Running a fleet of vans can be an expensive business. While drivers and fuel are among the biggest ongoing cost factors, the purchase of the vehicle itself will always play a major part in the total cost of ownership equation.
For many companies, working locally with low annual mileages, the used van market continues to offer big savings over new metal. With the new van market booming, there has finally been a steady flow of good used LCVs into auction rooms and onto used van forecourts too.
Don’t expect massive bargains however, as used vans are in high demand. While there are more fleet and ex-lease vans coming to the market, high quality one-owner LCVs, particularly those with a good specification, remain in short supply.
1. Ford Transit Custom – Used Van of the Year
2.0 TDCi 105 L1 (2018/18, 60k miles, £13,948)
If Porsche made a van, then it’s very likely it would turn out to be something very like the Transit Custom. In fact, as with the German firm’s iconic 911, the famous Ford has been over a half a century in the making. Honed to be the ultimate business asset, the tough, dependable and versatile Blue Oval machine is the perfect choice for owners who need to work hard and play hard.
This particular version, the Transit Custom, launched in 2012, and has proved to be one of Ford’s biggest sellers, its blend of value and space being hard to beat. You can choose long and short-wheelbase models, as well as low and high-roof configurations, plus the option of crew cab or minibus seating layouts, so there’s something for everyone. Better still, with prices starting at £8,000, it won’t plunge the company accounts into the red.
The same is true of running costs, with the venerable 2.2-litre TDCi diesel serving up a compelling blend of load-lugging muscle and efficiency, particularly in 125bhp guise. Later cars get a mild-hybrid-assisted 2.0-litre unit, while there’s even a petrol-electric plug-in range extender.
Yet there’s more to the Transit Custom than hard work, because it also drives with the poise and precision you’d expect from a Ford. Accurate steering, composed handing and beautifully weighted controls mean that this is one of the best vans for those that enjoy driving. It’s easy to drive, too, thanks to excellent visibility, a high-set driving position and dimensions that allow it to slip down most narrow streets and slot into normal car-sized parking spaces.
If your budget stretches, then seek out post-2016 models, which come with a classier cab, including Ford’s neat SYNC 3 touchscreen infotainment system. It has seamless connectivity for your smartphone, allowing you to keep working even when you’re on the move.
Regardless of which version you chose, you’ll be getting one of the hardest-working heroes on the high street that’ll prove to be one of your biggest business assets.
BuyaCar finance options
The Transit Custom is plentiful and great value as a used vehicle. Around £16,000 should be enough for a three or four-year-old L1 model with 60,000 miles or so on the clock. That equates to monthly payments
of £243 on a four-year hire purchase deal with a £3,000 deposit. Given that you’ll own the van once the final monthly payment has been made, you’ll be free to keep it, trade it in or sell it at the end of the contract.
See the latest used Ford Transit Custom prices on our sister site BuyaCar…
2. Volkswagen Transporter
The VW Transporter is almost as familiar a sight on UK roads as the Transit. But while the Ford spends most of its time getting its hands dirty, the desirable and fashionable German wagon is as likely to be used as a family-friendly MPV, a chilled-out surf wagon or cool camper van as it is a hard-working business tool.
See the latest used Volkswagen Transporter prices on our sister site BuyaCar…
3. Renault Trafic
If you’re looking for a spacious, no-nonsense panel van, the Trafic ticks a lot of boxes. There are plenty of models about, and Renault marketed various special editions with more kit. As with the Transit Custom, there are two lengths and two roof heights, and the big, square cargo area offers plenty of usable space. While a 1.6 dCi might seem small, the 138bhp twin-turbo version packs a surprising punch.
See the latest used Renault Trafic prices on our sister site BuyaCar…
4. Nissan e-NV200
Before you switch to an electric van, make a record of your daily mileage to see whether it can fit in with your working life. Cover fewer than 124 miles? The e-NV200 is worth considering. This is the van’s minimum claimed range, and the Nissan has the class’s biggest cargo space. Used prices are very tempting, but ensure the van you’re looking at comes with a battery, rather than a pricey hire scheme.
See the latest used Nissan e-NV200 prices on our sister site BuyaCar…
Now find out more about the best used cars you can buy…