Which Van is Right for You?

06/03/2020

Choosing a commercial vehicle can often feel like a mixture of great design, handy features and “would I really use that?” You know … some things seem like they were made specifically for you, or your trade, whereas others just leave you wondering who on earth has a need for that?

Worse than that though, a number of commercial vehicle manufacturers offer you something big enough to carry small parcels, or something with enough loading space to transport an entire flatpack house, with nothing in-between.

Thankfully, we have the solution to your van related problems, even those problems that you haven’t yet thought about.

VWCV – Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles

Volkswagen have a range of 18 different commercials, although some of them aren’t really trades related; the Grand California, Shuttle and Caravelle being prime examples. Essentially, if you’re looking for a commercial vehicle, there’s a choice of eleven, using four different platforms.

Volkswagen Caddy

Under the ‘Caddy’ range, there’s the standard Caddy Panel van, and the Caddy Kombi. The difference being that the Kombi can accommodate your crew (up to five occupants) at the same time as your gear.

The specifications for the Caddy are impressive. Able to take a payload of up to 738Kg, with a max. load volume of 4.2m3, and a 2,249 x 1,556mm maximum length & width, gives the Caddy an impressive all-round ability.

Of course, as with any vehicle, specifications range throughout the models, but to give you an understanding of just what sort of equipment the Caddy comes with, we’ve listed some of the highlights: Front Assist with City Emergency Braking, Automatic Post-Collision Braking, Adaptive Cruise Control, Park Assist, reversing camera, climate control, intelligent mobile online services and user-friendly connectivity.

But putting the tech to one side, there’s an impressive list of options and accessories available, which all help to make the Caddy versatile and functional. Neat design touches too – eight lashing rings for tying your load down, a full height, solid bulkhead and hardboard side protection (as standard).

Transporter 6.1 (T6.1)

Panel van, Kombi, and Dropside.

The legend that is the Transporter. It’s the best-selling van of all time, with over 12,000,000 (yes, that’s 12 million) vans sold over the 70 year production. That’s more than one of the best-selling cars of all time, the Golf. (Volkswagen do have a habit of producing some mighty legends).

But look closer and you’ll see why the Transporter is an award-winning (Best Medium Van at the What Van? awards 2020) commercial vehicle. It isn’t just about the specifications (payload capacity of 713 – 1309Kg, load volume of 5.8 – 9.3m, load length of between 2,572 – 2,975mm and a width of 1,700mm), but the well-thought out design touches also.

Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles have thought long and hard about just what works, and what adds value, simple things such as the built-in 230v power socket, windowless bulkhead with 8 lashing rings, and the availability of standard, medium or high roof.

And just because it has been around for over 70 years, it doesn’t mean that it’s getting a bit long in the tooth either. VW refresh the Transporter regularly, and the latest versions are packed with the kind of technology that puts some cars to shame.

Exact specifications and features change dependent on the trim level (Startline or Highline) and what boxes you tick on ordering, but as an example you can have Crosswind Assist, lane-keeping assist, automatic parking, voice control, forward collision warning with auto emergency braking, touchscreen infotainment, and a 10” digital cockpit screen.

Crafter

Panel van, dropside, tipper, single & double cab chassis.

The Crafter is the back-to-back winner of the Parkers’ Best Van of the Year award, and with good reason. VWCV have really thought about what’s a useful feature, and how to improve the Crafter so that the functionality is prioritised above all else, and given the specifications, trim and equipment, that’s a statement!

It has a maximum payload capacity of 2,573Kg, max. load volume of 18.4m3, and the length x width measurements (for the largest Crafter) are 4,855 x 1,832mm. There’s also the height … 2,196mm load height, and thankfully, Volkswagen have given it a wide sliding door to make loading easier – 1,311mm.

Great design touches such as the interior roof rack, built-in lashing rails on all walls, and up to 14 lashing rings in the floor maximises function over form, but perhaps one of the greatest things about the Crafter is the technology, and it’s packed:

Forward collision warning with automatic emergency braking, Crosswind Assist, Trailer Assist, Park Assist, Lane Keep Assist, rear traffic alert, and the most impressive, Side Protection – Volkswagen’s intelligent system to alert you if you’re getting too close to other vehicles, pillars, walls and pedestrians, something that every van of this size should have the option for.

Amarok

OK, the Amarok is a pick-up, not a panel van, but it’s still a commercial vehicle (despite having better road manners than many cars), and What Car? have voted it as the Pick-up of the Year 2020 (which meant it retained the title from the previous win).

It will take a payload of up to 1,147Kg, has a towing capacity of 3.1 tonnes (thanks to the mighty 3.0 litre V6 diesel powerplant), and a load width of 1,222mm, which means you can load Euro pallets across the cargo area. (It has the widest platform in its class).

VWCV have also given thought to the driveline and transmission, offering the Amarok with both an 8-speed automatic gearbox, or a 6-speed manual, and of course there’s the 4MOTION all-wheel drive system. It’s worth noting that with the 8-speed auto, you can achieve real-world economy of up to 34.9mpg.

As you’d expect from Volkswagen, there’s technology in abundance, including Trailer Stabilisation, Electronic Stabilisation Program, automatic Post-Collision braking, ParkPilot and rear-view reversing camera.

Which VWCV for You?

Whatever your trade, or need, Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles has something to suit, and you’ll never be made to feel like you’ve compromised form over function, or even vice versa. The difference between a Volkswagen commercial, and the competition, is that VW have given thought to all aspects of the vehicle.

With such as vast range, it pays to talk to someone that can give you advice and unbiased opinion. Yes, of course, Volkswagen’s online configuration tool can give you an idea of what to expect, but with so many choices and options, you’re going to have questions, that’s why we’re here. Get in touch with one of our friendly team, and they’ll be able to tell you everything you need, and want, to know.

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