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August 2022 van sales revealed: who were the winners and losers?

We look at the UK's best-selling vans last month and reveal the top 10 most popular choices...


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by
Ayisha Gharu

Mercedes Sprinter 2021 in front of building

UK van sales declined for an eighth consecutive month in August, with 15,520 models leaving showrooms – down 24.6% compared with the same month in 2021. In fact, sales volumes for the month of August haven't been this low since 2017. 

The slump has been attributed to the ongoing shortage of semiconductor chips used to make van electronics, although it should also be noted that August is traditionally one of the quietest months of the year in any case, coming ahead of the September plate change. 

Every type of van was hit by the declines, but large vans were the least affected; sales fell by 14% to 12,176. In contrast, pick-ups were down by 52.2%, from 2459 last year to 1175 this year. 

Nevertheless, electric van sales continued to grow, up 14.7% compared with August 2021. That's thanks in part to the increase in the number of people recognising the benefits that come with electric vehicles.

This growth is likely to be stimulated further by the release of battery-powered versions of popular vans including the Ford E-Transit, as well as the launch of an electric version of the most-purchased van in the UK; the Ford E-Transit Custom is expected to arrive on UK roads later this year.

So, which models were most popular in August 2022? Here are the past month’s top 10 best-selling commercial vehicles.

10

Citroën Dispatch

The Citroën Dispatch's high payload capacity and car-like ride and handling make it a popular option among van buyers. It also comes with a comfortable interior and a smart hands-free load space opening system, allowing you to open the side door by waving your foot under the rear bumper. You also get three length options to choose from (which is more choice than most rivals offer) and plenty of standard equipment. 

August sales 510

Pros

  • Car-like ride and handling
  • Capable range of engines
  • Parking camera and head-up display

Cons

  • Small wing mirrors
  • Not the best forward visibility
9

Renault Trafic

The Renault Trafic is a good option if you're looking to own your van, thanks to its low purchase price, generous equipment provision and the variety of engine options it offers. It also comes with lots of safety kit to help with keeping you out of trouble, as well as a clever keycard-operating locking system. Sure, there isn't much interior storage, nor is the infotainment system that good, but the Trafic is well worth considering.

August sales 524

Pros

  • Choice of engines to suit most needs
  • Greatly improved safety systems
  • Quiet interior

Cons

  • More interior storage needed
  • Slow-witted infotainment system
8

Peugeot Expert

The Peugeot Expert is a sibling to the Citroën Dispatch and offers a similarly high payload capacity and comfortable interior. It also comes with a wider range of engine and body length options compared with its rivals. What's more, it's engaging to drive as well as inexpensive to run, making it a compelling choice. 

August sales 709

Pros

  • Comfort and handling
  • Wide choice of engines and sizes
  • Classy interior

Cons

  • Poor visibility
  • Needs bigger door mirrors
  • Added safety comes at a price
7

Ford Ranger

The Ford Ranger is our 2022 Pick-up of the Year and it's often the most popular choice in its class in any given month. That’s little surprise, because it’s both a capable load-lugger and a great family car. It rides comfortably and offers strong performance, plus the Double Cab version offers plenty of room inside for four adults. That also makes it a good option for company car buyers who can take advantage of low benefit-in-kind (BIK) tax rates for commercial vehicles. 

August sales 733

Pros

  • Rides quite well for a pick-up
  • Gutsy diesel engines
  • Competitively priced

Cons

  • All engines are pretty noisy
  • Greatly reduced payload on Raptor version
  • Relatively short warranty
6

Ford Transit Connect

Straddling the line between a van and a car is the Ford Transit Connect, which is based on similar underpinnings to those of the Ford Focus family car, it offers a range of peppy petrol and diesel engines, as well as good handling and one of the most comfortable rides in the class. You also get a spacious interior and up to 967kg of payload capacity – more than many rivals can manage.

August sales 737

Pros

  • Great connected features
  • High weight carrying abilities
  • Excellent seating and interior

Cons

  • Steering controls require familiarisation
  • Sync 3 system prone to errors
5

Volkswagen Transporter

The Volkswagen Transporter is a favourite among private buyers and small businesses because of its high resale values – and the resultant low leasing prices – combined with modest running costs. Beyond that, it offers composed handling and brisk enough performance, even if you’re hauling the maximum payload. There’s even a sporty version (inspired by the Volkswagen Golf GTI hot hatch) that has more aggressive styling, a 201bhp 2.0-litre diesel engine and lowered suspension.

August sales 739

Pros

  • Huge choice of variants
  • Modern safety aids and infotainment tech
  • Punchy and frugal 2.0 TDI 150 diesel

Cons

  • Basic entry-level model
  • Firm ride compared with some rivals
  • Top-end versions start to become very pricey
4

Mercedes Sprinter

Fitting its name, one of the key attractions of the Mercedes Sprinter is its range of punchy engines; there’s a version to suit almost everyone. It also has a good variety of trims, and high-end versions are fitted with a premium-feeling 10.3in infotainment touchscreen. The electric version – the Mercedes eSprinter – offers a range of up to 96 miles.

August sales 981

Pros

  • Huge range of body styles
  • High-tech but user friendly infotainment
  • Improved fuel economy with front-wheel drive vans

Cons

  • Not the cheapest van to buy or run
  • Aggressive safety systems
3

Vauxhall Vivaro

The Vauxhall Vivaro shared the title of Best Medium Van for Practicality at the 2022 What Car? Van and Commercial Vehicle Awards, thanks to its balance of a 6.1m3 loading volume and a maximum payload of 1446kg. It also gives you motion-sensing doors, which are helpful when your hands are full.

August sales 1102

Pros

  • Wide choice of engines
  • Comfortable ride
  • Huge payload capabilities

Cons

  • Cramped interior
  • Changes to loadspace dimensions
2

Ford Transit

The Ford Transit became an icon of British roads because of its car-like handling and high load capacity, and the current model retains those qualities. It’s manoeuvrable in tight spaces, and even the entry-level 103bhp engine has enough power unless you’re planning to use the full 2200kg load capacity. Best of all, it’s highly customisable, with seven body weights, optional four-wheel drive and even a new Ford E-Transit electric version.

August sales 1742

Pros

  • Economical with lower CO2 emissions than before
  • New connectivity features
  • Higher payloads

Cons

  • No covered storage
  • Base trim quite sparse
1

Ford Transit Custom

The Ford Transit Custom has been the UK's best selling van for a number of years. Ford offers a version to suit almost every driver, including a plug-in hybrid model. With a maximum payload of 1459kg, the Transit Custom trounces many other vans in its class in this respect, so it's a safe option for fleets that need vans suitable for many different types of work.

August sales 1903

Pros

  • Improved fuel economy
  • Class-leading productivity
  • Great ride and handling

Cons

  • Needs a better automatic gearbox
  • Loadspace protection could be of a better quality