Best used vans 2024
Our favourite used vans offer a cheap and practical alternative to brand new commercial vehicles
The medium-sized van class is the bread and butter of the UK’s commercial vehicle sector, but choosing the best van for your business can be tough. Not only do you have to ensure there’s enough room for cargo, kit and tools, the cost of ownership and overall purchase price can heavily influence your decision. Rather than buying a brand new commercial vehicle, you could save some significant money by looking at the used van market.
With the new van market booming, there has been a steady flow of good used LCVs into auction rooms and onto used van forecourts which bodes well for the used van buyer. 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.
Thankfully, we’ve tested every van on the market and below we’ve picked out some of the best used vans currently around, including our 2023 Used Van of the Year. Each van below offers great all-round characteristics, with some being better suited for some types of businesses than others.
Best used vans to buy:
1. Toyota Proace - Used Van of the Year
- Our pick: 1.6D Comfort MWB (2018/18, 41k miles, £14,995 ex.VAT)
Our winner of the Best Used Van title is part of a wave of vans that deliver car-like characteristics and safety kit, while also proving adept at dealing with the rough and tumble of work life. The Toyota Proace is the product of a joint collaboration between the Japanese company and what used to be PSA Peugeot Citroen, now Stellantis. The Proace uses the same bodyshell and running gear as Citroen, Peugeot, Vauxhall and Fiat vans, and while it doesn’t have the biggest carrying capacity in the sector, there’s good passenger comfort and surprisingly agile handling.
Of course, the latter isn’t a priority for a van buyer, so other highlights include three body lengths, the choice of an efficient 1.5-litre diesel or a more potent 2.0-litre option, plus the attraction of zero-emissions running with the Proace Electric.
What puts the Proace ahead as a used purchase is the added peace of mind of Toyota’s extended warranty. Even though this van features running gear that’s sourced from outside the Toyota empire, it still qualifies for 12 months of extended warranty cover every time it’s serviced at a Toyota Professional centre, for a maximum of 10 years or 100,000 miles, whichever comes first. For busy businesses, that should give extra confidence that the Proace is a work vehicle that won’t let you down.
2. Ford Transit Custom
The Ford Transit has been over half a century in the making and honed to be the ultimate business asset - being tough and dependable, and with Ford introducing the Transit Custom in 2012 and its blend of value and space has been 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.
Running costs won’t put your business in the red, with the venerable 2.2-litre TDCi diesel serving up a compelling blend of load-lugging muscle and efficiency, particularly in 125bhp guise. Later vans get a mild-hybrid-assisted 2.0-litre unit, while there’s even a petrol-electric plug-in range extender.
The Transit Custom has excellent overall visibility and steering and handling is composed. A high-set driving position and dimensions that allow it to slip down most narrow streets and slot into normal car-sized parking spaces, meaning it’ll be at home in the town or country alike. 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.
3. Citroen Berlingo
Early versions of the Citroen Berlingo look tempting value now, and you won’t find another small van that offers the same carrying capability. Well, unless you choose the badge-engineered Peugeot, Toyota, Fiat or Vauxhall alternatives. Find one with a through-loading bulkhead for added versatility, and with the choice of petrol, diesel and electric powertrains, there should be an example out there which suits your needs.
4. 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.
5. Renault Trafic
If you’re looking for a spacious, no-nonsense panel van, the Renault 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 the 1.6 dCi might seem small, the 138bhp twin-turbo version packs a surprising punch and reasonable running costs.
6. Ford Ranger
Some jobs or locations can’t always be reached by a van and only the rugged off-road ability provided by a pick-up truck will do. With the arrival of the all-new Ford Ranger this year, prices of the previous generation have seen a dip. There are plenty of options out there, including special editions that feature extra kit to give an even more SUV-like experience. Some owners swear by the 3.2-litre five-cylinder diesel, but the later 2.0 EcoBlue offers just as much pulling power and better economy.
Now find out more about the best used cars you can buy...