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A Guide to Different Types of New Vans

tipper van
April 8th, 2022

Are you on the hunt for your next new van? When browsing van deals in the UK, you may be overwhelmed by the many different types. Whether you’re shopping for your business or for personal use, choosing the right van is an important task. You don’t want to be left with too little space or not have the payload you need for the job. Not only do you need to make sure your van is the right size, but you also need to ensure it’s perfect for carrying the types of loads you will be transporting, as well as being able to take it to the locations you intend to.

To help make this decision much easier, we’ve put together this guide explaining all the different types of vans to help you make an informed choice about the right type of van for you. Whether making a business investment or a new purchase for your family, here’s everything you need to know about the different types of vans.

​​What vans are available?

From Luton vans to a single cab tipper, each one has a different purpose and will appeal to a variety of different needs and requirements.

Here are some of the most popular types of vans.

Combi vans

Combi vans, or crew vans, are vans that can carry cargo and passengers. So if you’re looking for a van that is able to ferry your family around but also has space for important cargo, a combi van might be the answer. Combi vans can carry five or more passengers and are the best of both worlds when it comes to conventional panel vans and minibuses – often featuring a second row of seats in the back. They’re a great option if you need a work van that can double up as a family vehicle at the weekends. They offer increased security and cargo volume while being a practical transport van.

The Citroen Berlingo Crew, the Ford Transit Custom or the Renault Kangoo Crew are great choices as combi vans, offering carrying capacity like no other. However, they are often more basic in their equipment because they are designed to carry workers rather than families.

Benefits of combi vans:

  • Offers more flexibility
  • Perfect for day-to-day use
  • Wide range of options for customisation
  • Offers car-like handling, performance and low-cost ownership

Single cab tipper vans

Tipper vans, also known as dump trucks, are commonly purchased by businesses in the construction, horticultural or agricultural sectors. They are light commercial vans with a single row of seats and a flatbed at the rear. This flatbed is open with low sides and a hinged tailgate. If you need to carry loads to then be discharged at the destination, a tipper van is a great option. The ram mechanism raises the front of the bed at an angle to get rid of the load out the back of the vehicle.

Three-way tippers are also an option, which allows tipping to either side as well as the rear. Tippers are most often used for materials that aren’t going to be damaged when tipped or are no longer needed. Typical loads include loose building materials, tarmac, rubble, sand, gravel, aggregates, cement, soil or green waste. The Ford Transit Tipper is a popular choice and Mercedes, Volkswagen and Renault all offer great tipper van options.

Double tipper vans include an extra row of seats behind the driver’s row, meaning these vans are capable of carrying more passengers as well as equipment and cargo.

The benefits of tipper vans include:

  • Perfect for loading and unloading large quantities of loose materials
  • Easily manage load weight
  • Agile manoeuvrability
  • Variety of options

Low loader and Luton vans

A common choice for delivery or removal companies, Luton vans, or box vans are loading vans with extra storage space above the cab area. Many newer models of Luton vans now come with a rounded upper storage area making the van much more aerodynamic and cutting down on wind resistance – improving the van’s fuel efficiency. Luton vans typically have a thin shell made from reinforced plastic or fibreglass which is very strong and extremely lightweight – making Luton vans much lighter than panel vans of the same size.

You’ll find most van manufacturers have their own model of a Luton van with popular models coming from Ford, Mercedes, Citroen and Volkswagen. Most of these vans come with a reasonable spec and are particularly reliable with good engines that will last some time.

The benefits of Luton vans include:

  • Large load capacity for furniture or other large items
  • Range of options
  • Often come with tail lifts to load heavy items

Pickup vans

Pickups are a popular choice for being versatile vans that can do it all. These vans are capable of almost anything from family transport to long-distance driving and even exploring the outdoors. They’re durable vehicles that come in a variety of types and sizes. Whether you want to opt for a more luxurious option or something more practical, there’s a pickup for everyone.

Extremely popular in America, the UK is quickly following suit with many professionals and individuals alike opting for a strong pickup. The Ford Ranger, Toyota Hilux and the Isuzu D-Max are some of the very best on the market, perfectly balancing the line between luxury and practicality. With huge tow capacities and impressive warranties, it’s no wonder many people choose a pickup as their van of choice.

The benefits of a pickup include:

  • Four-wheel drive makes these vans perfect for off-roading
  • Work well in a variety of industries
  • Open load space at the rear
  • Plenty of space for passengers

Camper vans

If you’re searching for the best van for a camper conversion, there are many on the market. Van camper conversions have become very popular in the past few years due to being able to create a camper that suits your specifications exactly while still having a vehicle that is durable and reliable. The Volkswagen Transporter, Ford Transit, Mercedes Sprinter and Vauxhall Vivaro are some of the most popular choices among van lifers, and for good reason. The maximised space as well as their toughness, sturdiness and durability makes for a great camper all year round.

The benefits of a camper conversion include:

  • Modernised vans make for easy driving
  • Increased comfort
  • More affordable than camper vans

What about cargo?

For many people and business owners, the reasoning behind owning a van is for its cargo-carrying abilities. Therefore, it makes a van’s cargo capacity the most important consideration. When choosing a van, make sure you pay attention to a van’s payload and capacity, as this will determine how well it is able to do the job you want it to do.

You may also want to consider things like headroom and the number of passengers you intend to carry. This will make a difference in how much a van is suited to your needs and requirements. Vans often come with three different height options, either H1, H2 or H3. H1 is designated for standard roof heights, while H2 is higher than standard and H3 is much higher. If you come across these codes to determine headrooms, make sure you also check the actual measurements of the van and base your decision on this.

The number of passengers you intend to carry may determine whether you choose a double cab or a regular panel van. DOuble cab vans include a second row of seats which will allow you to carry more passengers than a single cab van. In this case, if you want to carry five passengers, you may choose to opt for the Citroen Berlingo Crew or Ford Transit Courier Crew, both great options for many businesses.

If you need to carry six passengers, a medium van like the Citroen Dispatch Crew or Ford Transit Crew are great choices. You’ll need to establish how much equipment you also need to carry and focus on longer wheelbases if it is a large amount.

Van Sales UK – Quality Vans for All Purposes

Looking for cheap new vans or great van deals in the UK? Van Sales UK has a variety of quality and reliable vans for a range of purposes. Whether you’re thinking of converting a camper or need a new business van, we’re sure you’ll find a van with us. From a Ford Transit Tipper to a Citroen Berlingo, we have plenty of great vans. To learn more about the types of vans we offer, don’t hesitate to get in touch with our team. We’ll be more than happy to answer any questions you may have and help you drive away with your dream van.

With van finance options, contract hire or purchase hire, as well as new and used vans, you can get your hands on a great van for an even greater price. Get in touch today.


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