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Tax for pick-up trucks is changing but there's more than one kind of tax to be aware of.

If you've already read our article on the tax you must pay for a van then you'll undersand the road tax implications. Broadly speaking those same fees for road tax are due for pick-up trucks as well.

As a commercial vehicle, the road tax for pick-up trucks is a flat rate. In order for it to be considered a commercial vehicle the rules in the UK dictate that a pick-up truck must be able to carry a payload of 1000kg - or 1045kg if it has an enclosed loadspace.

Road tax for light good vehicles under 3.5-tonnes is currently set at £320 per year. That's the annual fee you'll pay for having the pick-up truck on the road. If you're a private owner that's the only real tax obligation you will have to pay.

However, here's where it gets complicated. If you own your pick-up truck through a company - ie. you have it on a lease through a business or you have bought it outright as a Limited company - then you may have to pay an additional tax.

This additional tax is known as a Benefit In Kind (BIK). You pay BIK on a vehicle if you are using it for personal use - that includes commuting to work. If you simply have a work vehicle and you only use it to for work purposes - a farm pick-up truck used to move hay or livestock around could be an example of this - then this doesn't apply.

If though, you have bought a pick-up truck as a company vehicle to avoid paying more tax than you would than say having a conventional car or 4x4, then you're now in the government crosshairs.

From 1 July 2024 all pick-up trucks that are company cars and used for personal use, will now no longer be classed as commercial vehicles. Pick-up trucks will instead be taxed as company cars and subject to the normal amount of company car tax you have to pay for a car.

In the case of a pick-up truck - most of which have large engines and therefore fall into the top band of company car tax (which is based on CO2 emissions) - then you'll be paying 37% of the taxable value of the vehicle. Simply put, if your pick-up truck costs £50,000 then the taxable value is £18,500.

If you pay tax at 20% you will pay 20% of that taxable value - £3700 - per year in tax. If you pay tax at a 40% rate then you will pay £7400. That's a huge difference from the previous arrangement which for the 2023/2024 tax year was flat rated at a taxable value of £3920.

UPDATE: 19/02/24
The Government has U-turned on its decision to tax double-cab pick-up trucks in the same way as passenger cars. Pick-up trucks with a second row of seats will continue to be treated as commercial vehicles when they meant the 1000kg payload requirement.

Vans come in all sorts of shapes and sizes and just like people they can be hard to understand. Here is a simple glossary of terms used in the van industry to describe various types of vans.

Beavertail: A versatile van with a folding rear flap that doubles as a ramp, making it ideal for transporting small vehicles and garden machinery. It gets its name from its appearance as the folded down ramps can look like a beaver's tail.

Box van: A van with a large square load space, ideal for carrying bulky items. Box vans are usually completely square or rectangular and have huge carrying capacities. A box van body is also used to describe a solid walled trailer pulled by an HGV.

Car-derived van: A small van based on a car platform, with a low carrying capacity. These vans are ideal for small businesses that only need to carry a few items. A typical example of a car-derived van is the Toyota Corolla Commercial which looks like a car, but car platforms can be used and adopted to be more usable commercial vehicles like the Ford Transit Courier.

City van: The general term used for most small vans, typically under 2.5 tonnes and can carry around 700kg. Examples include the Ford Transit Connect, Volkswagen Caddy, and Vauxhall Combo. They get their name because, you guessed it, they are often found in cities.

Converted van: Any van that has been modified by a bodybuilder, ranging from refrigerated vans to Luton vans. One of the most popular conversions is for motorhomes, with the Fiat Ducato and Peugeot Boxer being the most common choices.

Crew van or double cab: A van with an additional row of seats, usually consisting of a fixed bench in the second row with a solid bulkhead behind them. Most crew vans seat five to six people. They have a modest payload allowance because additional seats and occupants eat into the carrying capacity.

Curtainside van: These vans look like small trucks. They have a solid roof but use canvas or plastic-coated curtains along the side to protect the load they carry. The curtains can be pulled back to reveal the length of the loadspace which also allows forklift trucks to side load the vehicle.

Chassis cab: This is the name for a van without a body on the back of it. There is a cab mounted to the chassis. The chassis rails extened out of the back and this is where a range of different bodies can be added to the rear. Typical bodies include tipper, Luton and motorhomes.

Dropside: A van with hinged gates on the side, allowing for extremely easy access to the load bed. These vans are often used by gardeners and the building trade because of their easy access from all sides.

Electric van: A van powered by an electric motor that takes its energy from a battery. Electric vans, also known as EVs, emit zero emissions from their tail-pipe and are therefore generally thought to be less polluting. One of the first mass-market electric vans was the Renault Kangoo E-Tech popular electric models are now made by Maxus and Ford.

Flatbed: A simple flat load deck area without sides, regularly used in the construction industry and often with a crane mounted behind the cab or at the rear of the load deck. Flat bed vans will have tie-down points or lashing bars to ensure that sheets and straps can be used to secure the items being carried.

Four-wheel-drive van (4x4): Vans with four-wheel drive provide off-road access into fields, gravel roads and forested areas. These vans can be dedicated permanent 4x4s or versions that have selectable four-wheel drive. They are regularly used by utility companies that which to access sites like electrical substations or sewage treatment works. These provide an alternative to pick-up trucks with a contained and larger cargo area.

Hybrid vans: Hybrid technology is occasionally found in vans and usually use a small petrol engine to recharge a small battery. Most are capable of operating for a short distance as purely electric vehicles.

Luton van: A box van with an additional usable storage area above the cabin of the van, commonly used by removal companies, offering even more storage capacity and for long international travel a self-contained sleeping pod.

Large van: Often referred to as 3.5-tonne vans, but many do not have to be that big. Popular examples include the Ford Transit, Mercedes-Benz Sprinter, and Volkswagen Crafter.

Microvan: These small vans are not as common as they used to be but are still popular in Asia where parking and space in urban areas is limited. Popular examples are limited but include the DFSK Loadhopper, DFSK EC35 and past models like the Toyota Hiace.

