The earliest records of a van as a vehicle in English date back to the mid-19th century and meant a covered wagon for transporting goods. In fact, the first reported record of a van was in 1829. Since then, vans have become a huge part of everyday life, used for transporting goods and helping people get to work every day.
But what are the best vans of all time? In this article, we look at some of the best vans of all time, they could have sold in huge numbers or simply have had a big impact on the van world.
This list is our opinion, and we would love to hear yours as well so leave us a comment below letting us know if you agree or disagree with us!
Ford Transit Connect
The Ford Transit Connect has been around since 2002, and has since amassed over one million sales. It was the first small European panel van to go on sale in the United States. The second generation, introduced in 2013, is considerably comfier and comes with a considerable amount of safety features including Active City Stop and Traffic Sign Recognition.
The Citroen C15 was in production from 1984 to 2005 and was more popular than it anticipated. Designed and produced after sales of the Visa van started to fall, the Citroen C15 was a popular panel van that continued right up until 2005.
In its 24 years of production, there have been over 1.6 million Vauxhall Combos produced. The first two generations of the Combo were based on the Vauxhall Corsa and were manufactured in Portugal and Spain. The third generation was launched in 2012 and comes with safety features such as Hill Start Assist and rear parking sensors.
The Iveco isn’t a common sight on British roads, but that doesn’t mean that it isn’t one of the best vans out there. It has been on sale since 1978 and has sold over 2.7 million units. The Mark 4 was launched in 2014.
The Volkswagen LT was one of the first major successes for Volkswagen’s commercials when it was launched in 1975. It sold over 5.4 million units in its time, and the next generation LT came out of a partnership with Mercedes. However, only 350,000 units of the second generation were sold.
The Fiat Ducato has always been popular due to its low price, fuel economy and productivity. It also shares its body with the Citroen Relay and the Peugeot Boxer. It has been around for 30 years, and its popularity doesn’t show any signs of slowing down.
The Ford Transit quickly became the UK’s best-selling commercial vehicle after it went into production in Langley, Berkshire. Developed by a British team, sales have surpassed 8 million and it has won Van of the Year by AutoExpress three times. The latest Ford Transit is manufactured in Turkey and comes with features such as Pre-Collison Assist and Adaptive Cruise Control.
The Hiace wasn’t sold outside of Asia until the 1980’s, almost 20 years after it was first produced. It sold 6.5 million units in its time, but has since been replaced by the Toyota Proace in Europe in 2013. It is still around in Asia, though.
The Renault Trafic is hugely popular in Europe, and is partly responsible for Renault’s huge success in the van arena. Now in its third generation, the Renault Trafic comes in three trim levels and has DAB radio with Bluetooth and cruise control (on the Sport trim).
The Sprinter has been around since 1995 and has been credited for paving the way for modern vans. It came as a Traveliner, panel van and a pick-up. It marked a defining moment for Mercedes commercial vehicles and has since continued to dominate the market. The first generation came with anti-lock braking as standard, something that was quite cutting-edge back in 1995.
The Volkswagen Caddy started out as a Volkswagen Golf-based pickup in America, way back in 1978. It is now more often seen in Europe though it has been a best-seller in many markets all over the world, including Australia. The fourth generation was launched in 2015 and is still hugely popular. The latest van comes with heaps of features including parking assist and post-collision braking.
So those are our best vans of all time. As we said, it’s just our opinion and if you think we have missed any out then please comment below!
How does company car tax work for vans?
One of the huge benefits of getting a van as a company vehicle is that company car tax works differently.
You will have to pay company car tax on a van if you are using your van for private use. However, there is some leeway in terms of what this private use is. You do not have to pay company car tax if you are travelling because of work (to appointments and sites etc) or to a temporary workplace. You can also use your van for ‘insignificant journeys’ such as stopping to grab a coffee on the way to work. However, if you use your van at weekends to do the weekly shop, then you will have to pay company car tax.
Unlike company car tax for cars, vans are taxed at a fixed rate. This is opposed to a sliding BIK rate that company cars are taxed by. With a van, there is a fixed rate of £3150. The amount you pay depends on your tax bracket. So, say you are in the 20% tax bracket then you will be paying 20% of £3150. This is £630 a year or £52.50 a month.
However, if you have a zero-emission van, then you will only have to pay £630 regardless of your tax bracket. You can read more about company car tax for vans here.
So those are our best vans of all time. As we said, these are in no particular order and are just our humble opinion. If you think we have missed some off, then please comment below!