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Best medium panel vans 2024

There's plenty of choice available in the hard-fought medium-sized van sector. We rank our favourites

As the name suggests, the best medium-sized panel vans offer more space than smaller compact vans, but without the sheer bulk of a full-sized large panel van. This combination makes mid-size vans easier to drive around towns and cities, while still being able to carry a large amount of cargo in terms of weight and load volume.

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Most medium vans offer a payload area which can carry at least two Europallets, and their payload weights can often match, or even exceed, those of large vans. It’s because of this blend of talents that medium panel vans are the perfect fit for many UK businesses. Typically, the range of body styles available in the medium panel van class isn’t as wide as it is with large panel vans but there are still plenty of different vehicle lengths, roof heights and body styles to choose from.

Modern vans are also fitted with many of the luxuries and technology that you can find in cars from the same brand. Not only does this make them much more pleasant and comfortable to drive every day, but they are also a lot safer than the vans of the past, too.

The majority of the UK’s major commercial vehicle manufacturers are present in this class including big names like Citroen, Fiat, Ford, Mercedes, Nissan, Peugeot, Renault, Toyota, Vauxhall and Volkswagen. However, while that's quite a roll call, there are a number of joint ventures in this list, with many manufacturers offering virtually the same van with only slightly different specifications and their own badge on the nose. We’ll explain all below.

What are the best medium panel vans?

We’ve thoroughly tested every medium-sized panel van in the UK to find the very best choices for your business. Read on to see our top picks in reverse order.

8. LEVC VN5

The London Electric Vehicle Company (LEVC) is best known for building the current generation of London Black Cab, the TX, but now the firm is looking to expand its sales reach by branching out into the commercial vehicle market. Based on the famous London Black Cab, the VN5 is a plug-in hybrid range-extender (REx) van that can travel up to 61 miles on battery power alone, and has a total range of around 300 miles once the petrol engine kicks in to drive the electric motor.

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That's impressive when you consider that the Ford Transit Custom PHEV has a claimed range of around half that, and means the VN5 could be the perfect choice for business users who need a van that can do a day's work while pumping out very few emissions.

On board, the LEVC VN5 is packed with safety and driving tech, while a tight taxi-style turning circle will appeal to urban users. Downsides? Well, LEVC is still relatively unknown in the van market, while the REx running gear means that there's a high load floor and not quite as much outright carrying capacity as its established rivals.

7. Maxus eDeliver 7

Maxus may be an unfamiliar name, but the Chinese brand rose from the remnants of former British van maker LDV. Unlike most vans on this list, the Maxus eDeliver 7 comes exclusively with all-electric power and a WLTP range of up to 230 miles.

Don’t think that because the eDeliver 7 is only available as an electric van, you’ll be short changed when it comes to cargo capacity or payloads, because that’s not the case. There are three van body sizes on offer with the largest wheelbase and roof height offering up to 8.7 cubic metres. A max payload of 1,200kg is possible, depending on the chosen bodystyle. 

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On the road, all variants of the Maxus eDeliver 7 come with a wide range driver conveniences and safety kit, meaning driving from job-to-job should be a breeze. From Autonomous Emergency Braking, rear cross traffic alert and lane keep assist keeping you safe on the road, to air conditioning, parking sensors, a 360-degree camera and heated seats in the cabin - the eDeliver 7 is a well equipped and capable load-lugger if you’re looking to switch to an electric van.

6. Mercedes Vito

The Mercedes Vito is a reliable and dependable workhorse with plenty of hard wearing materials inside, while also offering the prestige of the Mercedes badge for users who seek a van that doesn't live up to the typical stereotypes.

There are two different panel van lengths available, L2 and L3, as well as two trim levels to choose from - Pro and Select - with both offering an upmarket feel when compared to rival vans. The space offered in the cargo area is also fairly versatile.

The engine range comprises three diesel units with up to 187bhp on offer. For zero-emissions driving, the Mercedes eVito is a good choice, and offers 164 miles of range on the WLTP combined cycle.

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Inside, kit across the range includes cruise control and crosswind assist, while options include heated seats, LED lighting and rain-sensing wipers.