Minibus: Converted vans with seating options for usually 9 to 17 people, similar to the ones used in schools. These are generally based on large vans or medium vans, but have more seats than regular passenger carrying vans.

Panel van: The general term used to describe a generic van. The sort of van that has solid metal sides and doors that open at the rear and side. As a general rule, all of our van reviews are of panel vans.

Pick-up: A commercial vehicle with a cabin, seperate load area and usually a four-wheel-drive drivetrain. Many variants can have single cabs, double cabs, or XL cabs that get a small amount of rear storage inside the cabin where the rear seats would normally be. Often there are options for hard tops and roller covers to make the load space secure and watertight.

Quadricycle: These are not technically vans or cars. A quadricycle is a small vehicle that is speed limited to less that 28mph. It doesn't have to conform to the same crash test regulations as a car of van. The electric Citroen Ami Cargo is an example of a quadricycle van.

Temperature controlled van (aka fridge van): Refrigerated vans can come in all shapes and sizes and are used to move anything from online food shopping to important medical supplies. These vans can have frozen, chilled, or ambient sections and operate at a range of temperatures.

Tipper: Vans used most often used in the construction trade. They have a hydraulic ram under their load bed to allow them to eject materials. There is often a hinged tailgate or side gate. Materials are usually ejected out of the rear of the body, but depending on the position of the hydraulic tipping equipment, it is also possible to eject sideways.

Transporter: A van used to transport cars. Van-based car transporters are often only capable of moving one car at a time. Transporters can be flat beds with tail ramps, or have slide decks that lower a platform to the ground to allow the car to be driven or winched onto it. The entire platform is then loaded onto the transporter. This type of transporter enables really low profile cars, like supercars, to be recovered without the need to drive them up steep ramps.

Buying a cheap used van at auction can be exciting, but it's also a pretty stressful environment for those that are unfamiliar. Used van auctions take place in sale rooms but are increasingly moving online, so choose the format that suits you best. Read our useful tips for purchasing a van at auction.

Do your van buying research

Before attending the auction, do your research on the type of van you want to buy. This includes the make, model, age, and condition of the van. You should also research the typical selling price for similar vans in your local area and across the country. That way you can set a realistic budget. If possible, attend a few auctions before buying to get a feel for how they work.

It's also important to pick the right auction. Most van auctions sell hundreds of vehicles at a time. They will range from small vans and car-derived vans, to sized medium vans and large vans. There will also be chassis cabs and bodied vehicles as well. Larger auctions are where you're most likely to find a good selection of more specialist light commercial vehicles like a cheap Luton van or cheap dropside tipper.

Sometimes there will be sales for specific models too. These usually happen when a big fleet is de-fleeting a batch of vehicles. BT or Tesco or Royal Mail might have a load of vans they need to get rid of. Rather than sell 1000 in one go and risk damaging the residual value by flooding the market, they might send 25 or even 50 to a specific sale. This greatly increases your chances making winning a winning bid and snapping one up.

Check auctions houses big and small. There might be a sale just around the corner from you that you never knew existed.

Set a budget

It's easy to get caught up in the excitement of bidding on a van, but it's important to remember your budget and stick to it. What starts out as a bargain price can quickly escalate, and before you know it, you've overspent.

This is where the research is key. If you know what similar vans are selling for at local dealerships you'll know if you're getting a cheap used van or not.

Remember you're in a room, or an online sale, where there will be professional buyers. These people know the market and know what is a good price. You'll have to outbid them to get the van, but don't be tempted to dig deeper than you can afford. Dealers know the trade and retails prices of each model so grabbing a mega bargain is unlikely. What you might do is save a few hundred compared to the dealer prices you've seen. Remember though, that you're buying blind and there's no warranty. So think long and hard.

Don't be afraid to walk away from a deal if the price isn't right. There are plenty of vans out there, and you're sure to find one that fits your budget and needs.

Inspect the van - bring a mechanic if you can

This is where being in the saleroom has its benefits. Online auctions are really convenient, but a real life auction allows you to look over the vehicles in the yard before hand.

Before bidding, inspect the van thoroughly. Check for any signs of damage, rust, or wear and tear. It's not likely you'll be able to take the van for a test drive to ensure that it is in good working order, but the van will have to be started up to drive it into the sale room. If you can, watch it when it first starts up and listen and look carefully as it is driven in. Look out for blue smoke and listen for any clunks, rattles or hissing. It's also a good idea to look at the ground from where the vehicle has just come from. You don't want to be bidding on anything that's leaking oil or other fluids.

Keep in mind that at an auction, you won’t have the same opportunity to inspect the van as you would if you were buying from a dealership, so it’s important to be as thorough as possible. Take someone who is knowledgeable.

When the bidding begins, set your limit and stick to it

As mentioned earlier, it’s important to set a budget and stick to it.

Auctions are a fast paced environment. The auction lot you are considering will come up sooner than you think. The bidding will also go quickly. The auctioneer will know what sort of money the vehicle is going to attract, so it will start at a decent price. There may be some bids already on his book - made by buyers who can't make the sale.

Decide on the maximum amount you are willing to pay for the van and don’t exceed it. Remember that there will always be other auctions and other vans available, so don’t get caught up in the excitement of the moment.

Pay attention to the bidding

During the auction, pay close attention to the bidding. Make note of who is bidding and how much they are willing to pay. This is true for all the lots in the auction. You'll quickly spot the dealers if you keep your eyes open for 15 minutes and pay close attention to who is winning. It might be that one particular dealer is buying everything that day. You may well come up against them during bidding for your van. If they've got deep pockets that day, it might be that you will just have to resign yourself to going home empty handed.

Watching the other bidding activity will also give you an idea of what the van and others are worth. It will help you decide on whether or not you should continue bidding. Don’t be afraid to drop out of the bidding if the price goes higher than your budget.

Got a smartphone? Use it!

Smartphones are great at auctions for two reasons. The first one being that it often means you don't even have to be in the room - although if you've read the rest of the article you'll see some of the benefits of being there in person.

Most of the large van auction centres have an online bidding platform, similar to eBay. You simply register your details and you can watch the auction unfold, usually with a main camera view of the auction lane. This will allow you to see the van being driven into the auction. There will also be several pictures along with other details like servicing or MoT information.

