Best small vans 2024 – tried and tested

Small vans are gaining popularity among delivery drivers and owner-operators alike, but which ones should you buy? Here, we name the best options, and reveal the one to avoid...

Best small vans 2022

Towns and cities are increasingly busy places, so having the right van to get you in and get the job done is ever-more important.

Small vans – or city vans as they’re often called – need to be short enough to fit into tight parking spaces and narrow enough to slot through width restrictions. But they also need to provide a good payload limits, plenty of cargo space and wide-opening doors allowing you to move anything you might need. Economical yet powerful engines are essential, as is good overall visibility and a comfortable interior.

So, lots to go on, then. The good news is that our team of expert van reviewer have loaded up every small van on the market, driven it around town and on the open road and crunched the numbers to determine the very best small vans on the market. And following that comprehensive testing, we have determined the Renault Kangoo to be the very best you can buy right now.

But we recognise that the Kangoo might not tick all boxes for all drivers, so we've also provided our rundown of what we consider to be the other models that ought to be on your shortlist. But if you're looking for something with even lower running costs, check out our rundown of the best electric vans.

1. Renault Kangoo

Renault Kangoo front

What Car? rating 5 stars

The Renault Kangoo name is synonymous with good value among small van drivers, and the latest version – which won the Best Small Van category in our most recent Van and Commercial Vehicle Awards – stays true to that theme, with pricing that remains competitive against rivals, and the promise of plenty of kit on most versions. We like the Kangoo's spacious interior and large load area, plus the fact that it's quieter on the road than previous models. Indeed, it's more versatile inside than the Ford Transit Connect and Volkswagen Caddy thanks to innovative features like the Easy Inside Rack, which allows you to store longer items, such as ladders, along the roof of the van. We put our verdict to the test by living with one for six months, and it didn’t disappoint.

For Spacious interior | Larger rear loadspace | Quiet road manners

Against No pull-out glovebox | No side-opening door | Less storage than on European versions

Read our full Renault Kangoo review

2. Ford Transit Courier

Ford Transit Courier driving

What Car? rating 5 stars

The Ford Transit Courier shares is underpinnings with the Ford Fiesta, which makes it a first-rate van to drive, but more importantly, its loadspace is three times the size of most car-derived rivals. Excellent build quality and particularly low fuel consumption make this small van a great choice for anyone requiring only a small payload – in fact, it's our reigning Best Compact Van champion. But you'll need to be quick if this model appeals, because it's about to be replaced. The 2024 Transit Courier is available now with a choice of petrol and diesel engines – and will be joined by the all-electric Ford e-Transit Courier later in the year. 

For Excellent handling | Comfortable | Well equipped above base models

Against Very compact size means limited practicality | Low payload for a van

Read our full Ford Transit Courier review

3. Volkswagen Caddy Cargo

Volkswagen Caddy front action

What Car? rating 5 stars

Based on the latest Volkswagen Golf family car, the Volkswagen Caddy has a wealth of safety and driver assistance features that make it enjoyable, safe and relaxing to drive. Inside the Caddy feels well built, and even though its 10.0in infotainment screen features some confusing menus, it does at least include Apple CarPlay smartphone mirroring to keep you in touch with your co-workers. In terms of practicality, you can get more inside it thank you can in the Ford Transit Connect, but long-wheelbase versions of the Toyota Proace City – as well as its badge-engineered siblings from Citroën, Peugeot and Vauxhall – can hold more still. Our favourite 2.0-litre diesel engine endows the Caddy Cargo with plenty of low-down grunt, and should also help to keep your running costs in check.

