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Top 3 medium-sized vans for the trades 2020

Are you in the trades? Here's 3 top vans! Easy to drive, easy to load and easy to keep running – sounds like a winning formula to us and the best way to describe medium vans. Vanarama's Tom Roberts rounds up three of the most popular available right now.**

Medium vans are the most versatile and best-selling light commercial vehicles out there. They're loved by the trades (builders, plumbers, electricians) thanks to their roomy load spaces, compact profiles and economy.

And when it comes to working out which one is best for you, you'll know what you're after – I'm guessing car-like comfort combined with practicality and a reliability? That's why I've whacked together a list of three of the most popular out there – the Ford Transit Custom, Vauxhall Vivaro and Mercedes-Benz Vito.

My belief has always been that if a particular van is already popular with the trades, there's probably some good reasons why…so, wanna have a closer look at my top 3 medium vans for the trades?

Ford Transit Custom SWB Limited


The Transit Custom is not just a smaller version of the Transit, it's a totally different shape that maximises on a slightly smaller profile in meaningful ways. Our customer Chris Herbert said: "It's the best van I've had in my twenty years of running commercial vehicles. I cannot fault the Transit Custom."

And other customers are full of praise for the way the Custom feels to drive, with many comparing it to a high-spec car. Miles per gallon measurements hover nicely in the 40s – even with the most powerful engines available, and all are front-wheel drive.

Ford's 2.0-litre EcoBlue TDCi engine has proved to be a great choice for inclusion in the Custom allowing users real savings in fuel consumption, with Ford estimating possible savings at around £1,250 a year!

Short and long wheel base versions provide users with around 6-7 cubic metres of load volume – something you'd expect in a mid-size panel van – and the high-roof model allows for even more with a capacity of 8.3 cubic metres – but I'd recommend taking your first look at the SWB version. Check out my video review for a better look inside.

Vauxhall Vivaro SWB Sportive


Diesel engines across the board mean long journeys won't cost you with the Vauxhall Vivaro – miles per gallon sit nicely in the 40s across the available models. One of our customers, Brett Barker, highlighted this in his review, saying: "This to me is the most practical and economical van on the market – really happy with the mpg I'm getting."

There are various engine sizes available, the one you go for will be determined by the amount of power you want and the amount of load you regularly carry, but even with the smallest engine available it still packs power.

With a simple choice of wheel base length – each with two choices of roof height – Vauxhall has made it easy to narrow down which version of the Vivaro you plug for, but I'd recommend the SWB Sportive version as your starting point.

The driving position, though not as high as some, gives you a great view of the road, and the big door mirrors combined with the Vivaro's compact size help with tricky manoeuvres into tight spaces. Oh, and in the cabin, there's a fold-out mobile office with a bloomin' removable clipboard mounted in it – how cool is that?! Seriously, check out this video and you'll see what I mean.

Mercedes-Benz Vito 111CDi Long


With the Vito, Mercedes-Benz aims to take it's big-name style and poise and apply it to an affordable medium panel van – the result is a vehicle built for the trades that embodies build quality, a comfortable ride with all that big-badge prestige the three points offer.

Vanarama customer Matt Wright said: "It is clearly a quality vehicle, very well finished and great looking. The load space is excellent and removing the back seat couldn't be simpler." Can't argue with that – and the Long version is by far the best place to start with the Vito.

The Mercedes Vito has been most noted for its economy, with most in the range sitting comfortably in the 40s when it comes to mpg. And, Mercedes-Benz have always been good at balancing the value of the big name with excellent running costs – the Vito is a key example of this.

While there are no high-roof versions of the Vito, this is more than compensated for by the differing lengths, from Standard to Long and Extra-long. The Long version is my favourite because it can happily carry large-sized materials without being too big to drive in towns…and the sliding door and huge swing doors make accessing this classy van a doddle.

There you go, three cracking medium vans that tradespeople up and down the country are raving about. Which one are you interested in? Give us a call on 01442 838195 if you want to talk to someone about the deals…or fill in the quote form on the right-hand side of this page.

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