5. Volkswagen ID.Buzz Cargo

The Volkswagen ID.Buzz Cargo is the van version of the Volkswagen ID. Buzz. Not only does it offer a distinct retro charm by referencing the classic VW Type 2, but it has a range of up to 256 miles from a single charge and a cleverly designed cargo area that helped earn it the title of our 2023 Electric Van of the Year.

The 77kWh battery can be charged to 80% capacity in around 30 minutes using a 170kW DC fast charger and is covered by a eight-year/ 100,000 mile warranty, whichever comes first. Costs should also be kept down with 24 month service intervals with no mileage restriction in that time. 

Based on the same MEB platform as many of Volkswagen’s electric cars, the ID. Buzz Cargo feels car-like to drive, with the suspension soaking up imperfections in the road well. Standard kit offered on the entry Commerce should be more than enough for most drivers. 

With only one body style on offer at the moment, cargo space and maximum payload may be a little on the small side for some business users, but the ID.Buzz Cargo is a van you buy more with your heart than your head.

4. Vauxhall Vivaro/ Citroen Dispatch/ Peugeot Expert/ Toyota Proace/ Fiat Scudo

Until a few years ago, the Vauxhall Vivaro shared much of its running gear and most of its tech with the Renault Trafic. But now Vauxhall is part of Stellantis and the Vivaro is essentially the same as the Citroen Dispatch, Peugeot Expert, Toyota Proace and Fiat Scudo

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With all of these vans sharing so much tech and running gear, the van you choose will depend on any brand loyalty you have or perhaps whether you prefer the Griffin badged Vivaro, smooth chevron front end of the Citroen or chunkier letterbox opening on the Peugeot. And if none of them take your fancy, there’s the Toyota or Fiat. 

No matter the make of van you opt for, equipment levels, trims and engines are broadly similar. The Vivaro comes in three different lengths, as well as panel or Crew Cab body styles. Cargo space isn’t the roomiest, however there is a through-loading bulkhead to help carry longer items.

In the cabin, there is a three-seat layout which might be a little on the tight side for some but the arrangement does offer versatility if you need it. Cabin comfort is on par with the MPV models offered by Stellantis, such as the Peugeot Traveller or Vauxhall Vivaro Life. There are plenty of soft-touch materials and in-car tech to help make the cabin feel upmarket, and a host of driver aids such as active cruise control and blind-spot monitoring are also available.

Power comes from a set of efficient 1.5 or 2.0-litre diesel engines, but for those looking to slash running costs even further there’s the Vivaro Electric, e-Dispatch, e-Expert, Proace Electric and E-Scudo, which are all-electric versions of the same van.

3. Renault Trafic

The Trafic is a proper old-school, no-nonsense van, but even Renault has added the latest tech to its workhorse as part of its most recent facelift. Like rivals, you can get long and short wheelbase versions, while the Trafic Passenger and Trafic Crew Van offer versatility, too. Renault also offers a range of ready-made conversions for businesses that need a specialist vehicle at short notice.

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One great thing about the Trafic is its high-set driving position. With a commanding view of the road ahead, it offers one of the tallest seat heights of any van in the class. Add in the large rear-view mirrors and clever blind spot mirror set into the passenger side sun visor, and visibility isn't an issue in this van.

Under the bonnet, Renault has given all versions of the Trafic a 2.0 dCi diesel, with the option of power outputs ranging between 120bhp and 170bhp. That means even the lowest-powered van has plenty of pulling power and doesn't feel strained when on the move. If diesel isn’t ideal for you, the electric Renault Trafic E-Tech is also available.

2. Volkswagen Transporter

You might be unfamiliar with Volkswagen's van range, but the Transporter has a heritage that's almost as long as VW's itself. The T6 is the sixth-generation of mid-sized van produced by the firm, while the T6.1 that arrived in 2019 added a raft of kit that will be familiar to anyone who's driven a Golf.

Rivals offer greater load volume, but the T6.1 feels like a particularly premium offering thanks to its car-like features. A five-seat Kombi version is also available, along with a California camper version for those that enjoy the great outdoors.

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VW's 2.0 TDI diesel engines are available with a manual or DSG automatic transmission, as well as with the option of 4MOTION four-wheel drive. For the first time in the Transporter’s long history, a fully-electric version is also available, the ABT e-Transporter

This features the same running gear as the VW e-Golf, and with a range of 82 miles, it won’t be suited to long-distance driving but should prove enough for a day's work making urban deliveries. If you require a longer battery range, the ID.Buzz Cargo could prove an ideal alternative. The new Volkswagen Transporter and e-Transporter is expected to be unveiled in September 2024.