For Clean and quiet engines | Car-like ride and handling | Impressive resale values

Against Fiddly sliding controls on top-trim models | Poor payload compared with some rivals | Noticeable road noise

Read our full Volkswagen Golf Caddy review

=4. Citroën Berlingo

LT Citroen Berlingo Van front

What Car? rating 4 stars

The Citroën Berlingo is one of four badge-engineered vans that largely share the same qualities, and thus all four get an equal fourth place in our rankings. Like its siblings – the Peugeot Partner, Toyota Proace City and Vauxhall Combo Cargo – the Berlingo is decent to drive and can carry an impressive amount of cargo. It also comes fully stocked with safety and assistance kit, and gets the option of a slick automatic gearbox. The range-topping 1.5-litre diesel engine (called Blue HDi 130) is our top choice, because it has enough power to make easy work of long motorway journeys yet should still be efficient.

For Great safety features | Relatively good to drive

Against Limited interior storage | Five-speed manual gearbox on lower-powered versions | Limited equipment on some models

Read our full Citroën Berlingo review

=4. Peugeot Partner

Peugeot Partner front

What Car? rating 4 stars

The Peugeot Partner is very similar to the Citroën Berlingo van, Toyota Proace City and Vauxhall Combo Cargo – that means it drives in the same manner as those vans, and that we recommend the same 1.5-litre diesel engine for most buyers. It's worthy of standing in isolation though, not just because it looks different, but also because Peugeot has morphed its celebrated i-Cockpit design to fit into the small van. This unusual arrangement has you looking over a small steering wheel at the instruments, rather than through it, and in a segment where the driver is often the sole occupier, and therefore the centre of attention, we think it's worth looking at if you want something a little left-field. Like the rest of Peugeot's van range, the Partner also uses artificial intelligence technology to assist with plotting sat-nav destinations.

For Economical engines | Relatively good to drive | Comfortable interior

Against Limited interior storage space | Five-speed manual gearbox on lower-powered vans

Read our full Peugeot Partner review

=4. Toyota Proace City

Toyota Proace City van action nose on

What Car? rating 4 stars

Like its badge-engineered siblings, the Toyota Proace City gets its own styling to help it stand out from the small van crowd, but ultimately impresses in all the same ways as the other three vans. That is to say, it's good to drive, has an interior which feels like it will stand the test of time, and can haul around an impressive amount of cargo. However, the Proace City comes with more equipment as standard, and as a result it's more expensive than some rivals. Icon models are our pick of the Proace City range; these come with an upgraded infotainment screen, and a higher-powered version of our recommended 1.5-litre diesel engine, which puts out 98bhp.

For Generous equipment | Enhanced warranty | Smart and comfortable interior

Against Few optional extras | Limited choice of engines | Just two trim levels to choose from

Read our full Toyota Proace City review

=4. Vauxhall Combo Cargo

Vauxhall Combo Cargo front

What Car? rating 4 stars

The final entry in this badge-engineer foursome is the Vauxhall Combo Cargo. You won't be surprised to hear that, just like the Citroën Berlingo, Peugeot Partner and Toyota Proace City, it's good to drive, with an economical yet punchy 1.5-litre diesel engine that doesn't require AdBlue. The Combo comes loaded with safety and convenience kit, too. It also offers decent load space and a smart interior. The Vauxhall Combo Electric makes a similarly great electric van buy, as do its EV counterparts from Citroën, Peugeot and Toyota.

For Onboard weighing | Great safety kit | Smart interior

Against Confusing engine range | Rough-feeling gearbox

Read our full Vauxhall Combo Cargo review

8. Ford Transit Connect

Ford Transit Connect front action

What Car? rating 4 stars

If you're looking for a small van with a Ford badge on its bonnet, yet the Ford Transit Courier is just a bit too small for your needs, then the Transit Connect is the next logical step up. It's a well-rounded van, but shines by being one of the best options in this class to drive. There's more to the Transit Connect than just a punchy engine and entertaining handling, though – it's also well thought out inside, and can haul around an impressive amount of cargo for a small van. Its infotainment software isn't the best, though, and controls on the steering wheel require getting used to.

