17 February 2017 by CJ Hubbard, Vans Editor Last Updated: 10 Aug 2017

  • Citroen Relay best mpg
  • Fiat Ducato best mpg
  • Ford Transit best mpg
  • Iveco Daily best mpg
  • Mercedes-Benz Sprinter best mpg
  • Nissan NV400 best mpg
  • Peugeot Boxer best mpg
  • Renault Master best mpg
  • Vauxhall Movano best mpg
  • VW Crafter best mpg
  • Best large 3.5t vans for mpg listed and rated
  • Completely updated with Euro 6 engines
  • Which large van gives the best fuel economy?

Our fully updated list of the most economical large vans on sale in 2017 – those that return the best mpg. For the most fuel efficient small and medium vans click here.

Large vans up to 3.5 tonnes (3.5t) make up the bulk of the UK van market – both figuratively and literally. They’re the biggest vans you can drive on an ordinary car driving licence.

But they are also the most expensive to run, so it’s important to understand the kind of fuel economy (mpg) you can expect before you make a buying decision. To help you make the best choice for your purchasing priorities, we also have a ranked list of large van payload ratings you can check out by clicking here.

The best 3.5t large vans for payload on Parkers Vans

The mpg given for each of these large vans is the official figure for the most efficient 3.5t version, as provided by the manufacturer and calculated using the official testing procedure.These are not figures you are likely to achieve in real-world driving, but they act as the fairest way of comparison at this point in time.

However, it's important to note the official test can give similar results regardless of the size of the van. In reality bigger vans – especially taller, high-roof variants that are less aerodynamic – will generally use more fuel. Similarly, the heavier the van, the fewer miles-per-gallon.

Finally all models listed are powered by engines that meet the latest Euro 6 emissions standards. Let's find out which large van is best for mpg.

More info on van mpg on Parkers Vans

What Euro 6 means for vans and pickups

10) Volkswagen Crafter – 37.7mpg

VW Crafter best mpg

Every short-body, low-roof version of the outgoing Crafter claims 37.2mpg, but the most efficient 3.5t variant is the long-body, high-roof model with the 163hp BiTDI twin-turbo motor at a claimed 37.7mpg. The extra power of the engine should easily see off the bigger vans increased mass.

There is actually a more efficient Crafter – the CR39 109hp medium-body high-roof. But that’s a 3.9t GVW van you can’t drive on a regular car licence. Plus with that power output it will be slooooow.

Note: an all-new Crafter went on sale in April 2017. However, VW is yet to release to full economy details for the whole range. At present the best it can officially do is 38.2mpg. An improvement, but not much of one...

Read the Parkers Vans review of the VW Crafter (2011-2017)

Find a VW Crafter for sale near you

9) Iveco Daily E6 – 40.3mpg

Iveco Daily best mpg

Given its ladder-frame construction and the inevitably hefty kerbweight that comes with it, efficiency is never going to be the Iveco Daily’s strongest area. Nevertheless all 120hp 3.5t manual variants are officially rated at 40.3mpg, regardless of bodysize.

That figure applies to 35S12 and 35C12 models – which is both the single and twin rear-wheel versions. In the real world the extra tyres of the latter would certainly create more fuel-sucking drag.

Read the Parkers Vans review of the Iveco Daily

Find an Iveco Daily for sale near you

= 6) Mercedes-Benz Sprinter – 40.4mpg

Mercedes-Benz Sprinter best mpg

Sprinters offer a great blend of toughness, capability and user-friendliness – why else would you see so many of them pounding the UK’s motorways every day? It certainly isn’t because of their fuel economy, if you judge by the official figures.

Most efficient is the medium-length 314 CDI BlueTec (that’s a 2.1-litre four-cylinder engine with 140hp), which when fitted with the BlueEfficiency Plus eco package claims 40.4mpg.

Read the Parkers Vans review of the Mercedes-Benz Sprinter

Find a Mercedes-Benz Sprinter for sale near you

= 6) Renault Master – 40.4mpg

Renault Master best mpg

The Renault Master also claims a 40.4mpg max. This applies to several basic front-wheel drive versions fitted with the Energy dCi 145 engine – including the medium-length, medium-roof 3.5t variant.