If you're in the room, keeping your smartphone handy during the auction can also let you quickly identify other vans that might be of interest.

Just like bidding from the comfort of your own home you'll have the fact at your fingertips. You can compare prices for similar vans and make an informed decision.

It's not just about the hammer price

Another thing to be aware of at auction is that it's not just about the number you end on when the hammer falls. There are a lot of other additional costs to consider. These include paying the auction house, any transport costs and the insurance. All of which will have to be sorted pretty quickly after the sale ends.

That means that when you're buying a van at auction, it's important to consider the total cost of ownership. This includes the purchase price, as well as any additional fees, such as:

It's also important to factor in the cost of running the van, such as:

Congratulations, you're a winner!

Assuming it all went to plan, you are now the owner of a brand new, used van!

But, you'll have to act quickly once you win the auction. You will typically have to pay a deposit immediately. You will also have have to arrange transportation for the van if you've come in your own vehicle.

Auction houses have differing policies on how long you can keep your new purchase on site. Typically there might be a 48 hour window, but after that you'll have to start paying storage fees and these can be very expensive.

Make sure you insure your vehicle as soon as possible and you'll also need to arrange road tax. If the vehicle is without an MoT you'll have to book one if you plan to drive the van on public roads and take it straight to the test centre.

If in doubt, get the van collected or hire a trailer - both costs you should consider before heading down the auction route.

With these tips in mind, you can successfully buy a van at auction and potentially save money on your purchase. Good luck.

Can I buy a van at auction?

Yes, and buying a van at auction is quick and easy. Simply register witht the auction house - either in person or online - and place a bid. If you win an auction you will pay the agreed price plus fees. Vans bought at auction can usually be driven away on the same day.

Contrary to what you might be thinking, a Luton van is not one that is built in Luton. But this guide to Luton vans will tell you all you need to know about these large and versatile vans include Luton van dimensions, Luton van weights and types of Luton van.

What is a Luton van?

You’ll most likely come across a Luton van when moving house but a Luton is actually designed for any sort of dry freight. A Luton van is also known as a Luton box van and tend to have a massive load volume.

Usually based on a 3.5-tonne large van, they are about a big as a van gets and are characterised by they peaked front. That’s why they can also be called a Luton Peak van.

The peak front is an additional area that can be used for increasing storage. Or, it has been known for really long distance travel for Luton box vans to have the front section converted to a sleeping area – but you’re more likely to find that in a truck with a Luton body.

Do Luton vans have tail lifts?

It’s not uncommon to find that most Luton vans have a tail lift fitted. Usually the sort of items being loaded into a Luton are large, unwieldy and heavy. Imagine trying to get a sideboard into a van – you’ve got a pretty high step to get it up to. A tail lift helps with loading and most rental Luton vans will have them fitted as standard.

A tail lift can come in all manner of weight lifting capacities. Be sure to read what yours is capable of, but generally they are more than capable of lifting most household items. Just be careful. Working at height is dangerous. Falling off a tail lift is no joke.

What are a Luton van dimensions?

Luton vans come in a wide range of dimensions. But the dimensions of a Luton van will depend on the donor vehicle. Amongst the most popular Luton vans are Ford Transit Luton, Iveco Daily Luton and Mercedes-Benz Sprinter Luton vans.

To see the size of a particular van you can look at the van dimensions page for panel vans. Or for the most popular vans there are dedicated pages so that you can find out the Ford Transit dimensions or the Mercedes-Benz Sprinter dimensions.

What are a 7.5-tonne Luton van dimensions?

This is a bit like asking how long is a piece of string. The problem is that when it comes to large Luton vans - those that are either built on oversized van chassis, or more commonly on truck chassis - there really are no limits. In fact, these are usually Luton trucks or Luton lorries, as they are built on HGV chassis.

Of course, there are limits, nothing is ever limitless in life. Here you are likely limited by the weight. But the body size of these sorts of vans can come in a variety of sizes. Generally speaking, though, a 7.5-tonne Luton will have an interior size of least 6m in length. The height can be well over 2.5m, and overall you can expect a load volume of around 32m3. That's around twice the volume of the largest panel van.

Common platforms for large Luton vans include the DAF LF and Iveco Eurocargo - both of which are trucks. The most common large Luton van won't be 7.5-tonnes, but the Iveco Daily is often used and comes close at 7.2-tonnes.

The main benefit of a large 7.5-tonne Luton van is that there is greater payload. The bodies tend to be made of lightweight plastics and when compared to a 3.5-tonne chassis you are getting around double the payload.

A typical Luton van with a 7.5-tonne GVW can carry around 3200kg, however, many have tail lifts which will reduce the payload to under 3-tonnes.

A Luton truck or van that is a 7.5 tonner will take enough for a two bedroom house. That means it's around 40 to 50 moving boxes, two or three sofas, a couple of beds, dinning room table and chairs and a few other bits.

What are a 3.5 tonne Luton van dimensions?

The size of a 3.5 tonne Luton van is similar to that of a 7.5-tonne van. The key difference is that it can carry less weight.

The body size of a large Luton is surprisingly big. Typically the largest panel vans are 17m3 to as much as 20m3. But as a Luton van, which is built on a chassis cab, with a box body made from lightweight panels, you'll get 25-28m3. That's a big amount of space, and similar to a Luton truck, but the difference is weight. The payload allowance for a 3.5-tonne Luton is considerably lower - probably around 1200kg.

That makes Luton vans as 3.5 tonners more suited to moving the bulky but light items. Think of them as wardrobe movers.

A 3.5-tonne Luton van's dimensions allow it to move all manner of items, but you're probably talking about getting much of the content from a flat in there, rather than a house.

Expect the load area to be about 5m long, and around 2.2m high. There may or may not be a tail lift. Luton vans with tail lifts are more practical, but they will be able to carry even less weight.

What is a Luton van's size?

As you'll have gathered, a Luton van's size can vary massively. On the whole they are pretty large. You'll find that most Luton vans are 20 cubic metres or more in size. They have a reasonable payload and they will be tall and wide to fit in the most awkward sizes of items.