For Connectivity features | High weight carrying abilities | Excellent seating

Against Fiddly steering wheel controls | Sync3 infotainment system is prone to errors

Read our full Ford Transit Connect review

9. Mercedes Citan

Mercedes Citan 2022 front right tracking

What Car? rating 3 stars

Think of the Mercedes Citan and Renault Kangoo as being cousins, because they share many of the same components under the skin. That's a good thing for the Citan, which despite only having one engine option at launch feels sprightly on city streets and is pleasantly quiet. The interior is a step above the Renault’s, too, with plenty of soft-touch materials and Mercedes' dazzling MBUX infotainment system, which is loaded with features and looks swish. It's a shame that the Citan misses out on some of the Kangoo's more practical features, though, which combined with a high price stops it from climbing any further up our rankings.

For MBUX infotainment system | Good interior storage | Unlimited-mileage warranty

Against Lack of engine options | Poor payload limit | Premium price

Read our full Mercedes Citan review

10. Citroën Ami Cargo

Citroen Ami Cargo 2022 front right tracking

What Car? rating 3 stars

Although the Citroën Ami Cargo isn’t technically a van (rather a quadricycle), its low price and tiny dimensions earn it a place on this list because it serves a particular niche in a way that few rivals can hope to compete with. The payload limit of 140kg and the 260-litre cargo volume are rather impressive considering its size, and the Ami Cargo – much like the regular Citroën Ami two-seater – is nimble and nippy, proving a hoot to drive around town. Unfortunately, the Ami Cargo’s 46-mile range and 28mph top speed mean it’s not much good if you want to venture beyond congested urban streets.

For Fun to drive | Cheap to buy and run | Surprisingly practical

Against Limited battery range | Top speed is just 28mph | Feels unsafe on faster roads

Read our full Citroën Ami Cargo review

And the small van to avoid...

Fiat Doblo Cargo

Fiat Doblo Cargo front

What Car? rating 2 stars

The Doblo Cargo has a spacious cargo bay and a strong range of diesel engines on its side, but a cramped driver's area, a terrible infotainment system and the absence of a load-through bulkhead all make it hard to recommend.

Read our full Fiat Doblo Cargo review

Small van FAQs

What small van has the biggest payload?

Certain versions of the Citroen Berlingo and Toyota Proace City have 1010kg payload limits, which is about a bag of cement more than the closely-related Peugeot Partner, Vauxhall Combo and Fiat Doblo.

Which small cargo van is the most reliable?

The Toyota Proace City comes with a three-year warranty, which can be extended by one year and 10,000 miles following every annual service – up to a maximum of ten years or 100,000 miles.

What small van can you sleep in?

The Ford Transit Courier has a load bed of 1800mm, which means a five-foot, nine-inch adult should just be able to lay flat in the back.

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How we choose the best small vans

Our expert team of van reviewers put every small van in the UK through its paces. That plethora of tests, backed up by decades of reviewing expertise, means that when we name the best small vans, it’s a verdict you can rely on.

Key to the quality of our van reviews is that we understand the elements that are vital to small van buyers, so we pay particular attention to the following areas:


Decent payload and carrying capacities are essential, so we see how much we can get into the back of each model – including a standard Euro pallet. We check access to the load area and the lashing or mounting points to secure your cargo. We also look at in-cab storage for drinks and work equipment, awarding extra points for features such as hidden storage trays or a folding front passenger seat.


Long hours behind the wheel require a comfortable and supportive driver’s seat. This must be easily adjustable – along with the steering wheel – to suit drivers of all shapes and sizes. We also measure road and wind noise, as well as engine noise on combustion-engined models, because this is key to long-distance comfort.


Our performance tests aren’t simply about 0-62mph times; they also indicate how well a van delivers its power – providing the muscle to haul you and your cargo along, without costing you a fortune in fuel. Electric vans must provide enough range to let you complete a full day’s work before needing to recharge. We also check each van’s turning circle to ensure that it can fit down tight city streets and narrow roads, and assess ride comfort to check that it can cope with pock-marked UK Tarmac.

While these areas undergo particular scrutiny, we test small vans in every area to ensure our reviews and the most extensive around. You can learn more about those in our dedicated how we test vans feature.

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