Crafter are the more refined, stylish and technically capable offerings.

Loadspace 8,000-17,000 litres Payload 1,115-1,900kg Fuel economy 44.1-47.1mpg

9) Vauxhall Movano

Best large van for choice

Latest Vauxhall Movano deals from £8,991
Finance from £190 per month

Essentially, there is a Vauxhall Movano for almost every occasion, business nee, or private owner requirement, with four body lengths and three roof heights available, automatic or manual transmissions, four different engines and the option of front and rear-wheel-drive.

Vauxhall also has a van for those that need to move people (enjoy up to 17 seats), those that require a combination of load space and up to nine seats, as well as rubble-movers that perhaps want a tipper or box side van for transporting materials.

The British marque's cabins are also excellent, with a good array of technology on offer and a build quality that makes the interiors of some cheaper rivals feel overtly plastic and scratchy.

Loadspace 7,800-17,000 litres Payload 830-2,110kg Fuel economy 30.4-40.9mpg

10) LDV V80

Best large van for value

 
If the LDV name rings a bell, but you can't quite place it, let us do the hard work. You probably recognise it as the LDV Maxus, which first appeared in 2004, before disappearing in 2010. Now with new Chinese owners, it's back.

It's not hugely different from that old Maxus, and obviously, the interior feels pretty old, as does the rest of it, but it does undercut its rivals by thousands of pounds. Big vans don't come much cheaper than this.

Loadspace From 11,6000 litres Payload From 1,419kg Fuel economy Up to 35.9mpg

              

    

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