1. Ford Transit Custom

The Ford Transit is a mainstay in Ford’s UK model line up, with sales regularly on a par with or even exceeding the company’s best-selling car, the Puma. Transit is such a big name for Ford that it’s used across its entire van line up, from the full-size Transit and the medium-sized Transit Custom to the smaller Transit Connect and the Transit Courier. Unsurprisingly, it’s the mid-size Transit Custom that sits on the top of our best medium size van list. 

The latest Ford Transit Custom offers a car-like driving experience while retaining all the versatility required from a commercial vehicle, from rival-beating door openings to competitive payload weights and cargo capacity. While vans of the past only made do with a variety of diesel engines, the latest Transit Custom has been designed from the ground up to accommodate diesel, plug-in hybrid and fully-electric powertrains. 

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Trim levels are plentiful, too, ranging from the base Leader trim to the high-spec Limited, Trail and Sport versions. All variants come with the latest driver safety aids like lane keeping assist and collision prevention, as well as Ford’s latest SYNC4 infotainment system with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto as standard. 

This tech doesn’t come at the expense of practicality, either. Depending on the trim level you choose, there’s a vast array of configurations meaning the Transit Custom can suit different scenarios. Not only do you have short or long wheelbase and high or low-roof options, the Double Cab offers seating up to six people with the bulkhead behind the second row of seats. The Kombi can transport up to eight people with the boot space large enough for airport runs; and the new MultiCab fulfils the requirement of extra seating while still being able to transport sheets of 8x4 plywood. And if you need more seats, there’s always the plush Tourneo minibus to consider, seating up to nine people.

There's a familiar look outside, too, with the Transit Custom featuring a smart looking grille and daytime running lights up front. Go for a Transit Custom Sport and you get vivid colours, a sporty rear spoiler, while the Trail version adds an off-road look, as well as the option of a traction-boosting mechanical limited-slip diff.

Best medium panel vans:

  1. Ford Transit Custom
  2. Volkswagen Transporter
  3. Renault Trafic
  4. Vauxhall Vivaro/ Citroen Dispatch/ Peugeot Expert/ Fiat Scudo
  5. Volkswagen ID. Buzz Cargo
  6. Mercedes Vito
  7. Maxus eDeliver
  8. LEVC VN5

​Choosing the right medium panel van

Buy a medium-sized van, and you're buying a versatile set of wheels. There's usually space for three up front, with a payload area that can handle two Europallets with ease.

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In terms of body style, there aren't quite as many options for sale as you'd find in the large van sector, but there's still plenty of choice. Nearly all vans in this sector are of unibody construction, which are therefore harder to strip back to a bare chassis. This means chassis cab options are rare, but there are still plenty of choices when it comes to panel van shapes and sizes. 

Most medium-sized panel vans come in at least two lengths, while others also offer high-roof options. All will come with a steel bulkhead separating the cab from the cargo area, and there will be at least one sliding side door offered. Barn-style rear doors which lock open at 90 and 180 degrees, and can sometimes be fully opened to 270 degrees, usually feature, with a top-hinged tailgate offered as an option, often at no extra cost.

There are five-seat double cab versions of these vans, too, which add windows to the sliding side doors and move the steel bulkhead back to make room for a three-seat bench behind the front seats. If that's not enough seating for your needs, most medium-sized panel vans also come as either basic multi-seat vans (ideal for conversion to a taxi) or more luxurious MPVs with up to nine seats and varying levels of comfort.

One area where there's more choice than ever is in terms of motive power. Diesel still dominates, and most medium-sized vans offer a variety of power outputs ranging from modest to punchy. Alternatively, an increasing number of van manufacturers are moving towards more eco-friendly drivetrains, meaning that there are an increasing number of hybrid and fully electric vans to choose from.

Need more space? These are the best big panel vans on sale now...

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Content editor

Ryan is responsible for looking after the day-to-day running of the Auto Express website and social media channels. Prior to joining Auto Express in 2023, he worked at a global OEM automotive manufacturer, as well as a specialist automotive PR and marketing agency.

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