As lockdown begins to ease in the UK, the summer months are a perfect time to look at the latest deals on new light commercial vehicles for your business. To make things easier for you, Vanarama Van Expert Tom Roberts has taken a closer look at the top 10 vans & pickup trucks available to lease right now so you have somewhere to start your hunt.
It's been a strange year - that much we can all agree on - but as the UK emerges from lockdown into the "new normal", it's time for light commercial vehicle-driving businesses to get back to normal.
What better way to start doing that is there than having a look at the best brand-new light commercial vehicles (all packing the latest Euro 6.2 emission standard engines) available to lease right now? If you're in the market for a personal/business car, you can read a similar post all about the best lease deals on brand new cars here.
Now, let's take a look at the top 10 light commercial vehicles split by vehicle type & size.
The excellent Citroen Berlingo small van appears on so many top lists & for good reason. At launch it reaped a load of awards giving it a sales boost it's managed to maintain since early 2019. It's a very popular fleet van too - just like its other PSA Group small van brethren - with operators praising its economic running costs & hard-wearing interiors.
Under the bonnet are some of the best 1.5-litre diesel engines on the market, offering users real savings & with the right configuration a combined miles-per-gallon rating of 68.9 MPG. The loading bay is a particular highlight with a maximum range load volume of 3.8 cubic metres & maximum payloads of up to 1000kg. The Berlingo is also capable of braked towing a load of up to 1,200kg (depending on model) & unbraked loads of up to 750kg.
As a complete package, the Citroen Berlingo excels in the small van category & is well worth a look - you can even add an extra side sliding door meaning you'll never have to worry which side of the van is on the pavement to unload from.
Ford Transit Connect
The Ford Transit Connect rounds out Ford's small van offering perfectly sitting at the top of that category for the iconic brand. Ford knows how to make well-priced vans that offer real return on investment in cabin & engine quality - the Connect is a prime example of that!
Packing 1.5-litre diesel engines from Ford's EcoBlue range under the bonnet means the Connect offers users strong fuel economy. Couple that to maximum load volumes of up to 3.6 cubic metres & maximum payloads of up to 967kg (depending on model chosen) & you can see why there are so many Connects on the road.
As I've said in previous articles (& to anyone who'll listen), Ford vans are where most searches for their perfect van begin - most people who seriously look at the Connect usually end up going for it!
With one of the most intuitively put together cabins in the small van sector, the Peugeot Partner is a top pick for anyone looking to upgrade their light commercial vehicle. Of all the PSA Group small vans, this is the one that seems to get the most praise for having a truly different cabin with a classy steering wheel, nice driving position & ergonomic layout.
Power comes from the usual 1.5-litre diesel engines providing plenty of power when it's needed. The loading bays offer up maximum load volumes of up to 4.4 cubic metres & maximum payloads of up to 950kg. The Partner is also no slouch when it comes to towing providing unbraked towage of up to 750kg & braked towage of up to 1,200kg (depending on model chosen).
Fleet operators love the Partner - you'll see a lot of them on the road covered in branding - but you'll also see a surprising amount of independent users going for this excellent van. It's a testament to the Partner actually offering something different from the other vans it shares a platform with. High praise indeed.
Ford Transit Custom
Medium vans take their cues from the Ford Transit Custom - it's the perfect example of what a medium should be: affordable, comfortable, reliable & powerful. It's the UK's best-selling van for exactly these reasons - in fact, if you totted up the figures you'll find the Transit Custom is one of the UK's top 5 best-selling vehicles (not just vans).
Beneath the hood, Ford's impressive 2.0-litre EcoBlue diesel engines provide the power & excellent running costs. Across the range you'll find load volumes of up to 7.2 cubic metres & max payloads of up to 1,459kg (depending on which model you choose). The Custom is also good for towing offering users unbraked towage of up to 750kg & braked towage of up to 2,800kg (again, depending on model chosen).
In my opinion, medium van users should use the Ford Transit Custom as their benchmark when choosing what to drive next - the cabins are amazing, the running costs are excellent & its practicality is hard to argue with.
Those van drivers looking for a bit of class should have a serious look at the Mercedes-Benz Vito. The three spokes don't usually come cheap - unless you lease one - but what you get for your money is compelling. Mercedes-Benz vehicles ooze class - even when that vehicle is a van!
In the range you'll find the rear-wheel drive versions use powerful 2.0-litre diesel engines, while the front-wheel drive versions use 1.7-litre engines - the latter offering some excellent economy gains. It's not just classy either, in the back it's all business with load volumes up to 6.9 cubic metres & maximum payloads of up to 1,215kg. It's got some serious game when it tows too with maximum braked towage of up to 2,500kg across the range (depending on model chosen).
