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Different van types and sizes explained

There are many different van types and sizes

A casual scroll for vans on the internet shows that this hard-working vehicle comes in a variety of packages. And the need for different van types and sizes to be explained is imperative for those searching for the perfect vehicle.

Not only are there plenty of different sizes to choose from, but they also come in several different shapes. 

So, there’s plenty of choice. But which van is going to suit your needs? Can you tell your average Luton from your tipper? Do you need a van that’s versatile enough to perform a number of different tasks, or do you need something for just one specific use? 

To give you an idea of your options and to help you pick the van that’s right for you, we’ve put together this comprehensive guide on different van types and sizes.

What should I consider when choosing a van? 

First and foremost, you need to ask yourself what the van will be used for. With so many different van types and sizes available, you have to be realistic about the vehicle’s usage and function.

Do you need something that’ll be multi-functional? Or is there a specific need your van has to fulfil? 

Work through our list of questions to get a clearer picture of the van you need.

What size van do you need?

Knowing what goods you’ll be transporting is one factor you need to consider when picking the size of your van. 

Will you also need additional passenger space? Where will you be driving your van – if you’re working in a city, a smaller vehicle will be easier to manoeuvre and park.  

How much will your van need to carry?

Picking the right payload is vitally important. Payload is the weight a vehicle can carry in both passengers and cargo. It’s an important question to ask yourself, as overloading your van can be both unsafe, and in some cases, also illegal.

To give you an idea of weights in relation to payload, a standard bag of dry sand weighs 1330kg, a bag of cement is around 25kg, a sheet of MDF is 30kg, a tin of paint is 7kg.

How much space will you need?

The different van types and sizes also offer a variety of capacity. Once you know the weight of what you’ll be transporting, you’ll also need to figure out the load space you’ll need too. 

This is the space in your van that you’ll have available to carry goods. 

How frequently and how far will you be travelling?

Fuel economy is a big factor when choosing a van. Short trips in urban areas put different demands on a van than long-distance drives. 

If you’re city-based and do shorter journeys, an electric van can really slash costs. Heavier loads with longer journeys will be better suited with diesel or petrol models.

If you’re travelling long distances, don’t forget to consider the comfort of the van too. From air conditioning to cruise control, these are the additional features that can make your job easier.

Where will you be working?

Ease of access to the load in your van is also something to think of. For example, if you’re working in narrow city streets, would dual sliding doors be helpful? 

Will parking be tight? If so, a smaller van might be better.

What are the different types of van?

Now you have a better idea of what you need the van for, let’s take a look at the different types of vans available – from seating to payloads and fuel consumption to access.

Micro van/car-derived vans

Ford Fiesta Van

Micro vans or car-derived vans are essentially vehicles that were born to be cars but were then properly adapted to be commercial vehicles.

Instead of traditional side rear windows, you’ll find metal panels or fixed opaque glass windows. 

And instead of rear seats, it has a fixed payload area with a floor. You’ll also often find them with a bulkhead between the loading area and front seats to separate the cabin.

So it looks like a van, does the work of a van, but really drives like a car. This means they’re subject to the same speed limits as passenger vehicles too. 

But as they’re designed to carry a maximum weight of 2.0 tonnes when fully loaded, they’re a functional, safer way to carry more goods and equipment than an ordinary car. 

Examples of micro vans include: 

  • Average load length – 1.3m
  • Average load height – 1.1m
  • Average load width – 1.0m
  • Payload: 581kg – 660kg
  • Seats: 2 (including driver)
  • Typical fuel consumption: 40-50mpg

Small vans

Fiat Doblo

Small vans are great if you’re looking for something versatile. If you don’t need to carry large loads, they’re practical, cheap to insure and often good value to run. 

They’re equally at home nipping around town and venturing further afield.

They’re also deceptively spacious. Long enough to carry appliances, luggage, and parcels, they’re also secure, with your goods out of sight.

Examples of small vans include:

  • Average load length – 1.7m
  • Average load height – 1.2m
  • Average load width – 1.5m
  • Payload: 500 – 900kg
  • Seats: 2 (including driver)
  • Typical fuel consumption: 40-50mpg

Medium vans

Mercedes Vito

A medium van is one of the most popular choices in the UK. It’s big and sturdy enough to deal with a variety of uses, but it’s not much longer or wider than a large car, making it easy to manoeuvre and park. 

It’s a happy blend of space and performance – the perfect solution for transporting large goods like sofas or holding bulky tools and merchandise. 

Examples of medium vans include: 

  • Average load length – 2.4m
  • Average load height – 1.5m
  • Average load width – 1.7m
  • Payload: 900 – 1200kg
  • Seats: 3 (including driver)
  • Typical fuel consumption: 30-40mpg

Large vans

Renault Master

A large van pretty much does what it says on the tin. They’re built with load capacity in mind, so highly practical for goods delivery or house removals. 

They come in many different guises – short or long wheelbase with varying capacities too, so you can typically find one that meets your exact needs. 

With a side loading door, they also make for easy loading and unloading.

