By Tom Roberts
Medium vans are the most common type of vans on UK roads. They have the ability to carry large (sometimes heavy) loads while having the advantage of being easier to operate in urban areas where the lack of space on the roads can be challenging to a driver trying to manoeuvre a larger van. Vanarama Van Expert Tom Roberts takes a look at the top 10 medium vans on UK roads today so you don’t have to.
It’s difficult to think of a trade, industry or profession that doesn’t operate a medium van. Only those whose priority is for a larger load volume greater than that offered by a medium van will need to use a bigger vehicle. And there are so many benefits to using a medium van, including the fact that they can often access car parks, including multi-story car parks with height restrictions, something impossible in a large van. A medium van is also easier to park on a residential street or in a private driveway, when compared to a large van.
A medium van also doesn’t have to be used purely for business purposes, as many medium vans are also available as a crew or double cab. These offer an additional row of passenger seats allowing the driver to take friends or family away for weekends, with room in the loadspace area for bags, camping gear, and other leisure equipment.
With that out the way, let’s dig into the top 10 medium vans currently on the roads and reveal a few reasons why they can sometimes even outshine larger vans.
Top 10 Medium Vans 2023
Vauxhall Vivaro Renault Trafic Citroen Dispatch Ford Transit Custom Nissan Primastar Toyota Proace Fiat Scudo Volkswagen Transporter Peugeot Expert LEVC VN5
The Vauxhall Vivaro medium van is a hallmark of the British van industry. Built in Luton, it has been the go-to medium van for thousands of plumbers, electricians and builders who choose the Vivaro over other medium vans time and time again. With its practical loadspace, comfortable cab, excellent payload and economical diesel engines, the Vivaro takes some beating. Vauxhall continually keeps the Vivaro competitive in equipment and specification levels, so whether you opt for a Vivaro Prime with a 100PS engine, or the top-of-the-range GS with a 180HP powerhouse under the bonnet, you’ll get a package that is second to none. And, if you’re after a zero emission fully-electric medium van, consider the Vivaro Electric with its official combined range between charges of 205 miles.
If you’re looking for a no-nonsense medium van that will take anything that you can throw at it, then look no further than the Renault Trafic. It’s been around in its current shape for quite a while now, but don’t think that means that it’s dated. Renault has kept the design for a reason - the load bay is practical and has worked well for tens of thousands of customers over the years who keep coming back. The French manufacturer hasn’t stayed still when it comes to other aspects though. The latest Trafic has a great new front end with a bold grille and LED headlights to top off a fabulous look. There’s an all-new cab interior and dashboard, new tech and some great engine choices too. It’s also one of very few medium vans that come with a volumetric internal alarm system as standard!
There’s no need to compromise if you’ve decided that the Citroen Dispatch is the medium van for you. You’re not forced to have a size, weight, trim or power unit that isn’t quite right for your job. That’s because the Citroen Dispatch is offered in no less that three loadspace lengths, three weights, three trim levels, four engine outputs (including a 180HP monster with an 8-speed automatic transmission), and there’s even a fully-electric version in the form of the Citroen e-Dispatch. This zero-emission model has a range between charges of up to 196 miles - not class leading, but definitely up there. Citroen hasn’t forgotten driver and safety aids either - the Dispatch medium van can be specified with up to 16 state-of-the-art systems, making journeys safer, more comfortable and efficient.
Ford Transit Custom
Britain's best-selling vehicle in 2022 (yes, that includes cars) was the Ford Transit Custom medium van. It outsold every other vehicle on the market! Ford has a commercial vehicle heritage matched by no other manufacturer with the Transit name ingrained firmly in British culture. Since its launch, the Custom has proved itself as a durable, practical workhorse worthy of the Transit name. It's no wonder it’s so popular with small businesses that love its almost car-like driving experience. It features a cab with all the latest tech, a choice of efficient, economical 2.0-litre EcoBlue diesel engines (and a plug-in hybrid option), and the backup of an extensive dealer network. It’s a medium van that ticks all the boxes, and established the benchmark for medium vans as we know them today.
If it looks familiar that’s no surprise, because the Nissan Primastar medium van shares its platform with the Renault Trafic. And why not? With such a proven, popular design, Nissan was on to a winner with that platform. The van is offered in two lengths giving a useful load length of 2937mm, and if you need to carry some weight the Primastar is up to the task with payloads of up to 1227kg. The cab was designed with the working day in mind - there’s plenty of room for the driver and passengers, and there’s no less than 90 litres of in-cab storage. If you’ve no passenger in the centre seat, you can transform it into a handy work table. The practical Primastar is a medium van that is truly fit for purpose and Nissan has so much confidence in the van that it offers a 5-year/100,000-mile warranty as standard - that’s a class-leading warranty length!