If you're driving a large van for personal use, like moving house, you may be wondering if you need a tachograph for driving vans.

So, what is a tachograph? It's a device that records how long you've been driving, as well as your speed and distance traveled. Tachographs are mandatory for vehicles over 3.5 tonnes and for vehicles towing a trailer with a combined weight of over 3.5 tonnes. The device is used to ensure that drivers follow the drivers' hours rules and don't exceed the maximum time behind the wheel.

Tachographs for vans can be either analogue or digital, and they require either paper disks or a driver card to store all the information. They are predominantly found in trucks, but they apply to all vehicles over 3.5 tonnes. However, the rules are generally geared towards those using these types of vehicles for hire or reward. If you are operating a large van, over 3.5 tonnes, for a commercial gain, then you wil almost certainly fall into the category that requires you to operate with a tachograph and Driver Card.

What exemptions are there for tachographs for vans?

As with most things in life, there are of couse exemptions to the EU rules governing tachographs. Vehicles that cannot travel more than 40kph, such as agricultural equipment, are exempt. Emergency aid vehicles carrying out non-commercial transport of humanitarian aid are also exempt. Breakdown vehicles, vehicles undergoing road tests for repair or maintenance, and vehicles made more than 25 years ago also do not require a tachograph. Circus vehicles and milk floats are other examples of vehicles that are exempt from the rules.

If you're driving a van for personal use, such as moving house, you don't need to worry about tachographs. However, as soon as there is a commercial element to the work you're doing in a vehicle over 3.5 tonnes, you must comply with the rules.

Driving a horsebox for personal use also does not require a tachograph for vans. Additionally, vehicle and trailer combinations of more than 3.5 tonnes and up to 7.5 tonnes do not require a tachograph to be fitted when used for non-commercial purposes in vans.

Driving 7.5-tonne trucks: What are the requirements?

If you're driving a 7.5-tonne truck, you may be wondering what the requirements are for tachograph use and your driving licence.

Many car drivers, those with a car licence obtained before 1997 have something called 7.5 tonne grandfather rights. This means you can drive a 7.5 tonne lorry on a car licence.

Of course there's a difference between trucks and vans, but very often if you're considering whether you need to tachograph for vans, you may also need to know about the regulations for driving a 7.5-tonne truck.

The rules regarding driving a 7.5-tonne truck are different from those for driving a van.

What you need to know about Grandfather Rights

To drive a 7.5-tonne truck, you must have a Category C1 driving licence. You can obtain this licence by passing a medical examination and a theory and practical test. You must be at least 18 years old to apply for a Category C1 licence.

If you passed your B licence needed for driving a car or van under 3.5-tonnes before January 1997, you may already have a Category C1 entitlement on your licence. However, if you passed your test after this date, you'll need to obtain a Category C1 licence separately.

In addition to holding a Category C1 licence, you'll also need to comply with drivers' hours rules and tachograph rules. As mentioned earlier, tachographs are mandatory for vehicles over 3.5 tonnes.

The drivers' hours rules limit the amount of time you can spend driving and the amount of time you must take for breaks. For example, you must not drive for more than 4.5 hours without taking a break of at least 45 minutes. You must also take at least 11 hours of rest in a 24-hour period.

You'll also need to comply with regulations regarding the transportation of dangerous goods, if applicable. If you're transporting dangerous goods, you'll need to hold a valid ADR training certificate.

Do you need Driver CPC to drive a 7.5-tonne truck?

As a general rule. Yes - if you are making money out of driving.

And even if you obtained your driver's license before 1997 and are interested in professionally driving a 7.5-tonne vehicle, you will have to complete 35 hours of Driver CPC training every five years, unless you are eligible for an exemption.

Several exemptions to the Driver CPC requirement include:

If you are driving for personal use, you will not need to complete the Driver CPC. However, if you are driving professionally, the Driver CPC is mandatory. A comprehensive list of Driver CPC exemptions is available on the gov.uk website.

When it comes to towing and determining what is the best van for towing it’s crucial to consider several factors as there are so many models and variations available. It can be difficult to know which one is the best fit for your needs.

In this article, we’ll take a look at some of the key factors to consider when selecting a van for towing, and recommend some of the best models currently on the market.

Weight towing capacity

One of the most important factors to consider when selecting a van for towing is weight capacity. The weight capacity is the maximum amount of weight that the van can safely tow, including the weight of the trailer and any cargo inside. Exceeding the weight capacity can result in dangerous overloading. This can lead to a loss of control, reduced braking ability, and damage to your vehicle.

Before selecting a van for towing, it’s important to determine how much weight you’ll need to tow. This will depend on the size and weight of the trailer, as well as any cargo that will be transported. Once you have an estimate of the total weight, you can look for vans with a weight capacity that exceeds this amount. Pick-up trucks also have the ability to tow. Most pick-up trucks can tow more than 3 tonnes, and many can tow the maximum 3.5-tonnes.

Power and performance

In addition to weight capacity, power and performance are also important factors to consider when selecting the best van for towing. Vans with larger engines and higher horsepower will generally be better suited for towing heavy loads. Similarly, vans with all-wheel drive or four-wheel drive may provide better traction and handling on rough or slippery terrain.

When evaluating vans for towing, it’s important to look at factors such as horsepower, torque, and towing capacity. These specifications will give you a good idea of the van’s overall power and performance capabilities, and help you determine whether it’s a good fit for your towing needs.

The best van towing safety features

Towing can be a dangerous activity, particularly if the trailer is large or heavy. To minimise the risk of accidents or injuries, it’s important to select a van with strong safety features. Some important safety features to look for when selecting a van for towing include:

Other things to consider when towing

You'll need to ensure that your vehicle is equipped with a tow bar, which typically includes a ball mount and clip. Additionally, you'll need to have a wiring harness to ensure the towed unit's electrical system, including the brake lights, is functioning properly. It is also essential to have a spare number plate for the vehicle you're towing with to display on the trailer.

