The UK's tireless delivery drivers keep the country ticking along delivering food, parcels and more, but delivery companies need reliable, spacious vans to provide top-notch delivery service. So, here's Vanarama Van Expert Tom Roberts to take a look at the best vans for delivery companies available to lease right now.
The UK loves online shopping which explains why the courier and express delivery market has rocketed into double digit growth increasing 12% over the last year to reach a value of £12.6 billion.* This doesn't include the growth of supermarket delivery services which is likely to outstrip by several more billions.
A good delivery service needs reliable vehicles, and if you're looking for a new vehicle to add to your delivery business, where better to start than with vans? But when it comes to vans, there's a huge choice available. Leasing them makes the best sense - because businesses pay fixed monthly payments for brand-new vans covered by manufacturer warranties - but where do you start with choosing the right van?
Well, let's take a look at the 3 vans below as a starting point:
Ford Transit Connect - The Staple Small Van
Big on space, big on choice. While it sounds like the usual catchy marketing speak, it's 100% backed up by this excellent small van that has watched new arrivals in its sector from Vauxhall, Citroen, Peugeot and Toyota muscle in. But while it might seem like it's under siege from the other players, don't believe the hype, the little Ford Transit Connect is a huge force to be reckoned with.
Ford says the Connect is big on choice and big on space… and they're not wrong! Even with the shortest L1 models you're looking at 1.2m wide x 1.2m high back doors, a 43cm wide x 1.2m wide side sliding door & an excellent loadspace length of 1.5m, width at 1.5m at max and 1.2m between the wheel arches.
It's a really great space & can easily fit 1 or 2 Euro pallets secured in place with lashing points & multiple hook points. Payload across the models starts at 600kg, but the average hovers around 740kg and can top out at just over 1000kg with the bigger variants.
Under the bonnet is an impressive 1.5 litre EcoBlue Diesel engine that returns anywhere between 58.9mpg to 68.9mpg! The gearbox is responsive – the 6-speed box really makes itself felt - and is complemented well by a low turning circle and car-like comfort.
Overall, the Connect handles like a dream, feeling like a much sportier vehicle than it looks! This truly is a small van that packs a punch in the small van sector & nowhere is that more obvious in its excellent cabin – in fact, it's one of the best I've ever sat in.
The Ford Transit Connect does face competition from other small vans, and there are plenty of others that might turn your head… all I can say is that while others might squeak ahead on their user-friendly interiors or a knock-out front end, the Ford Transit Connect often has them beat by having all that AND an MPG rating that will save you a packet in fuel costs! Perfect for short or long-hop delivery drivers.
Vauxhall Vivaro - The UK-Built Medium Van
Vauxhall is a big name in the van world. From the first Bedfords to the modern-day Combo and the NEW Vauxhall Vivaro medium panel van. This medium van is the last bastion of British vans and is made at Vauxhall's plant based just up the road from Vanarama HQ in Luton!
Let's be clear… this is a van built on the shared medium duty van platform from the PSA Group stable, which means the interiors are very similar. But, the build quality is excellent and tough, with durable plastics all over the place… even the seat fibre is strong, and I imagine you could be sliding on and off the seat all day on deliveries for a good few years before they show any wear and tear.
The loading bay is spacious and easily accessible with a back door height and width of 1.2m and 1.3m, respectively. Load length is 2.8m, but that can be increased by the load-through to 4m - very useful for those longer packages. Loading bay height is 1.4m, width is 1.6m (down to 1.2m between the arches) and easily accessible from the side too thanks to the 1.2m-high by 1m-wide side door. Payload is impressive at an average of 1415kg across the range - that's a lot of parcels and sausages!
The 1st generation launched in 2001 & after a tonne of facelifts, better engines and other updates, the 2nd generation launched in 2014. We didn't have to wait long until the 3rd generation launched in the UK at The CV Show in April 2019, showing off the all-new 2.0-litre diesel engine with electric stability & excellent new traction control system.
Delivery drivers looking for that 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. Start your search with this van!
Citroen Relay - The Reliable Large Van
Size isn't everything… unless you're looking for a large van in which case size is pretty important! If you've ever seen a Fiat Ducato or Peugeot Boxer large van then you might not have realised you were staring at a Citroen Relay - delivery drivers should check this van out.
It's a proper workhorse, and not only is it capable of carrying huge loads, its running costs are some of the best in the category, something Citroen are VERY proud about. They're also proud about letting people know that it went through a ton of testing – 4m kilometres of test driving and 500,000 door slams.
It features one of the widest load bays in this class of van, at 1.8m between partitions and 1.4m between the inner wheel arches. The back doors are nearly 2m high and 1.5m wide, the side door is also 1.2m wide meaning you can slide pallets in and out through there too!
Payload weight limit is 1500kg – other variants of the panel van can carry anything up to 1995kg (a whopping great payload). H3 versions of the Relay are top of the class at 2.1m high (better than the Sprinter and VW Crafter) & the standard steel bulkhead has plenty of fixing points and fittings across the full height of the van.
Driver comfort is also solid & for a basic-looking interior, it's comfy. Suspension is bouncy when empty but stiffens well under load & the 2-litre BlueHDi engine is powerful - Citroen has always been good at selecting hard-wearing, hard-working engines. For its size, the Relay boasts an easy drive with a really low turning circle for such a big van.
Overall, while the cabin is basic, it still has the creature comforts you need in a delivery van. But it's a workhorse, does it have to be an overblown tech cavern? The Relay is a hard-working vehicle, so it's all about being highly durable from the front to the back. and ideal for long distances.
And you might expect to pay for that durability, but the Relay is a great van, available for great prices, especially when you lease one.
How To Choose The Right Delivery Van
The major factors that should influence your choice of van for a delivery company or courier work are as follows with my recommendations on what to consider:
How Much Will You Need To Deliver Daily?
The amount of goods you need to deliver daily will naturally affect your choice of vans. But, as you can see from the similar payloads in the Vivaro and Relay, just because you carry a lot of weight doesn't mean you need a big van. Big vans are perfect for big (in terms of volume) deliveries, medium vans are more suited to multiple smaller goods packed into a smaller space. Small vans have their place for short-hop delivery companies & some of you will go straight for them.
Do You Need A Refrigerated Van?
If you deliver foodstuffs, chances are you'll need a fridge van. You'll be pleased to know that most vans can be easily converted into fridge vans & that Vanarama can lease them to you. If you've seen a van you like on this page, when you get in touch with us just let us know you want a fridge version. Simple as that.