Your location:

Van Trader’s top medium panel vans

THE medium panel van market is one of the hottest contested LCV sectors.

Although there is no standardised format, we’ll be using panels vans with 5m³ to 6.5m³ of cargo capacity to define this sector.

Medium panel vans are a popular choice for builders, plumbers, electricians and deliveries. There’s good reason why – they are big enough to handle all the kit you need, yet small enough to fit on the drive at home. 

For fifty years, this segment has been dominated by (and is sometimes named after) Ford’s Transit van. Today, the Transit still accounts for nearly one third of the total sales, but there is increasing competition coming from the Volkswagen, Vauxhall and Renault camps too.

Here’s Van Trader’s pick of the best, both new and used. There are some real bargains out there.

Volkswagen Transporter T5
THE Transporter is seen as a premium van and residual values remain high as a result. Despite its highprice, it is one of the best-selling vans in this sector, and for many years has been the second best seller behind the Transit. They’re built exceptionall;y well, drive superbly and give great fuel economy too. The Transporter started life in the sixties as the T1. Today, we’re now up to T5, and the 1968cc diesel engine is powers the T5 and gives a 140hp and 180hp derivative, with the 180hp being the most sought after.
37.7 to 36.2 mpg
740 to 1340kg
Search for a used one in our classifieds.

Vauxhall Vivaro
LAST year, the Vivaro overtook the Transporter to become the second best-selling medium van in the UK. The Vivaro is now made in the UK along with the Trafic and the Primastar. Availability of these vans is a huge factor in its popularity as the Vivaro can be purchased (and repaired) from 200 dealerships nationwide. Since the introduction of Euro- emissions rules, Vauxhall had to drop the 2.5 litre engine and focus on two offerings of the 2.0CDTi.
37.7mpg
1080 to 1282kg
Search for a used one in our classifieds.

Renault Trafic
VERY few people realise that the original Trafic launched over 30 years ago in 1980. Apart from a minor facelift in 2001, the Trafic has remained relatively unchanged in over 10 years meaning it can be bought at a very competitive price.
Renault’s heavily promoted ‘4+’ package is also available on the Trafic, which boasts a four year warranty, four years free servicing, four year roadside cover and four year finance options.
The best thing about the Trafic is that it has 25,000 miles or every two years between services.
37.7 mpg
1080 to 1282kg
Search for a used one in our classifieds.

Nissan Primastar
ELSEWHERE in Nissan’s LCV line-up, the Japanese manufacturer is trying to offer more unique and distinctive vehicles like the NV200 and the NV400. However, for the time being, their medium panel Primastar differs very little from other vans on sale. Nissan offer just the one power rating with this van, the 115hp version, but there is a choice of a semi-automatic or manual transmission. Despite the lack of choice, the Primastar is a really capable van with a low base price. It boasts a payload of up to almost 1.3 tonnes, a load length of up to almost 1.3 metres and an impressive selection of safety features.
37.7mpg
1080 to 1282kg
Search for a used one in our classifieds.

Citroen Dispatch
THE Dispatch is Citroen’s entry in the medium panel van market. Continental versions are called ‘Jumpys’ but have been renamed for the UK, although there are many foreign imports on our roads that bear the Jumpy name. You can buy either a 90hp 1.6HDi, or a 2.0HDi engine. There is a 5 speed manual on the 1.6 litre and a 6 speed on the 2 litre, but no automatic versions are available. Buyers are advised to pay out the £880 option to upgrade to the Enterprise Pack, which includes rear parking sensors, a connection box for USB and Bluetooth connectivity, a full steel bulkhead, air conditioning and heated mirrors. The Dispatch has long service intervals too, every 20,000 miles or every two years, whichever comes first. It’s also has the highest mpg out of all if the vans here.
40.4 to 41.5 mpg
988 to 2000kg
Search for a used one in our classifieds.

Peugeot Expert
THE Expert went on sale in UK Peugeot dealerships five years ago and the medium-sized French van has quickly made a name for itself as a brilliant van. The Expert is really good value for money and has a decent payload and twin side loading doors, ideal for loading and unloading tasks. Getting hold of one is hard though, as only around 100 Peugeot dealers in the UK currently sell it.
40.4 to 41.5 mpg
988 to 2000kg
Search for a used one in our classifieds.

Fiat Scudo
FIAT strengthened its SEVEL alliance with the PSA Group (Citroen and Peugeot) to launch a medium panel van in the mid-90’s. This alliance gave birth to the Scudo, which was given a major design overhaul in 2007. At just £16,045 excluding VAT, the Scudo represents very good value for money. Fiat offers slightly better warranties than their passenger car division do, with a 3 year/120,000 miles or a 2 year, unlimited mileage coverage.
40.4 to 41.5mpg
988 to 2000kg
Search for a used one in our classifieds.

Mercedes-Benz Vito
THE Vito is seen by many as one of the most stylish vans on sale, and Mercedes-Benz offers some very car-like specifications such as steering mounted controls, reversing sensors, a voice operated control system, iPod and USB connectors and cruise control. The Vitio has been extremely popular since its launch in 1996 but recently had a facelift and benefitted from more efficient Euro-5 engines. For those who want power, you can buy a Vito with 3-litre V6 engine that has 224hp – it’s the most powerful engine in the sector.
36.7 to 32.8mpg
865 to 1305kg
Search for a used one in our classifieds.

Ford Transit
THE Transit is unique, in that, it’s the only van in this sector to offer front wheel, rear wheel, and all-wheel drive applications. There is an unrivalled amount of combinations and specifications, on sale although since Euro-5 emission rules came in the Transit has been restricted to just the one engine; the 2.2TDCi, developed in partnership with the PSA Group.
Power ratings differ slightly between the drive configurations, but they range from 100hp to 155hp and delivered via a 6-speed manual gearbox.
Ford have two types of dealerships that specialise in commercial vehicles; the Transit Specialist Dealers and ’Backbone of Britain’ Premium Dealers. There are plenty on sale in our classifieds. You’ll be spoilt for choice. A new Transit is launched in early 2013 – and we’re attending its launch on Tuesday February 5th.
39.2 to 35.8 mpg
772 to 1665kg
Search for a used one in our classifieds.

By Liam Power