It's worth noting that large vans generally have a towing capacity exceeding 3000kg, allowing them to tow a wide range of trailers, however, even among different versions of the same van model, the towing capacity can vary significantly. Check the plated weights of the vehicle – these can usually be found inside the door frame of the van.

Finally, it's crucial to take into account the van's gross train weight (GTW) or gross combination weight (GCW). This weight represents the maximum combined amount the kerbweight of the van, its load, and the trailer can be. For example, if your 3.5-tonne van can tow up to 3000kg, you'll need a GTW of 6.5 tonnes to use both the van and the trailer fully loaded. If the GTW is lower, you'll need to adjust the payload of either one or both accordingly.

Best Van for Towing

With these factors in mind, let’s take a look at some of the best vans currently on the market for towing.

  1. Mercedes-Benz Sprinter: The Sprinter is a popular choice for commercial and personal use, thanks to its impressive towing capacity. The Sprinter is capable of towing large trailers up to 3.5-tonnes and transport a large amount of payload as well. It also features a range of safety and convenience features, including blind spot monitoring, a rearview camera, and adaptive cruise control. Read about the Mercedes-Benz Sprinter dimensions.
  2. Ford Transit: The Transit van is another popular van for towing, with a high towing capacity, good stability and range of safety equipment. It too can tow 3.5-tonnes. The option of an all-wheel drive system will improve traction when towing. The Transit also features a range of safety and convenience features, including a rearview camera, blind spot monitoring, and lane departure warning. Read about the Ford Transit dimensions.
  3. Volkswagen Crafter & MAN TGE: The Crafter has giant payload capacity and a high towing weight at 3.5-tonnes. It’s too has a raft of safety features, but also has a clever Trailer Assist system that lets you steer the angle of the trailer using the wing mirror view adjustor.
  4. Fiat Ducato: The Ducato is a powerful van that is well-suited for towing heavy loads. It’s towing capacity is slightly less than the Sprinter and Transit at 3.2-tonnes but it also has an array of safety system including trailer sway control, a rearview camera. Read about the Fiat Ducato dimensions.

There are many different ways to pay for a van but the common question you'll be asking yourself is should I hire or lease or buy the van outright?

The answer to that question will depend on two things, your circumstances and how much money want to spend.

There will of course be other things to consider too, such as how long you plan to use van for. The business you are in might also impact the decision. That's because if you lease a van and you know its likely to get damaged - say from being on a building site - then you'll be paying through the nose to repair that damage at the end of the contract.

If you think your needs might change (ie. you'll need a large van (or a smaller van) at some point for a job then buying one outright isn't the correct decision.

Take a look at the options you have in our advice guide to buying, renting and leasing vans.

Buying a van

This is the easy part. If you buy a van you own it. Of course these days it's not that simple because it's not often that someone buys a van outright for cash. We'll do another advice article on financing vans and the finance products available.

For now lets look at the pros and cons of buying a van.

Buying a vehicle outright with your own money is usually the cheapest way of running a van. However, there are sometimes some incentives with finance deals that could make the cost comparable or even cheaper, but these are the exception rather than the rule.

But, we realise that not everyone can afford to buy a van for a great big lump of cash. That means you'll probably still need to arrange finance. Even with a finance deal, it is usually the best and cheapest purchasing method for most van drivers.

The reason for this is that you'll own the van for its entire life. Its yours to keep, use and sell.

Another benefit with a "cash" purchase is that you can negotiate the price to get a better deal. When it comes to buying a new van you a already own a van to trade-in.

If you own the van yourself, there won't be any restrictions on mileage or where you can drive it - for example taking it overseas. There are also fewer tax implications - which is always nice.

The negatives are that you have to pay for maintenance, tax and insurance yourself. You should do your very best to keep on top of them so that your van remains in the best condition. It's your van after all, and like if you don't brush your teeth you're going to have problems later on.

Another benefit of owning the van is that if you damage it you can choose how you repair it. You can shop around for the best price, do the work yourself or just leave it and save yourself the money.

Ultimately, it's your van and you decide what happens to it. You own the asset for its lifetime. You can potentially make great savings on not having to pay interest on any loans.

The only other thing to consider is depreciation. Your van will be losing value month to month. Keep an eye on the used market and you might be able to off-load it at a time that could be beneficial.

Leasing a van

Leasing a van is a fixed weekly or monthly cost. For this reason, businesses really like to lease their vans.

If you lease a van, you will be tied in to a fixed term contract. This is pretty similar to the way you probably pay for your mobile phone every month. The only difference is that rather than 12 or 24 months, the lease on your van will probalby be for three to five years.

There's also a big difference in that unlike most phone contracts you won’t own the van at the end of the agreement.

If you've fallen head over heels in love with your van, and there's a chance you might, you may want to buy it after the contract ends. Some agreements allow this (lease purchase) but be warned, they will make you pay a substantial amount as a balloon payment.

There are actually a huge amount of different lease options. It's a really complicated finance method but in a nutshell, you don’t own the van so most arrangements come with fixed maintenance and breakdown packages. That doesn't mean you can treat it badly though. You're still responsible for it. Think of it like an airport hire car. You're going to get one hell of a shock if you hand it back in with some big dents or scratches.

If you choose an all-in service from the leasing provider, you will be paying the same every month. This is great for budgeting.

The benefits of having a lease van is that it will save you money on maintenance costs. The new van will be in warranty, and most providers will ensure it is fully covered by the arrangement - after all, they own it and want to see the vehicle come back in one piece so that they can either hire it out again or sell it on.

When the contract finishes it's dead easy. You just return the van and can get a new one. This way you any surprise repair bills when the warranty runs out.

One thing to be aware of is that you need to service the van on time and to the manufacturer’s recommendations. Because of all the tracking and telematics in vans, many decent leasing companies will be able to see when the van needs a service and will probably contact you about it.

There is a downside to leases. They tend to have mileage restrictions. If your work requires you to travel around a lot they might not be for you. The limitations can be quite severe. If you're doing even 40 miles per day, that's 200 per week or 800 per month and 9,600 per year. Therefore an 8000 mile per year mileage cap won't cut it. Fortunately, those sorts of numbers are usually reserved for cars. Commercial vehicle lease agreements are usually a bit more generous.

