Best medium vans 2024 – tried and tested
Medium vans need to be able to carry substantial loads, plus the best are comfortable to travel in and cheap to run. Here we name our favourites, plus the model to avoid...
Medium-sized vans are like the Swiss Army knives of the light commercial vehicle (LCV) world. You’ll find them doing all manner of jobs, from moving household goods to food deliveries, and being used equally by builders or couriers.
The best medium vans need to offer all the practicalities of a large van but with some of the more refined features that are expected in the smaller van market. These LCVs strike a balance between comfort and storage, while delivering the goods with high payloads and large load volumes.
Medium vans also double as passenger vehicles, and many have several minibus variants or even luxury people-mover models to their name. This list also includes an all-electric model – the Volkswagen ID Buzz Cargo. If you're interested in going electric, see our guide to the best electric vans.
Below you'll find our picks for the best medium vans, as well as the model we think is best avoided. You can click the links in each case to read our review of the model, or if you just want to find out what the best medium-sized van is, look no further: the Ford Transit Custom is Britain's best medium van.
Your medium van questions answered
What is a medium-sized van?
As the name suggests, medium-sized vans are usually larger than small vans, which means they can carry heavier or longer loads, but can't quite match the size or carrying capacity of large vans. The most popular medium vans include the Ford Transit Custom, the Vauxhall Vivaro and the Renault Trafic.
What's the most comfortable van?
Comfort can be measured in different ways, but we think the Vivaro ticks most of the right boxes for most people. You see, unlike some of its rivals, the Vivaro has a comfortable ride whether you're driving it empty or fully laden. Alternatively, if comfort to you means having the most supportive driver's seat which won't make you tired on longer journeys, then we'd point you in the direction of the Volkswagen Transporter.
Which medium van has the best payload?
With a carrying capacity of nearly 1.5 tonnes, the Transit Custom has the largest payload of any medium-sized van. In fact, it challenges some large vans in that respect too. Maximum load lengths for the Transit Custom range from 2254mm for the short-wheelbase version to 2921mm on long-wheelbase models.
Is a Vauxhall Vivaro bigger than a Ford Transit?
Exact dimensions depend on which version of either van you go for, but generally speaking, for short-wheelbase versions of both vans, the Ford Transit Custom is longer than the Vauxhall Vivaro, but the Vivaro is slightly wider than its Ford rival. In terms of height, the Transit is a little taller than the Vivaro.
1. Ford Transit Custom
Star rating 5
The Transit Custom is one of Britain’s best-selling vans – and we think it's also the best medium-sized van you can buy. It drives brilliantly, is comfortable on the road and is available in a mind-boggling number of permutations. It’s the van with the biggest payload capacity here – up to nearly 1.5 tonnes – making it the most versatile medium-sized van you can get in the UK. And since getting an upgrade to Euro-6d engines, it's more fuel-efficient than ever. The range includes a plug-in hybrid (PHEV) and an electric version, the Ford E-Transit Custom (which we'll rate when we've driven it).
For Best payload capacity in its class | Great ride and handling balance | Available as an electric van
Against Needs a better automatic gearbox | Loadspace protection could be better | PHEV is expensive
=2. Citroën Dispatch
Star rating 5
The Dispatch is a badge-engineered van that shares lots of parts with three other models – the Peugeot Expert, the Toyota Proace and the Vauxhall Vivaro – but it stands out from the others because of the sheer amount of equipment you get for your money. Even entry-level models come with everything you're likely to need, and upgrading to a mid-range version won't cost the Earth. Add in a car-like ride and handling balance, and enough space to move pretty much anything, and the Dispatch is easy to recommend.
For Car-like ride and handling | Capable engines | Optional parking camera and head-up display
Against Small wing mirrors | Not the best forward visibility
=2. Peugeot Expert
Star rating 5
Thanks to the sheer variety of engine, body and equipment variations on offer for the Expert, this medium van offers something for everyone. We like its classy interior, which features high-quality materials and a comfortable yet adaptable driver's seat. As with the Dispatch and its other badge-engineered siblings, the Expert is also incredibly practical, and no matter what you've moving, the chances are that it can help.
