Best vans for couriers and delivery drivers

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Due to the high demand in online shopping in the past few years, the UK has seen an influx of thousands of new courier van drivers take to the roads, but which van is the best for delivering goods?

With many van drivers being self-employed it is essential you choose the right van for your business. That’s why we’ve put a guide together on the best vans for delivery drivers, although please note, one size does not fit all and the best delivery van for yourself is one that suits your needs.

1. Ford Fiesta Van

The Ford Fiesta is a perfect local town or city van. Although the van has been discontinued, it’s still a brilliant choice for couriers and there are plenty of second-hand models to choose from.

Not all delivery drivers need to haul huge amounts of boxes around town and the intimidating dimensions of a van can be off-putting. If you are delivering smaller goods or orders that are lightweight, then the Fiesta will be plenty big enough.

With a rear window, a bulkhead with a meshed top you can see through and the same dimensions as the standard Fiesta, it is the perfect size to nip in and out of tight spots around town, especially if you have no previous experience of driving a commercial vehicle. The Ford Fiesta Van is also one of the cheapest vans to insure.

2. Citroen Berlingo

The main reason why the Citroen Berlingo is such a good delivery van 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 as you will not be driving around with too much weight in the back of your van, but it’s also more efficient. If you are unsure about whether you are close to the maximum, you may want to play it safe and not overload. 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.

3. Mercedes-Benz Sprinter

There’s a reason why thousands of van drivers up and down the country have chosen the Mercedes-Benz Sprinter as their van of choice. It’s perfect for those who make 100 or more drops every day.

It’s well known for its spacious cab, which makes getting in and out of the van less of a chore than others on this list. What’s more, the seat is incredibly durable, a real must for any full-time courier.

This five-door van has electrical power steering, hill start assist and active brake assist to name but a few features. It’s one of the best delivery vans for bigger loads because it can handle a volume of 14m³ and has 270 degree rear doors.

One thing you should take into consideration is the payload. With large vans, it’s very easy to assume it can carry more than it can. Make sure the load does not exceed 1000kgs.

However, if you’re sold on the Sprinter, but need to carry more weight, Mercedes also do the L2H1 version for those that carry over 1300kgs.

4. Ford Transit

The Ford Transit is another good option for bigger loads because it can handle a volume of about 12m³ and has 180 degree rear doors. This clever van has front and rear parking sensors, an adjustable steering wheel and much more.

With 2.3m3 of load space and a maximum gross payload of almost 600kg (not including passengers), this van offers ample storage room. It’s also nice and compact, making it ideal for shorter delivery jobs in busy cities.

5. Nissan Interstar

Nissan may not be the first manufacturer you think of when it comes to vans, but the Interstar is a strong and reliable van, with a large practical load space, a spacious cab, and an efficient and economical engine.

With a range of layouts, ready-to-go conversions and Nissan’s renowned strength and quality, the Interstar is a fantastic van for delivery drivers and couriers.

6. Vauxhall Vivaro

The Vauxhall Vivaro is often considered to be one of the most reliable courier vans on the market. It includes features such as an anti-lock braking system with electronic force distribution, an adjustable steering column and an electronic stability program with traction control.

You won’t find a better medium sized van than the Vivaro. The load bay is spacious, with a back height of 1.2m and 1.3m wide, while the L2 version gives you a load length of 2.8m, which is incredibly useful for those drivers who are delivering longer packages. The payload is also set at a whopping 1415kg across all versions.

For delivery drivers looking for the perfect van that blends space, mobility and excellent running costs, the Vauxhall Vivaro is definitely the place to start. Higher trim levels pack in a lot more tech, but even the lower more affordable variants still have all the usual bells and whistles you’d expect.

7. Renault Trafic

The Renault Trafic is one of the smaller vans on this list, but don’t count it out just yet. If you need to navigate tight roads or don’t need a large vehicle like the Vivaro, then this French piece of kit is perfect for you.

It offers great comfort, drivability and efficiency – perfect for drivers carrying smaller parcels or a smaller payload.

And thanks to its panel van models, the Trafic is perfect for business use. This is a spacious and customisable van with maximum payloads of up to 1251kg and load volumes of up to 8.9m3. With lots of built-in tools, you’ll be well equipped for a busy delivery day.

How to choose the right van

best vans

Here are some things you should consider before making your purchase.

Figure out the best sized van for your courier work

Choosing the right van for your job can be a tricky task, but the key is to ensure it can carry the payload you require. You can always scale up as your business starts to grow. You also do not want to be using a van that will cost you more money in fuel than you require.

Small vans

If you have your own business, or work as a contractor for a delivery company, a small van is the perfect choice to keep your expenses down. Choosing a smaller van, rather than a larger panelled one, is smart on fuel consumption and should increase your profit margins whilst still providing you with a decent sized payload.

Medium panel vans

These are perfect for most delivery driving jobs. A mid-panel van such as the Renault Trafic is an excellent choice for those who are looking for a robust vehicle that’s still easy to drive in tight areas such as housing estates.

Large panel vans

If you need to haul a huge load, that’s where vans such as the Mercedes-Benz Sprinter come in handy. If you’re delivering large goods such as furniture, you will need a large panel van that offers a substantial area that will comfortably fit your payload.

Make sure your van is secure

Most modern vans all come with a high level of security, but if you’re transporting expensive goods it might be best to look at additional security measures to avoid van break-ins and other mishaps that could impact your business.

If you’re buying a new van, make sure you get adequate security measures fitted. Get an alarm, an immobiliser and deadlocks even if they are not standard on your particular model; it’s worth forking out a little extra for peace of mind.

If you’re not sure whether your van has been fitted with an immobiliser, read our blog on how to find out if you have a factory-fitted immobiliser. If you don’t already have one, it might be worth investing in an immobiliser.

Make sure you consider comfort

Due to the nature of the job, you will spend large amounts of time in your van, so it’s important you pick one that’s comfortable. Whilst checking engine size and durability are fine traits, you of course need to ensure you don’t get aches and pains while driving.

If you’re able to, make sure you take a test drive in your van for a prolonged period of time so you can really figure out how comfortable you feel while driving. It’s also a good idea to check you’re happy with the setup of the dashboard.

Check your van’s fuel efficiency

If you do short distance deliveries, you will need to pay extra attention to the miles per gallon (MPG) a van can do. MPG takes into account the stopping and starting you’ll be doing if you have a lot of deliveries within a short distance.

If you’re more interested in vans for long deliveries, pay attention to ‘MPG Extra’ as this will inform the mileage you’ll get if you’re spending most of your time driving on motorways in between stops.

‘MPG Combined’ will let you know the mileage you can expect doing some sort of combination of the two. Whichever option you’re looking for, the best vans for courier drivers are ones that don’t break the bank on fuel.

Courier van insurance you can trust

By talking to an insurance specialist you can ensure you’re answering all the questions correctly, and have someone on your side to help find ways to save you money and get the very best and most affordable cover.

Finding an insurance company that offers good deals on van insurance can be difficult, especially ones that take your individual needs into account.

At Adrian Flux, we offer van insurance that’s tailored to your delivery or courier work, providing you with the peace of mind that your vehicle is covered. Call us on 0800 369 8590 or book a callback at a time that suits you.

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