Make sure you are aware of any penalty clauses. These could be in relation to returning the van before the contract ends, any repairs for damage, mileage limits or even speeding tickets.

When it comes to damange, you might have to go through an approved supplier. This can add to the cost. There could also be admin fees for arranging repairs from the leasing company's side.

Penalty charges on excessive mileage can also be really costly, amounting to several pence per mile.

Our advice is to read the terms and conditions carefully. Don't get lured in by a too good to be true, attractive headline figure. Check the small print.

If you need to terminate the contract early there will be high penalty clauses. These may reduce over time. For example if you are in your third year of a five year deal, and if you are looking to renew the agreement with a new vehicle from the same supplier. Leasing companies can be very generous if you are looking to become a repeat customer. So keep that in mind if you are approaching your mileage limit and want a new van.

One finaly thing to remember is that while your new van won't need an MoT for a few years, you will have to tax it and most arrangements don’t include insurance. Some providers will offer insurance, which isn't compulsory, but it can be one less headache of van ownership to consider.

Hiring and renting a van

There are so many options when it comes to hiring a van. Rentals can be from a single day rental to months or even years.

The main thing to consider though is that although hiring a van is very similar to leasing one, you will have no rights to buy it at the end and you don't own it during the rental period either.

In many ways you take less responsibility for the vehicle because everything from insurance, servicing and even damage repairs will be taken care of. But, you are also have to be more responsible because of this. It's back to the airport car hire scenario again. The company may look for any excuse to send you a bill.

The positives are that you pay a fixed price for simply driving away with the van. The only thing you need to think about is the fuel bill.

Because of this, the costs involved are higher than a lease.

Short term rental can be done by the day or the week, which is expensive. If you are looking for something more long term they might give you a discount, or you should consider leasing.

The good thing is though, that because they are very short rentals, the return clauses are short too. So you can hand the van back and stop paying if a job falls through.

Conclusion

As with everything in life, the choice comes down to money. But the length of time you need a van is also important.

You should also factor in what level of involvement you want to have. If you want to do your own maintenance, or you have a friendly garage you trust to do the work then owning your own van could save your thousands. But leases are straightforward, provide a fixed cost and have many benefits thrown in.

If, like most van owners, you want to keep a van for a long time and run it in to the ground then buying is the far better value option.

There are two types of van road tax people pay on their vans - vehicle excise duty and personal tax.

You’ll likely be familiar with what most people refer to as road tax, but it's also known as vehicle excise duty (VED) which is the tax you pay to use the roads. You pay this once a year as a lump sum, every six months or monthly via direct debit.

How much is the tax on your van will depend on whether you want to pay it in one lump sum or by direct debit.

For 2022/2023 most vans will have to pay £290 in tax as a lump sum or, £159.50 as a lump sum for six months or £152.25 as a recurring six monthly direct debit. There’s also the option of paying £25.38 a month by direct debit, which will mean you pay £304.50 overall.

As with everything in life, though, there are some exceptions. These are based around what year the van was first registered with the key dates being before 1 March 2001 and then two periods of between 1 March 2003 and 31 December 2006 and between 1 January 2009 and 31 December 2010. This is because Euro 4 and Euro 5 vans pay slightly different rates (they’re actually the cheapest of all).

How much is tax on my van?

Vans registered from 1 March 2001 (TC39)
Road tax (VED) cost £290
Payment type MonthlySix monthly
 Outrightn/a£159.50
 Direct Debit £25.38*£152.25
Euro 4 vans registered between 1 March 2003 and 31 December 2006 (TC36)
£140
Euro 5 vans registered between 1 January 2009 and 31 December 2010 (TC36)
£140
Registered before 1 March 2001 up to 1,549cc engine size (TC11)
£180
Vans registered before 1 March 2001 with larger than 1,549cc engine size (TC11)
£295

The other type of van tax you might have to pay is personal tax, or a BIK (Benefit In Kind). This is a charge some employees will have to pay if they are allowed to use work vans for their own personal use. 

Thankfully if you only use your van for business purposes you don’t have to pay, and if you are self-employed or a sole trader you won’t have to pay the company van tax either. It’s only if you’ve bought a van through your company, or if a company has given you a van and instructed you that you can use it for personal use. The Benefit In Kind (BIK) isn’t paid to your employer, but it goes to HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC), as it’s a tax that is proportionate to your salary.

Euro 7 is the latest round of emissions regulations covering vans, pick-ups, trucks and cars. The European Union enforces car companies to meet strict emissions regulations covering a wide range of pollutants and particulates.

This latest Euro 7 round of regulations will be the toughest yet for vans to follow. The regulations do not cover electric vans.

The EU has published its proposals for the next generation of heavy vehicle emission standards. The document states its specific objectives as being to reduce complexity of the current Euro emission standards, provide up-to-date limits for all relevant air pollutants, and improve control of real-world emissions. The estimated effect on trucks is to reduce NOx by more than 80% from a 2018 baseline, together with the existing target for CO2 reduction.

One of the most significant aspects of the proposal is that the standards for cars and vans, and for heavy-duty vehicles, defined as Euro 7 and Euro VII respectively, will follow the same paths. Previously, heavy-duty vehicles have only been tested for engine emissions, while light-duty standards have encompassed the whole vehicle.

Why are the two sets of regulations?

The reason for having two separate regulations was that the emissions of heavy-duty vehicles were checked based on engine testing, while for light-duty vehicles the basis was whole vehicle testing. Since then, the proposal says “methodologies have been developed that allow testing of both light- and heavy-duty vehicles on the road. It is therefore no longer necessary to base type-approval on engine testing”.

While this is expected to be based on the vehicle energy consumption calculation tool, or VECTO, reference to it in the proposal is limited to a definition of what it is.

Another major change being proposed is to measure and limit particulate emissions from brakes and tyres, which are a growing problem as engine particulate emissions diminish. Of likely interest to purchasers of older battery electric trucks in the future is that battery state-of-health monitoring should be compulsory.

