The best small vans 2023

Small vans are gaining popularity among delivery drivers and owner-operators alike, but which ones should you buy and which are best avoided?...

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 compact in length to fit into tight spaces, but feature plenty of rear storage and a hefty payload allowance. The interior also need to be comfortable for when you’re stuck in traffic, while it also helps if they have the option of an automatic gearbox.

Furthermore, a good small van will have a reasonably powerful engine with plenty of low down torque to make pulling away from a standstill easier. As with all commercial vehicles, running costs need to be sensible along with the overall visibility.

Here, we’re taking a look at the best small vans on the market, as well as the one that should be avoided. In each case, click on the links to our reviews to learn more about each model.

9. Mercedes Citan

Mercedes Citan van nose

Star rating 3

The Mercedes Citan is ideally suited to city driving, with quick, well-weighted steering and a 1.5-litre diesel engine that offers plenty of pace yet also keeps running costs sensible. The interior is a little basic and is starting to show its age, but there's a new version arriving soon which should address that.

Ford Transit Connect front action

Star rating 4

The Ford Transit Connect is 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.

Read our full Ford Transit Connect review >>

=4. Citroën Berlingo

LT Citroen Berlingo Van front

Star rating 4

The Citroën Berlingo is one of four badge-engineered vans that largely share the same qualities. 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 impresses by coming fully stocked with safety and assistance kit, and the option of a slick automatic gearbox.

Read our full Citroen Berlingo review >>

=4. Toyota Proace City

Toyota Proace City van action nose on

Star rating 4

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 and can haul around an impressive amount of cargo. However, the Proace City comes with a lot of equipment as standard, and as a result it's more expensive than some rivals.

Read our full Toyota Proace City review >>

=4. Vauxhall Combo Cargo

Vauxhall Combo Cargo front

Star rating 4

The Vauxhall Combo Cargo is good to drive, with an economical engine and plenty of performance, and comes loaded with safety and convenience kit. As the third sister car to the Citroën Berlingo and Toyota Proace City (listed above), it also offers decent load space and a smart interior. If you regularly need to venture off road, the Vauxhall Combo Cargo 4x4 model is also available – a rarity in the small van market.

Read our full Vauxhall Combo Cargo review >>

=4. Peugeot Partner

Peugeot Partner front

Star rating 4

The Peugeot Partner is very similar to the Citroën Berlingo van, Toyota Proace City and Vauxhall Combo. 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. In a segment where the driver is often the sole occupier, and therefore the centre of attention, the i-Cockpit elevates the Partner above its siblings.

Read our full Peugeot Partner review >>

3. Volkswagen Caddy

Volkswagen Caddy front action

Star rating 5

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. It feels well built, is slightly more practical than the older model and an awful lot more refined with it. 

Read our full Volkswagen Caddy review >>

2. Renault Kangoo

Renault Kangoo front

Star rating 3

The Kangoo name is synonymous with good value among small van drivers, and the latest version – which is our reigning champion in the small van market – 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. 

Ford Transit Courier driving

Star rating 5

The Ford Transit Connect has the honour of being one of the smallest vans you can buy. It 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.

Read our full Ford Transit Courier review >>

And the one to avoid...

Fiat Doblo Cargo

Fiat Doblo Cargo front

Star rating 2

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 >>

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