Living proof that a modern medium van isn’t just a working tool, it can be smart too. With sharp, snappy looks that would look great outside anyone's house, the Toyota Proace medium van can sit proudly alongside any of its competitors. Just look at the Proace at the Design trim level - it has body-coloured bumpers, door mirrors and handles, and 17-inch 5-spoke machined-faced alloy wheels! This van is simply a stunner, especially when combined with the optional metallic paint. It’s also available in all-electric format.
If you want to be seen behind the wheel of the very latest entrant to the medium van market, then the Fiat Scudo is the van for you. Although sharing its platform with other brands in the Stellantis group, such as Vauxhall and Peugeot, Fiat has stamped its own brand quite literally on the front of the van with the word FIAT in huge letters in the centre of the stylish grille. The new Scudo is available with up to 13 safety systems, all designed to keep you and others safe on the road. These include grip control, automatic emergency brake, traffic signal recognition, lane departure warning and forward collision warning. Some of these are optional, allowing you to choose which features you prefer.
Another medium van with a fantastic heritage, the Volkswagen Transporter demonstrates the reliability and build quality we have all come to expect from the German company. The latest Transporter, the T6.1, brought along a completely new cab interior, the dash being dominated by a touchscreen up to 8 inches in size. There’s a choice of 3 trim levels, including the stunning Sportline, and if you like your driving to be ‘spirited’, the top-of-the-range 204PS engine, perhaps coupled to the 7-speed DSG automatic gearbox, should keep you entertained. The Transporter medium van isn’t shy of work though. You’ll get a Euro pallet in through the side loading door, and the LED-illuminated loadbay will take a load length of up to 2975mm and 1185kg in weight, depending on the model you opt for.
Benefitting from many of the great features offered by the similar Vauxhall, Citroen, Fiat and Toyota medium vans, the Peugeot Expert is a compelling proposition for those needing a van that combines comfort with practicality. The Expert can carry more weight than many large vans, with payloads of up to 1446kg (huge for a medium van). This capability extends to the excellent e-Expert all-electric medium van, which has a payload of 1000kg, also benefiting from the Expert’s load volume of either 5.3 or 6.1 cubic metres, depending on whether you choose the Standard or Long version.
The fact that this van looks a bit like a London Taxi isn’t coincidental. It’s built by the same UK-based company, and shares much of the styling. But if you look at the loadspace, it’s as though the vehicle was designed as a van from the ground up with its ability to carry up to 830kg (depending on model) in its 5.5 cubic metre loadspace. What makes the VN5 medium van different is that it's one of the very few powered by a hybrid of a petrol engine and an electric motor. The engine is only used to charge the VN5’s battery pack so, not only is the van purely driven by the electric motor, you’ll never need to look for a charge point (providing you keep some petrol in the tank). If you get home and there’s not much range left, you can always plug it into a wallbox charger to top it up overnight if you’d like to give the engine a break the following day. Very versatile.
Medium Van FAQs
Why Lease A Medium Van?
If you’re looking for a new hassle-free way of driving away in a brand new medium van, leasing could be the perfect option for you. You’ll pay affordable fixed monthly payments with no hidden costs or fees. Find out more about how van leasing works or find unbeatable prices with our medium van lease deals.
Are Medium Vans Reliable?
These days, medium vans are extremely reliable. The warranty lengths that manufacturers offer on their medium vans demonstrates their confidence that your new medium van will be trouble-free for years.
Are Medium Vans Economical To Drive?
The latest Euro 6 diesel engines are efficient and economical. Many medium vans will now return around 40mpg in real-world use. Check the manufacturer’s specifications for their official figures when comparing the fuel consumption of medium vans**.**
Can I Tow With A Medium Van?
Virtually all diesel medium vans can tow, but may be subject to tachograph regulations. Some electric medium vans are not approved for towing. Always check the vehicle specs before trying to tow. Find out more on towing with a van.
How Much Weight Can Medium Vans Move?
Some medium vans can carry more weight than a large van. For example, the Ford Transit Custom can carry up to 1227kg, depending on the specification you choose.
What Is The Standard Cargo Space Of A Medium Van?
Typically, an L1 (short wheelbase) medium van has a load volume of around 5.3 cubic metres, whereas an L2 with a high roof can take over 8.0 cubic metres.
Find more insights, reviews and news in the Vanarama Vans blog, or check out our latest van leasing deals