Powered by a 2.3-litre twin-turbo motor, this is also a comfortable, refined van. But the fuel economy isn’t great compared to the best in this sector.  

Read the Parkers Vans review of the Renault Master

Find a Renault Master for sale near you

= 6) Nissan NV400 – 40.4mpg

Nissan NV400 best mpg

Funnily enough, the Nissan NV400 also returns a claimed 40.4mpg – it is, after all, essentially the same van as the Master. You can probably guess the most efficient version is the same front-wheel drive 145hp 2.3-litre twin-turbo diesel.

This motor comes equipped with stop-start as standard, which helps it achieve the number on the test. How well it will help you in real life depends on how often you’re stationary in traffic.

Read the Parkers Vans review of the Nissan NV400

Find a Nissan NV400 for sale near you

= 4) Ford Transit – 40.9mpg

Ford Transit best mpg

The Ford Transit is the UK’s best-selling large van – its value, comfort and driving refinement clearly outweighing (no pun intended) the not terribly impressive payload capacity. And even with the new 2.0-litre EcoBlue turbodiesel it’s not especially economical.

Most fuel efficient are 2.9t and 3.1t GVW Transits, which achieve 42.2mpg; at 3.5t this drops to a 40.9mpg best when you opt for the 130hp power output.

Read the Parkers Vans review of the Ford Transit

Find a Ford Transit for sale near you

= 4) Vauxhall Movano – 40.9mpg

Vauxhall Movano best mpg

The Movano is closely related to the Master and the NV400, but its most efficient version ekes out an additional 0.5mpg, matching the Transit. As far as Vauxhall is concerned, it’s the shortest, lowest L1H1 Movano that’s most economical.

It’s powered by the same 145hp engine as the Renault and the Nissan.

Read the Parkers Vans review of the Vauxhall Movano

Find a Vauxhall Movano for sale near you

3) Citroen Relay – 45.6mpg

Citroen Relay best mpg

You expect efficiency to also mean modernity, but actually it’s the oldest vans in the sector that have the best claimed fuel economy – thanks to lighter basic construction combined with new Euro 6 emissions-compliant turbodiesel engines.

The Citroen Relay, Fiat Ducato and Peugeot Boxer are closely related, but it’s the Relay that comes in third place in the mpg race, offering 130hp and 160hp versions of its new 2.0-litre BlueHDI engine with a claimed 45.6mpg.

Read the Parkers Vans review of the Citroen Relay

Find a Citroen Relay for sale near you

2) Peugeot Boxer – 47.1mpg

Peugeot Boxer best mpg

The Boxer uses the same 2.0-litre BlueHDI engine as the Relay, but clearly there are some differences under the skin, as it offers a 3.5t 130hp variant that claims 47.1mpg when combined with the L3 bodylength and stop-start system.

Both Citroen and Peugeot have been forced to adopt an AdBlue tank to meet Euro 6 – meaning extra expense to keep it topped up and a slight reduction in maximum payload.

Read the Parkers Vans review of the Peugeot Boxer

Find a Peugeot Boxer for sale near you

1) Fiat Ducato – 47.9mpg

Fiat Ducato best mpg

The Fiat Ducato is the most fuel-efficient large 3.5t van you can buy. It also uses a different 2.0-litre turbodiesel badged MultiJet II to the Boxer and Relay, which is unique in the large van sector for its ability to meet Euro 6 without resorting to AdBlue.

This also partially explains how the Ducato offers the highest payload rating of any 3.5t van, too. That’s quite a combo.

But before you rush straight down to the Fiat Professional dealership, consider that this most economical Ducato only produces 115hp and 290Nm. It’s going to feel pretty strained whenever it’s loaded to its maximum.

Read the Parkers Vans review of the Fiat Ducato

Find a Fiat Ducato for sale near you

Also read:

Best large 3.5t vans for payload

Find out more about van fuel economy

What Euro 6 means for van and pickup buyers

Best small vans for mpg

Best medium vans for mpg