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Best-selling vans and pickups 2016

We round up the top ten light commercial vehicles that the British public splashed out on last year

2016 was a record-breaking year for car sales, and the trend has extended into the commercial vehicle world as well. A massive 375,687 new light commercial vehicles were registered last year – that’s vans and pickup trucks weighing less than 3,500kg. It’s now the fourth year in a row that new LCV registrations have grown.

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December was a particularly interesting month, as despite a 10.4% fall in registrations, it still went on to become the second biggest December on record after 2015.

Best large panel vans to buy

As you might have guessed though, the real winners this year were pick-up trucks. With generous tax benefits for business users, rugged styling and go-anywhere practicality, they’ve lost their construction site image and are now bona fide family transport, too. That's partly responsible for the 17.6% uplift the sector took in 2016 – with demand rising a staggering 52.2% in December.

A total of 47,715 pick-ups left showrooms in 2016, and that figure looks to be set to rise in 2017. While only one individual pick-up model makes it into the top ten commercial vehicle sales chart, we wouldn’t be surprised if that changes in a few years, if the current tax advantages stay in place.

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Here are the top ten best-selling light commercial vehicles of 2016…

Best-selling vans and pick-ups 2016

1. Ford Transit Custom: 49,744 registrations

Ford already rules the car roost with its Fiesta supermini eclipsing everything else on sale, and it’s doing the same with the mid-sized panel van market. The Transit Custom sells more than double its nearest competitor, the Vauxhall Vivaro, and it’s easy to see why. It’s great value, cheap to run, massively versatile and great to drive.

2. Ford Transit: 29,965 registrations

It’s a double whammy for Ford – the second Transit on this list is actually the full-sized panel van model in the range. It’s everything that its smaller brother is too – versatile and great to drive, plus plenty of kit and great fuel economy for such a big van. It’s easy to see why the Transit name has become synonymous with vans in the UK, and why the model range sells so well.

3. Vauxhall Vivaro: 22,791 registrations

If you want to fly the flag for British-built vans, then the Vauxhall Vivaro is your best choice. The sister van to the Renault Trafic, Fiat Talento and Nissan NV300, it’s practical, refined and comfortable as vans go. With a loyal Vauxhall van fanbase, it’s no surprise that it’s amassed over 20,000 registrations in 2016.

4. Mercedes Sprinter: 21,966 registrations

The de facto choice for those who want a premium badge on their load-lugger, the Sprinter has been popular throughout its various iterations, and the current model continues that with almost 22,000 registrations in 2016. It’s a van aimed at the top end of the market, offering rugged rear-wheel drive and 4x4 options, plus a car-like cabin.

5. Volkswagen Transporter: 21,526 registrations

Perhaps the only other name as famous in the van sector as the Transit is Volkswagen. The Transporter is a classy, beautifully built van which is the basis for most campervans sold in the UK, including VW’s own California. It’s also a popular choice for airport shuttles or large family transport.

6. Ford Transit Connect: 15,494 registrations

The second-smallest vehicle in Ford’s Transit range isn’t the unloved sibling by any means, and it still amassed 15,494 registrations over 2016. It’s one of the most car-like small vans to drive and feels less agricultural than a lot of the competition – plus, its boxy body is incredibly practical, despite not being the most commodious in the class.

7. Renault Trafic: 15,279 registrations

Proving that we’re a patriotic bunch in this country, the Renault Trafic found itself outsold by its mechanically identical sibling, the Vauxhall Vivaro. It still posted strong sales figures of 15,279 though.

8. Citroen Berlingo: 14,625 registrations

The Citroen Berlingo offers a comprehensive range of bodystyles, seating for three and a comfortable ride, which helped it sell almost 15,000 units in 2016. That puts it pretty close to the similarly sized Transit Connect, and it barely pips its sister van, the Peugeot Partner.

9. Peugeot Partner: 14,038 registrations

Mechanically identical to the Citroen Berlingo, there’s very little to separate the two vans on paper, which might be why the Peugeot sold almost as many units as its Citroen sibling. Like that van, it’s comfortable and has a comprehensive range, even if ultimate load space is down compared to some rivals.

10. Ford Ranger: 13,292

The first pickup to reach the top 10, Ford Ranger sales show the ever-growing trend for pickups to be used as family transport. The appeal is easy to see – load-lugging workhorse during the week, but a plush cabin with seating for five when it comes to family outings on the weekends, plus a driving experience no more intimidating than any large SUV.

Do you own any of the best-selling vans in the country? We'd like to hear about them! Take the 2017 Driver Power owner satisfaction survey here...

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