Read the offical Euro-7 emissions proposal from the EU

When will Euro 7 become mandatory?

The detail of the legislation is not likely to be seen until the second half of 2024, for implementation on trucks in 2027. The proposal has already received a lukewarm response from vehicle manufacturers’ body ACEA, though. Its CV Board chairperson, Volvo Group CEO Martin Lundstedt, said: “To comply with Euro VII, truck makers will have to move substantial engineering and financial resources from battery and fuel-cell electric vehicles back to the internal combustion engine. This will severely impact our transition to zero-emission vehicles. It is not good for the climate, not good for people’s health and not good for the industry.”

There has been an huge jump in the number of small electric vans being brought to market in 2022 and with technology moving so quickly it’s hard to keep up.

Buyers are understandably wary of committing to new technologies and their capabilities can vary widely.

Van Reviewer is here to make it easier for you, though, with a round-up of the best small electric vans in 2022. Despite out focus being on the best small electric vans of 2022, they do still come in a wide variety of shapes and sizes, there’s also cheap and cheerful to proper premium passenger car-based electric vans and hybrids too.

Read all electric van reviews here

We rank them in order of what we like best, but to be honest they’re all really good – so check out our little verdict on each.

We'll start off with our second choice on the list....

2. Volkswagen ID Buzz Cargo - best small electric vans 2022 runner-up

Volkswagen ID Buzz Cargo against a blue and purple background

The Volkswagen ID Buzz Cargo is a brand-new electric van that takes its inspiration from the classic Volkswagen Type 2 campervan.

It sits between the Volkswagen Caddy and the Volkswagen Transporter T6.1 in the Volkswagen range in terms of its size and is built on Volkswagen’s shared MEB electric drivetrain platform. Despite being a van, with a load volume of up to 3.9m3 and 650kg, the ID Buzz Cargo actually borrows many of its features from Volkswagen’s passenger car models including the Volkswagen ID.3 and the Volkswagen ID.4 passenger cars.

A 150kW motor powers the van, producing 310Nm of torque in the process. There is currently just one battery option, a 82kWh unit providing a claimed range of up to 256 miles. Charging from 5% to 80% can be done in less than 30 minutes thanks to a maximum charge rate of up to 170kW on a DC charger.

For those needing more payload, a smaller battery pack size is likely to be added to the line-up reducing range but pushing capacity to around 750kg.

Two trim levels are available, Commerce and Commerce Plus, with entry-level models receiving a high level of equipment including LED headlight, a heated driver’s seat, front and rear parking sensors, 10” touchscreen and wireless App-Connect for Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. Commerce Plus models get Adaptive Cruise Control, keyless entry, Park Assist Plus with memory function which allows you to effectively record difficult parking manoeuvres to be automatically repeated. There are also safety features including driver assistance systems like Travel Assist, Lane Assist, Side Assist and Emergency Assist.

Prices start from £38,125 and includes three services and an MoT.

VERDICT: The Volkswagen ID Buzz Cargo’s biggest problem is its price but if you can get over that it is a brilliantly trendy, practical and accomplished van. It’s really a passenger car at heart, but unlike so many where the seats are removed and some blacked out windows added, the ID Buzz Cargo has been co-developed as one so it gets the best of both worlds. Loads of smart tech, super-fast charging, and reasonably good at both volume and payload. It's very nearly the best small electric van of 2022.

3. Citroen e-Berlingo / Peugeot e-Partner / Toyota Proace City / Vauxhall Combo-e

Peugeot e-Partner on a black bacground plugged into a charging post

The city vans of Citroen, Peugeot, Toyota and Vauxhall have taken the successful underpinnings of the medium-sized electric van from Stellantis and applied it to the compact packaging of their small van range.

Built in France for Stellantis siblings Citroen, Peugeot and Vauxhall and also produced on behalf of Toyota, the van leads the small van sector with a 171 mile range from a 50kWh battery pack and is paired to a 100kW (136bhp) motor producing 260Nm of torque. Despite being small, the vans offer a load capacity of 4.4m3 thanks to a load-through bulkhead with folding passenger seat which extends the 3.3m3 and 3.9m3 capacities of the standard and long wheelbase vans.

The four vans can also have a very respectable payload of up to 800kg and have a towing capacity of 750kg. For added versatility, they can be specified with a E-Power take off system to power conversions such as fridge units. Charging can be carried out using 100kW charger, taking the battery from zero to 80% in 30 minutes.

The van’s comfortable cabin is focused around the driver with an angled 8in infotainment and navigation touchscreen, and includes several premium features like wireless phone charging and a Surround Rear View system giving a 360-degree view around the van. In total there are 18 driver assistance systems designed to make the van safer for both drivers and other road users.

Prices start from around £27,000 depending on the brand.

VERDICT: These small vans have been on sale for more than a year, coming to market in the autumn of 2021 but they still manage to deliver what the electric audience needs. They’ve not been left behind by the changes in technology either, with powerful motors, decent battery range and the option of both standard and high specification models.

If you want a decent all-rounder these three make a good bet, and the Toyota even comes with a longer warranty.

4. Toyota Corolla Commercial Hybrid

Toyota Corolla Commercial Hybrid in motion with blurred tree behind

It’s been years since the Astravan disappeared from sale but the Toyota Corolla Commercial Hybrid van more than makes up for the shortfall.

Based on the Corolla Touring Sports estate passenger car, it is a full self-charging hybrid electric van. It looks, feels and drives like a car, but has a healthy 1.3m3 loadspace area in place of the rear seats.

Power comes from a 1.8-litre petrol engine and is paired to a 53kW electric motor, together the petrol hybrid Corolla Commercial produces up to 90kW (120bhp) and 142Nm of torque.

It’s the only engine choice and there’s also only one trim level but the interior is far from your typically commercial vehicle.

The Corolla Commercial gets a decent level of equipment including heated seats, dual-zone climate control and a reversing camera. There’s also LED headlights as standard. When it comes to safety, the Corolla Commercial Hybrid isn’t short on features. It gets adaptive cruise control, high beam assist headlights and lane keep assist as standard. Lane Trace Assist also helps to keep the van in the centre of the lane even while turning slight bends, and there’s Road Sign Assist to remind you of the speed limits with an audible or visual warning.

