For many young people learning a trade or making a start of their own business, transport is absolutely vital.
And, depending on the type of work, a car might not be up to the job, leading to young workers looking for a van that can fit in with their job, their life and their budget.
There are 14 manufacturers selling vans in the UK right now, with hundreds of different specifications covering everything from engine size to load capacity, making choosing the right one a minefield for young drivers.
To help simplify the choice, comparison site Confused.com crunched the numbers on the UK’s most popular vans to find the best small, medium and large vans for younger drivers. The research looked at 10 key factors such as purchase price, fuel economy, tax, insurance costs and carrying capacity and compared running costs against an average apprentice’s salary to come up with a list of the best models in different categories, as well as an overall top-rated van.
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Most affordable vans
The Vauxhall Combo came out top, thanks to its overall affordability and practicality. The small panel van with its 1.6-litre diesel engine and 3.6 cubic metre capacity was determined to be the best overall option as well as the best in the small van category and the cheapest van to run.
With an average list price of £17,515.83 it is slightly more expensive to buy than the second-ranked Ford Transit Connect (£16,182), but reclaims ground through better fuel economy. Over the course of a year, the Combo will cost a total average of £ 2,041.14 to run, compared with £ 2,070.99 for the Transit Connect.
The top five is dominated by small vans, with the Peugeot Partner and Citroen Berlingo - both related to the Combo - ranking third and fourth according to Confused’s index score. The Peugeot Expert, with a 5.5 cubic metre load area, was the only medium-sized van to make the top five, as well as being rated the overall best medium van. Its annual costs of £2,210 put it above the similarly sized Ford Transit (£2,328 per year) and Vauxhall Vivaro (£2,399).
The best large van was the MAN TGe, with a 14 cubic metre load capacity, but with an average price of £31,939, and annual costs of £2,481, it’s predictably a more costly option for young drivers.
Dan McCulloch, van insurance expert at Confused.com said: ”Choosing your van is an exciting step when starting out in a new trade or job. But now with so many different types of van available, making the right choice can be overwhelming.
“For most young van drivers, choosing one that is affordable, especially if you’re starting on an apprentice wage, is a key consideration. But also making sure you have the right size van for what you need is important.”
The research also rated vans by how they performed on specific metrics, including carrying capacity and fuel consumption.
Biggest load capacity: MAN TGe & Mercedes Sprinter (14 cu. m. each)
Cheapest to purchase: Ford Transit Connect (£16,182.50)
Cheapest cost of petrol annually: Vauxhall Combo (£619.71)
Cheapest for total annual running costs: Vauxhall Combo (£2,041.14)
Lowest share of apprenticeship salary to run: Vauxhall Combo, Citroen Berlingo & Ford Transit Connect (10% of average apprentice salary each)
This article first appeared on The Scotsman