Automatic vans are incredibly popular among operators who drive long distances for their job – and you wouldn't believe the amount of vans there are to choose from, all of them incredibly affordable when you drive them on a new van lease.
Whether you're self-employed, a sole trader, part of small company or start-up, the simple fact is that an automatic van will eliminate the hassle inherent with driving – especially if you need a large van for your job. They are heavy vehicles, and the automatic transmission combined with excellent power steering makes driving them an easy proposition.
Take being stuck in traffic as an example, with an automatic van there's no need to get aching legs from clutch control, just sit back and let the vehicle do the work. Electricians, builders, carpenters, masons, painters, kitchen and bathroom fitter, plumbers, heating engineers – whatever your trade, surely you work hard enough during the day that the drive home should be effortless? That's where a van lease on an automatic van will come into its own.
Benefits of driving automatic vans
Let's look through some of the key benefits of driving (and leasing) automatic vans.
Automatic transmission vans have come a very long way in recent years. Long gone are the days when automatic vans were thirsty, noisy, less reliable and slower than vans with a conventional manual gearbox. With sophisticated electronics able to sense vehicle speed, engine load, and other factors, the changes are timed perfectly to ensure optimum performance, economy and smoothness. With modern automatic gearboxes, gear changes can be seamless, and in some cases almost imperceptible.
When driving in an area with lots of hills, the automatic transmission will save all that effort expended when constantly changing gear in a van with a conventional gearbox. It takes out all the guesswork as to whether you should change down, change up, or stay in the same gear. Whether you are a plumber, builder, courier, heating engineer or electrician, you'll arrive at journey's end with less fatigue and ready for the day ahead.
As we've mentioned, in urban areas, or, where there is a traffic hold up, an automatic van takes a great deal of stress out of the driver's day. No one wants to be stuck in a stop-start, 5-mile motorway tailback, but a driver will suffer much less fatigue when his left foot and arm are not constantly changing gear.
Another great benefit that comes with an automatic van is that they are almost impossible to stall, something we have all done, especially when trying to start on a hill.
Recognising the benefits that an automatic van can offer, many fleet operators are now introducing more and more vans with an automatic transmission into their fleets. Indeed, almost all the supermarket delivery vans that are a regular sight on the road have an automatic gearbox. It's not just fleets though, many small businesses are recognising the advantages of leasing a brand new automatic van.
Although the cost of an automatic van may be higher initially, they are worth more on the second-hand market. When you lease a new automatic van from Vanarama, the lease rate takes into account this predicted resale value, meaning that your monthly payment might not be too dissimilar to that of a manual van.
Many new vans are available to lease with automatic transmission. Here are a few of the ones which we think really cut the mustard and which you can lease from Vanarama.
Small Automatic Vans
The New Citroen Berlingo van
Swallowing up loads of up to 1050kg, and lengths of over 3.4 metres the new Citroen Berlingo van is a real workhorse. Not only that, it can be configured with some of the latest safety and driver convenience technology. The 132hp diesel engine can be ordered with an 8-speed automatic transmission, which includes paddle shift levers under the steering wheel for easy changes if the driver decides to select the manual mode.
Ford Transit Connect
Consistently in the top 5 best selling vans, the Ford Transit Connect van is a great looking and very capable load carrier. In its latest incarnation, it has an almost unbeatable level of technology and four great trim levels to suit every type of business, from the well-equipped base to the luxurious sport model. The 100PS and 120PS diesel engines are available with a 6-speed automatic transmission which includes a fuel-efficient auto stop-start function.
Medium Automatic Vans
Ford Transit Custom
Britains best selling van just gets better. The 2018 Ford Transit Custom facelift added a whole host of improvements including a brand new cab interior and the optional 6-speed automatic transmission which makes an already first-class driving experience even better. Not only that, but when coupled to the 170PS diesel engine, it only has a 1.5 mpg fuel consumption penalty compared to the manual van. That's really something worth knowing when considering leasing an automatic van.
The iconic VW Transporter van – although it's heritage can be traced back to the 'flower power' camper van of the 1960s, this latest version is completely unrecognisable from its roots. The Transporter probably has the most loyal following of any van, and it has a deserved reputation for quality and reliability. Not only that, it has as an option on the 150PS and 204PS diesel engines of what is arguably the most desirable automatic gearbox of all, the legendary 'DSG' (direct shift gearbox). The same unit that is fitted to Volkswagen's family cars, it has a reputation for being silky smooth with delicate, gentle changes, even when being pushed hard. And, it gets better – a Transporter with DSG has better fuel economy than its manual sibling.
Large Automatic Vans
It's not just the smaller, good looking bunch that get the option of an automatic gearbox. The advantages are just as valid for the larger, workhorse sector and the Mercedes-Benz Sprinter is no exception. The Mercedes Sprinter range of vans, chassis cabs and minibuses is one of the most comprehensive on offer and, with the latest facelift all come with some very serious tech. Automatic gearboxes are courtesy of the 7G-TRONIC (7 speed, RWD and AWD only) and 9G-TRONIC (9 speed, FWD only) smooth, sophisticated and very capable units.
With lengths, payloads, bodystyles, engines and trim levels for just about any requirement, the legendary Ford Transit continues to dominate the large van sector. Ford were quite late to the party with an automatic transmission option for the Transit but when specified (on FWD vehicles only), the SelectShift 6-speed unit gives the driver a more relaxing, stress free driving experience.