Having reviewed & driven a fair few medium vans in 2019, it's time to reveal the top 3 & crown a best medium van of 2019. Tom Roberts reports.
It sounds like a well-worn cliche, but medium vans really do come in all shapes & sizes, not to mention trim levels of varying degrees of luxury comfort.
Medium vans are the staple choice for trades of all types. Van driving small business owners are the backbone of the British economy, & while small & large vans have their place, medium vans continue to outsell other sized vans in their thousands. So, here are my top 3 medium vans… let me know if you agree.
Bronze: Vauxhall Vivaro
The latest version of the Vauxhall Vivaro surprised a lot of people on its debut (including me), but it feels like a home from home & is already seeing strong uptake by van drivers across the UK.
Vauxhall is a big name in the van world. From the first Bedfords to the modern-day Combo, this medium van is the last bastion of British vans, made at Vauxhall's plant based just up the road from Vanarama HQ in Luton!
Vauxhall are so pleased with it that they've invented a new country in their tagline… "Made in BRITVAN". & they have good reason to be proud - a tough 2.0-litre diesel engine, a variety of lengths & added bells & whistles make this feel like the medium van Britain needs right now.
And you can't argue with nearly 17,000 sold this year alone.
Silver: Toyota Proace
In my opinion, the Toyota Proace at the Design trim level is one of the best-looking PSA Group EMP2 platform sharers. Toyota have done a good job making it feel like their van even though it shares SOOO much with 3 other vans on the market right now (Vauxhall Vivaro, Citroen Dispatch & Peugeot Expert).The Design trim level van from our review featured front & rear parking sensors, fog lights, body-coloured bumpers, 17" machined-face alloy wheels & various body-coloured door handles & door mirrors. & on the inside it was packed with tech from smart entry, push-button start, infotainment system & much more.The excellent 2.0-litre diesel engine, automatic 8-speed gearbox & a maximum payload of 1400kg is just the icing on the cake of a loading bay that even without height options feels big. I can get behind the Proace, & I can behind Toyota pushing the PSA Group to let them make their version as "Toyota" as possible. This is a great medium van that I'd have no hesitation in recommending to anyone.
Medium Van Of The Year: Ford Transit Custom
At the top of the pile, the Ford Transit Custom has outsold any other van - not just medium vans - with nearly 50,000 sold year-to-date. It's instantly recognisable & subtle changes in its appearance are made at different trim levels, the one we reviewed was a limited trim level.
It was an excellent ride with plenty of practicality to shout about. At the front end is that huge open chrome-trimmed grille, under the hood is a powerful Euro6 2.0-litre EcoBlue engine that returns great running costs, & the road is visible through the imposing quick-clear windscreen. Payload is slightly less than you'd expect at around 850kg, but it's more than enough for the standard level of kit most trades need to carry.
The Ford Transit Custom's enduringly high sales figures are not an anomaly or fluke, they're high because the van does its job incredibly well. It is the answer to the question of what a medium van needs to look like & be capable of. If the Custom wasn't a good van, it wouldn't sell in its thousands EVERY month.
The platform is solid, the range extensive & trim levels desirable. & let's face it… even if I recommend checking it out, you probably already have. The search for the right medium van usually starts with the Ford Transit Custom… & for thousands of you, it will end here too!
Ford Transit Custom Price Comparison
If you're tempted by the Ford Transit Custom (and I don't blame you), you might be wondering how to get behind the wheel of one. Well, you could buy a used one outright… or you could save £14,500 by leasing a brand new van instead. Check out the costings below:
Buying used (equivalent spec, 21,000 miles on the clock):
Buy Outright: £22,794
Or, personal loan repayments (representative APR of 27.4%): 60 monthly payments of £478.46.
- **Total: £28,707.81 **(£2000 more than buying a new one!)
Leasing brand new:
Finance Lease: £2460 initial rental + 59 monthly rentals at £199 per month.
- Total: £14,201 (£8000 less than buying a new one outright)