In the rear, the loadspace floor gets a rubber lining and there is a full-height steel bulkhead to protect the front seat occupants. There’s also an interior light and a 12v power outlet but the important figure is the 425kg payload and 750kg towing capacity.

Prices start from £22,149, excluding VAT.

VERDICT: A self-charging hybrid has managed to sneak into our best small electric vans of 2022 review but with good reason. That’s because the Toyota Corolla Commercial Hybrid is one hell of a package.

It’s a car to van conversion like any other with some questionable sticky window coverings but average fuel consumptions knocking on the door of 60mpg in the real world can’t be sniffed at.

It doesn’t suit everyone, but it brings back a niche segment and adds an electric spin to it. We’re grateful for the effort.

5. Maxus e Deliver 3

Maxus e Deliver 3 on a white background

Arguably the first electric van to be launched that was conceived purely as an EV, the Maxus e Deliver 3 was nevertheless a big departure for Chinese-owned Maxus whose line-up had previously consisted of both diesel and electric models.

Designed from the ground-up as a pure electric van with a heavy focus on its aerodynamic performance, the e Deliver 3 has a claimed range of up to 213 miles for its WLTP city range and 151 miles for the combined WLTP standard. It has the option of two battery packs with either 35kWh or 50kWh cells and is paired to a 90KW motor producing 255Nm of torque.

It can carry up to 945kg of payload and despite only being available in a short wheelbase has a volume of 4.8m3. It is the smaller sibling to the large electric van Maxus E Deliver 9 and Maxus E Deliver 7.

Charging times using a DC rapid charger will see the battery level go from 5% to 80% in just 45 minutes, while a three-phase 11kW AC charge will take around five hours.

Standard features include air conditioning, built-in Sat Nav, smartphone mirroring with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatibility as well as USB and Bluetooth connectivity.

Operators can also have the e Deliver 3 as a chassis cab and can get real-time telematic data through a partnership with Geotab.

Its most appealing feature, however, is its price with models starting from just £27,000 with a government grant.

VERDICT: We’d love to put the e Deliver 3 much higher in our list of the best small electric vans you can buy in 2022 but it’s not quite the complete package. The battery range is impressive, and there’s adequate power from the motor, but its all the bits and piece in the cabin that let it down. An infotainment system that is frustrating (when it works) and a other little software gremlins too.

Launched in 2020 it fills a natural hole left by the Nissan eNV200 which is definitely a good thing, but it can’t match the finesse of the newer models.

6. DFSK EC35

DFSK EC35 in white being driven on the road

Chinese-made DFSK vans have made a comeback in the UK through importer Innovation Automotive with the quirky midi-van offering a cheap entry-level price to electric van ownership.

The DFSK EC35 looks like a typical Japanese-style microvan with high sides and a narrow width of just 1680mm. It’s unusual proportion don’t mean it is lacking in space with a maximum loadspace volume of 4.8m3 and an equally impressive payload capacity of 1,015kg thanks to its lightweight 1585kg kerbweight. It has a hinged rear tailgate and gets twin sliding doors as standard.

Power comes from a 60kW (80bhp) motor paired to a 39kWh lithium-ion battery with 200Nm of torque. While options are few and far between, one thing you can choose is the maximum speed limit of the van, with a 50mph limited model or a faster 62mph van. Depending on which version you choose will dictate how far you might be able to travel with a claimed range of 101 miles or 166 miles, according to the WLTP testing cycle, for the slow and fast versions respectively. The DFSK EC35 is able to be charged at a maximum rate of 40kW with the battery level going from zero to 80% in around 60 minutes. Topping up the battery to 100% on a 40kW charger will take 90 minutes, while charging from a 7kW wall box will take 6 hours.

Prices start from £20,999 excluding VAT.

VERDICT: Being entirely honest with you, the DFSK is only on the list out of courtesy. It’s not a particularly good van.

But, it will certainly do the job for the right sort of person. If you need to move things around at a walking pace, don’t want to go all that far or need to charge up that often it might just be the van for you.

If you spend more time out of the van than in it, then give it a chance. The price tag is too good not to consider it.

Best small electric vans 2022 winner

1. Renault Kangoo E-Tech / Mercedes-Benz eCitan / Nissan Townstar Electric

Renault Kangoo E-Tech next to a loading bay is the best small electric van 2022 to buy

The Renault Kangoo is the oldest and most established name in the small electric van field but the latest version shares only its name with the trailblazer model launched in 2012.

The latest van returns with a new E-Tech name to reflect the rest of the electrified Renault models and is accompanied by two cousins with versions from Mercedes-Benz and Nissan. The three models offer a different take on the electric city van, with Mercedes opting for a more upmarket interior and more standard safety systems than the Renault, while Nissan plays off its warranty support and value.

All three vans, however, use the same 90kW motor paired to a 45kWh battery pack. Range for the vans is 186 miles, while charging can be carried out using an 80kW supply to add more than 100 miles in less than 30 minutes. Slower 22kW charging is also possible as well as a from domestic single-phase 7kW supply though a wallbox which is said to take six hours.

The van is available in two wheelbase lengths with the standard van having a 3.9m3 load volume and the long-wheelbase model up to 4.9m3 of capacity. Payload for regular vans will be up to 600kg but thanks to a higher gross vehicle weight the larger models can transport up to 800kg. They also have a 1,500kg towing capacity.

Prices start at around £30,000 for the Nissan version.

VERDICT: The diesel Renault Kangoo and Mercedes-Benz Citan are both excellent vans, and while the Nissan Townstar Electric is only available as a petrol model, the real strength of these models is the electric version.

Quiet, comfortable and way bigger than the previous generation vans, the Kangoo E-Tech, eCitan and Townstar electric really are the best small electric vans of 2022.

Conclusion - The best small electric vans 2022

In summary, there's a large amount of choice in the small van market at the moment, and there's bound to be more with a Ford E-Transit Connect likely to be added to Ford's electric van range.

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