For Comfort and handling | Wide choice of engines and sizes | Classy interior
Against Poor visibility | Needs bigger door mirrors | Adding safety features can be expensive
=2. Toyota Proace
Star rating 5
You might not think of Toyota as being a big name in vans, but perhaps you should. You see, the Proace is a very comfortable medium van, with suspension that does a good job of soaking up the ruts and bumps of British roads, and an interior that's as much about keeping you comfortable as it is about making sure you always have somewhere to put your odds and ends. There are only two engine options, which is less than for most rivals, but the generous payload capacity makes up for that.
For Comfortable interior | Fun to drive | Huge payload capacity
Against Not a great choice of engines | Compromised visibility | Safety options come at a price
=2. Vauxhall Vivaro
Star rating 5
Alongside its badge-engineered siblings, we think the Vivaro is one of the most practical medium-sized vans on the market. It can carry items that are more than 3.6 metres long thanks to the inclusion of a load-through bulkhead, and can carry up to 1446kg in its load area. We also like the Vivaro's wide choice of engines and its comfortable ride, which makes long motorway journeys less of a chore.
For Wide choice of engines | Comfortable ride | Great payload capability
Against Cramped interior | Loadspace dimensions
6. Volkswagen Transporter 6.1
The Transporter is a highly desirable and attractive mid-sized van, with a 2.0-litre diesel engine that develops up to 196bhp and can be paired with an exceptionally good seven-speed automatic gearbox. There are lots of sophisticated safety features, including lane-keeping assistance and automatic emergency braking (AEB). It can't quite match some rivals for overall carrying capacity, but can move up to 1.2 tonnes. Transporters hold their value better than most other vans too.
For Huge choice of variants | Modern safety and infotainment tech | Punchy diesel engine
Against Entry-level model is very basic | Firm ride | Top-end models are expensive
7. Renault Trafic
Star rating 4
The Trafic is closely related to the Fiat Talento but we think the Renault is the more well-rounded van of the two. It's available with a choice of engines to suit different needs, and the higher-output options are our recommended choices if you'll regularly be moving heavy cargo. There's also a good suite of safety and driver assistance kit. It's quiet on the move, which helps to take some of the stress out of long journeys. Unfortunately you have to put up with a slow-witted infotainment touchscreen.
For Good range of engines | Plenty of safety kit | Quiet interior
Against Rivals can carry more | Poor infotainment | Entry-level engine lacks power
8. Fiat Talento
Star rating 4
The Talento aims to be the value option among medium vans, and it is very competitively priced, with a lot of standard equipment across the range. There's also the back-up of the Fiat Professional dealer network. We like the Talento's innovative interior, which is well put together and works well as a mobile office environment if you need it to. The lack of an automatic gearbox option and the excessive wind noise stop it getting any higher up our rankings.
For Top-end versions represent good value | Large dealer network | Innovative interior
Against Needs more interior storage | Lots of wind noise | No automatic gearbox option
9. Volkswagen ID Buzz Cargo
Star rating 3
The ID Buzz Cargo is the van version of the VW ID Buzz electric car, and while the Buzz is a five-star model and 2023 Car of the Year winner, this electric van version isn't as highly rated by our road testers. Don't get us wrong: from the driver's point of view, it performs well and is pleasant to drive, but in terms of working van practicality, it's not all that competitive – especially when you consider the high price compared with any conventionally powered medium van. For example, it's closer in size to the VW Caddy Cargo small van than the Transporter, and the maximum payload is quite low.
For Advanced safety kit | Good to drive | Can charge up quickly
Against Dull interior | Low maximum payload | Expensive
And the one to avoid...
Star rating 2
The Vito offers sharp handling and its interior is well built, but a high price and a firm ride, plus the lack of any high-roof option, means it's hard to recommend.
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The best medium vans in 2023
Medium vans need to be able to carry substantial loads, plus the best are comfortable to travel in and cheap to run. Here we name our favourites, plus the model to avoid
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