Examples of large vans include: 

  • Average load length – 3.4m
  • Average load height – 1.7m
  • Average load width – 1.7m
  • Payload: 1,200 – 1,500kg
  • Seats: 3 (including driver)
  • Typical fuel consumption: 30-35mpg

Crew van/Minibus

Citroen Dispatch

Ideal for transporting both people and cargo in comfort, the crew van includes stowable seats to boost your load space further. 

These vans are geared more towards passengers than goods, but medium and large vans can all be converted to fit more seats; meaning there’s still enough room to carry ample equipment if needed in the boot or by utilising the seat space. 

Examples of crew vans include:

  • Average load length – 1.5m
  • Average load height – 1.2m
  • Average load width – 1.4m
  • Payload: 500-600kg
  • Seats: 6 – 8 (including driver)
  • Typical fuel consumption: 50-60mpg

Pick-up trucks

Nissan Navara

Modern pick-ups are multi-functional vehicles that have become increasingly popular with families over the years. 

They fulfil the needs of those who carry and tow heavy loads such as caravans, tackle every terrain, and provide car-like comfort at the same time.

They’re popular with businesses, as – when they have a payload of at least one tonne and are classed as Light Commercial Vehicles – users can reduce their Benefit-in-Kind tax.

Examples of pick-up trucks include: 

  • Average load length – 1.5m
  • Average load height – 511m
  • Average load width – 1.5m
  • Payload: 1,000 – 1,500kg
  • Seats: 5 (double cab, including driver)
  • Typical fuel consumption: 32-40mpg

Tipper/Dropside van

Vauxhall Movano

A tipper or dropside van is more of a vehicle for specific use. Useful for carrying loose items – sand, cement, soil, branches, scrap, and so on. 

As the name suggests, tipper vans have a flatbed with a tipping function, which makes substances or items easier to remove. 

Dropsides are also easier to access, but rather than tip, the sideboards can be folded down giving you direct access to the load area.

With a very spacious load capacity, they easily transport more awkward loads and are popular in construction and landscaping industries. 

They’re available in single or crew cab, meaning you can actually carry up to six passengers too. 

Examples of tipper/dropside vans include: 

  • Average load length – 3m
  • Average load height – 1.2m
  • Average load width – 2m
  • Payload: 1,500kg
  • Seats: 6 (including driver with a double cab)
  • Typical fuel consumption: 20 – 30mpg

Luton Van

Citroen Relay

The Luton Van is the giant of the van family. With a long wheelbase, they’re ideal for large, heavy loads. 

With an enclosed boxed body that extends over the cab, giving additional storage space, they have a high volume capacity. 

Typically, they have hydraulic tail lifts making the loading and unloading of heavy, bulky goods easier.

Examples of Luton Vans include: 

  • Average load length – 4m
  • Average load height – 2.2m
  • Average load width – 2m
  • Payload: 1,200 – 1,600kg
  • Seats: 3 (including driver)
  • Typical fuel consumption: 35-40mpg

Different van types and sizes: find the right one for you 

Still not sure on which van is right for you or have outstanding questions? We can help. 

Speak to one of our expert van team members who can answer all your questions and help you find the right van for you.

Visit the Hippo Help Desk and speak to us today!

Representative Example of Credit

We expect more than 51% of our customers to achieve this rate.

Loan Amount Total Cost of Credit Representative APR 60 Monthly Payments Deposit Amount Loan Term Total Amount Payable
£7,500 £3831 19.1% APR £188.85 £0 60 Months £11,331

All offers are subject to change at any time, you must be 18 or over and finance is subject to status, vehicle availability and terms and conditions apply. We can introduce you to a limited number of finance companies, a commission may be received. Failure to maintain payments may result in termination of your agreement and the vehicle being returned, this could affect your credit rating and make it more difficult to obtain credit in the future. All prices correct at time of publication.

We purchase a wide variety of vehicles from all over the country to ensure the best quality and value for our customers, all of our cars go through a thorough inspection process and if they do not meet our standards we do not sell them. We endeavour to inform our customers (where possible) the provenance of the vehicle they are buying and as such we will always inform you if the vehicle has previously been either an ex fleet or hire car. Should your vehicle be an ex hire/fleet car please do not be concerned as we would never value this vehicle differently when you come to part exchange it and there is no difference to the CAP valuation either.

You should try and estimate the distance you will travel as accurately as possible to try and avoid excess mileage charges at the end of your contract.

All pictures and/or photos and car descriptions on this site are for illustration and reference purposes only and are not necessarily the vehicle on offer. All offers are subject to change at any time and are subject to finance approval and vehicle availability. All prices correct at time of publication. E & OE.

Hippo Vehicle Solutions t/a Hippo Motor Finance is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority. FRN 658076. We are a Credit Broker not a Lender and can introduce you to a limited number of lenders. Subject to status and to UK residents only (excl. the Channel Islands). Individuals must be 18 or over. Guarantees and indemnities may be required. We typically receive a fixed commission calculated by reference to the vehicle model, product or amount you borrow, for introducing you to a lender but this does not affect the interest charged on the agreement, all of which are set by the lender. Images for illustrative purposes only. Hippo Vehicle Solutions t/a Hippo Motor Finance is an Appointed Representative of AutoProtect (MBI) Limited for insurance distribution purposes. AutoProtect (MBI) Limited is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority. Its firm reference number is 312143. You can check this at www.fca.org.uk

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