types of van
Vivaro Limited Edition Nav
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There are lots of types of van on the market, ranging from car-derived vans like the Ford Fiesta to expansive six-seater crew models like the Mercedes Viano.

There are also stripped-down chassis vans for those who need to build a van to their own requirements.

Let’s break down the different types of van to see which one best fits your needs.

To find the type of van that suits you, either scroll down through the article to discover the variety available. Or if you know the type of van you are after, click on description and we’ll take you straight there.

 

The Vauxhall Corsavan
The Vauxhall Corsavan

Car-derived van

A car-derived van is pretty much what it says – basically a goods or dual-purpose vehicle that has been adapted from a passenger car. Another key point is that the maximum loading weight should not exceed two tonnes when loaded. These vans are good for florists, small deliveries and self-employed tradesmen who don’t need to carry large or weighty items. Key car-derived vans include the Ford Fiesta and Vauxhall Corsa.
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Mercedes-Benz Sprinter 4x
The Mercedes-Benz Sprinter 4×4 for those tricky deliveries

4×4 vans

4×4 vans are a niche area of the market, catering for those who don’t necessarily want a heavy-duty pick-up truck. Still reasonably capable off-road, although operators of 4×4 vans tend to be more interested in keeping moving in snowy or icy conditions. Popular 4×4 vans include the Mercedes Sprinter.
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Volkswagen Crafter Box Van
Volkswagen Crafter Box Van

Box van

As the name suggests, this is a van with a cube-shaped, roomy load area that’s independent to the cab. Box vans are the favourite of couriers and delivery drivers, which appreciate the boxy shape when delivering large parcels or bulkier loads. Popular box vans include the Ford Transit, Mercedes Sprinter and the Volkswagen Crafter.

Similar to a Luton van, the Box van’s cube-shaped loading area finishes at the trailing edge of the cab; a Luton has a space that continues above the cab (see Luton van below). Box vans usually have access from the rear doors only and are high off the ground because they sit on the chassis so there are no wheel arch intrusions into the cargo area. As a result, Box vans are often fitted with tail lifts to make loading easier.
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Ford Transit chassis cab
Ford Transit chassis cab

Chassis van

Essentially just a van chassis fitted with or without a cab. They are supplied this way to meet an operator’s particular requirements. Common chassis van conversions are dropsides, tippers and flatbeds.
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City van - Fiat Fiorino
City van – Fiat Fiorino

City van

Close to the car-derived van in terms of size, but way more functional in terms of style. Trade and delivery firms use them because their compact size works well in urban environments and their ability to carry a Euro pallet.
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Nissan e-NV200 Van would beat new London emission clampdown
Electric van – the Nissan e-NV200

Electric van

ELECTRIC vans are growing in popularity as their practical driving range grows and emissions concern brings urban curbs on fossil fuel vehicles. With a plug-in charger, they use one or more battery-powered electric motors for propulsion, that are usually hidden under the load area.

Mainly intended for use on congested city streets, they excel because their zero emissions makes them exempt from road tax and congestion charges as well as other benefits such as electric vehicle grants.

Popular electric van choices include the Citroen Berlingo Electric, Nissan e-NV200, Peugeot Partner Electric and Renault Kangoo ZE which is being used for its environmental attraction at The Eden Project in Cornwall.
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Renault Master platform cab

Platform cab

The truck version of the chassis cab but with a flat bed extending over the chassis frame and used in specialist applications, such as recovery trucks.
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Volkswagen Transporter T6 crew van

Crew van

This is what you need if you’ve got a crew of workers to get around and their kit! How? Well on top of the admittedly smaller load area, there’s an extra set of three seats in the back. Favourites include the Ford Transit, Renault Trafic and Volkswagen Transporter.
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The Curtain sided Iveco van
The Curtain sided Iveco van

Curtainside van

A curtainside van is a basically a dropside van with an upper structure mounted to it with a tarping system.
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Dropside van
The Citroen Relay dropside

Dropside van

A flat bed van that has sides that drop down to open; these vans are particularly popular with the building trade.
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Renault Master Luton van

Luton Van

Like an extended box van, the Luton van also incorporates an enclosed body with a separate cab. Originally just a body available on Bedford vans, it takes its name from the Luton plant where they were produced. No longer limited to Vauxhall models, the Ford Transit, Renault Master and Volkswagen Crafter are key choices.
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A DFSK Microvan
The DFSK Microvan

Microvan

Small vans that originally came from Japan, where their small size can have tax and insurance benefits. Quite rare in the UK, just the DFSK brand is available.
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The Iveco Daily minibus
The Iveco Daily minibus

Minibus

A van-based vehicle with between eight and 16-seats. Manufacturers normally quote the total number of seats including the driver. So they quote and class minibuses as 9 to 17 seats. e.g. a 17 seater Ford Transit minibus has 16 passenger seats.
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The Vauxhall Vivaro Panel van
The Vauxhall Vivaro Panel van

Panel van

The most popular vans on UK roads; they are used by the majority of trades. Available in a wide range of body types (low, medium and high roof), with the choice of short, medium and long wheelbase versions.  Most popular panel vans are the Ford Transit, Vauxhall Vivaro and Volkswagen Transporter.
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The Mitsubishi L200 Pick-up
The Mitsubishi L200 Pick-up

Pick-up

A small two- or four-wheel drive truck that has an open back with low sides. Popular with both business and lifestyle buyers. The Ford Ranger, Mitsubishi L200, Toyota Hilux, Isuzu D-Max and Volkswagen Amarok are the best choices.
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The Ford Transit Tipper van
The Ford Transit Tipper van

Tipper

A dropside or rigid-sided van with an open load area that is equipped with a hydraulic ram allowing the front of the load area to be raised, thus tipping load on the ground. Key users are builders and building material suppliers for the supply of topsoil or the disposal of rubble.
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Nissan, NV, fridge van, loading
The Nissan NV fridge van

Refrigerated van/Temperature controlled van

A van where the load area is temperature controlled; it is intended for the transportation of perishable items such as chilled food deliveries. They are sometimes also called chiller vans.
Flatbed

This is a cab or crew van with a flat, unenclosed load bed. Can be equipped with a small crane for loading and unloading. Often used by building material suppliers.
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