In summary - if you're looking for a stylish medium van with some big-brand credibility & head-turning looks, there's nothing else like the Mercedes-Benz Vito. It somehow manages to be incredibly smart looking & practical without compromising on either.
I've seen the Vauxhall Vivaro being built first hand - my team & I spent a whole day at the Luton-based manufacturing plant filming the whole process - so I can say with some authority that these vans are built to last! They're the last bastion of British van manufacturing & wear the badge proudly (have you seen Vauxhall's "Made In BritVAN" advertising campaign?).
Ultra-modern 1.5-litre diesel engines provide the power with the option for an automatic gearbox on the still-available 2.0-litre engine. In the back the Vivaro offers load volumes of up to 6.6 cubic metres & maximum payloads of up to 1,458kg (depending on which one you opt for). Like its PSA Group brethren it's completely capable of towing loads up unbraked of up to 750kg & braked loads of up to 2,500kg (depending on model chosen).
I'm a Vivaro fan of both new & old models - it's got too many fans & positive attributes to ignore. The new model is the best version of the Vivaro yet & I guarantee that choosing one for your next van would be a great decision.
It's hard to believe the Vauxhall Movano has been around for nearly a decade - but the latest version shows Vauxhall understand the large van sector just as well as the smaller end of the market. It's a cavernous powerhouse that combines excellent engines with the ability to swallow huge loads while it eats up the miles.
Under the hood are refined 2.3-litre diesel engines that offer a smooth drive & savings at the fuel pumps. In the back you'll find maximum load volumes of up to 17 cubic metres & maximum payloads of over 2,100kg (depending on model chosen). Like other large vans you'll be able to take advantage of braked towage of up to 3,000kg & unbraked of up to 750kg (again, depending on model chosen).
Big vans make all the difference to the right users & you'd be hard pushed to find one that performs so strongly for such a low price (which is even lower on a lease). So, while you might be thinking a Ford Transit is the way to go, I'd recommend taking a look at the Movano too - you might just find out you love it.
Big vans tend to be capable of the same load volumes & towing limits - there's no surprises with the Peugeot Boxer in those respects. What is surprising, however, is the quality of the cabin across the range. Even at the lowest trim level the Boxer offers up an excellent combination of comfort & storage in the front, with some nice tweaks available in its list of optional extras.
Under the bonnet you'll find more modern versions of the van's stalwart 2.2-litre diesel engines. In the back you have a maximum load volume of up to 17 cubic metres & payloads of up to 1,900kg (depending on model chosen) - very high for the sector. Braked towage of up to 3,000kg & unbraked towage of up to 750kg (depending on model chosen) are also at your disposal.
Peugeot seems to understand cabins better than most manufacturers (apart from maybe Ford & Mercedes-Benz) & that is clear to see in the Boxer large van. While you might not look at the Boxer first, once you dig into the spec & trim options you'll find a lot to like.
The Mitsubishi L200 can do it all - snow, mud, wind, rain, hills, mountains - I've even driven one up an indoor ski slope (it was the only truck of 3 that managed it without getting buried up to the top of its wheel arches). It's a tough vehicle that takes some beating across its whole range & trim levels.
Across the range you'll find 2.3-litre diesel engines under the bonnet hooked up to some of the largest AdBlue tanks in the sector. These powerful engines help the L200 carry maximum payloads of 1,080kg across the range - single or double cab. Most impressive is it's effortless ability to tow braked triple-axle trailers with loads of up to 3,500kg sat on top - it has to be driven fully loaded for you to understand just how powerful this truck is!
As I said, I've done it all in this vehicle & found it as easy to drive up 2-foot deep snow drifts as I did on the motorways. It's also an incredibly good-looking truck thanks to some styling cues borrowed from the Mitsubishi Outlander SUV - you will turn some heads driving this imposing vehicle about, that's for sure.
The price points & warranties on Nissan Navara pickup trucks make them hard to ignore - many people snap them up once they see the 5-year warranty stickers on the tailgates! The Navara has earned its stripes though - it's an incredibly stylish & capable truck, more so in this latest generation than any other.
Under the hood are 2.3-litre diesel engines that make mincemeat of the roads - they're also incredibly quiet for a truck of this size. At the business end, you'll be able to take advantage of class-topping maximum payloads of 1,310kg (depending on model chosen). Like most other pickup trucks, it's capable of towing a loaded braked trailer of up to 3,500kg in weight - it's kind of expected these days, right?
While I might personally feel that other pickup trucks are more powerful or practical, I've always liked the Navara's no-nonsense style & abilities. It's a great truck with a great warranty that will not let you down in the areas you expect a pickup truck to perform - 'nuff said really.