Cheapest small vans for price and cost of parts

  • Price of parts has big impact on van running costs
  • All nine major small vans compared for part prices
  • Cost of labour varies significantly between manufacturers

When we think about running costs, or total cost of ownership (TCO), we tend to think about fuel economy, but an aspect often overlooked is part prices and fitting.

We focused on five frequently replaced van parts and the cost of fitting them at franchised dealerships. Our basket of goods consist of front bumper, nearside front headlight, nearside wing mirror, a replacement key and a windscreen.

One of the biggest variables is labour costs because not all of the nine manufacturers had a set labour rate, although they all had a recommended fitting time. Therefore we asked a number of official UK dealerships for their hourly rate, and we then worked out a national average for each manufacturer.

Part price and fitting varies £207 between the most expensive (£1,221 plus VAT) and the cheapest (£1,014 plus VAT) which, although varying a lot less than the parts prices for large panel vans (over £700 difference between the most and least expensive), it can still have a significant impact on your running costs.

9 - Citroen Berlingo - £1,221 plus VAT (£909 parts, £312 fitting)

Citroen Berlingo

They say the more expensive the vehicle to buy, the more expensive the parts. Certainly not the case with the Citroen Berlingo, which is an affordable small van, but both the cost of the replacement parts and fitting costs is the most expensive here.

Read the full Citroen Berlingo review.

8 - Volkswagen Caddy - £1,160 plus VAT (£796 parts, £364 fitting)

Volkswagen Caddy

One of the main drawbacks of the Volkswagen’s reputable Van Centres is that repairs and maintenance can be expensive. The part prices and hourly labour rates are about industry average, but the time taken is what costs Volkswagen van owners. It takes over an hour, for example, to fit the wing mirror compared with 15 minutes for the Renault Kangoo.

Read the full Volkswagen Caddy review.

7 - Nissan NV200 - £1,151 plus VAT (£816 parts, £335 fitting)

Nissan customers suffer the same problem as Volkswagen owners, with the time to remove and replace old parts taking far longer than the industry average. It would take Nissan technicians over six hours to replace our basket of goods (the windscreen along takes three hours), compared with three and a half hours for the Fiat Doblo Cargo.

Read the full Nissan NV200 review.

6 - Peugeot Partner - £1,074 plus VAT (£703 parts, £370 fitting)

Although costing significantly less than its Citroen-badged sibling, repair and maintenance of the Peugeot Partner still racks up a hefty bill. Part prices are fairly reasonable (a new windscreen costs just £140 – the lowest in the sector), but it's, again, the expensive £370 labour bill that pushes up the overall bill.

Read the full Peugeot Partner review.

5 - Vauxhall Combo - £1,058 plus VAT (£786 parts, £272 fitting)

Vauxhall Combo

Thanks to Vauxhall sticking with the original Combo design while Fiat revamped its version in 2015, dubbed the Doblo Cargo, part prices and fitting remain very competitive. For instance, the cost of installing a new front bumper and headlight actually undercuts the newer Fiat components (£445 versus £495), however, a couple of the Fiat parts are cheaper than the Vauxhall's.

Read the full Vauxhall Combo review.

4 - Fiat Doblo Cargo - £1,034 plus VAT (£803 parts, £231 fitting)

Fiat Doblo Cargo

The Fiat Professional technicians are the fastest working (at least on paper) as the combined replacement and fitting of the parts is estimated to take just three and a half hours. At £803, the price of the parts is just above average, but the quick work and reasonable labour rates takes the total bill to just £1,034 plus VAT.

Read the full Fiat Doblo Cargo review.

3 - Mercedes-Benz Citan - £1,020 plus VAT (£708 parts, £312 fitting)

Mercedes-Benz Citan

The sales and servicing of Mercedes-Benz vans is taken care of by the commercial vehicle division and, as such, provides customers with extended opening hours, more responsive breakdown assist and a pick up and drop off service. This comes at a cost with one dealership charging over £100 per hour for labour. Upside is parts are some of the cheapest here.

Read the full Mercedes-Benz Citan review.

2 - Ford Transit Connect - £1,015 plus VAT (£815 parts, £200 fitting)

Ford has a very low hourly labour rate of £50 per hour, and because the replacement and fitting of new parts is fairly swift (just four hours), the total labour bill stands at just £200. Ford has been focused on its commercial vehicle dealer network, the Transit Centres, so you're never far from one.

Read the full Ford Transit Connect review.

1 - Renault Kangoo - £1,014 plus VAT (£760 parts, £254 fitting)

Traditionally, French manufacturers have been criticised for the cost of repair and maintenance and while there may be some truth in it for Citroen and Peugeot, Renault came out the cheapest for parts in the sector. The Renault isn’t the cheapest for any part, or for fitting, but consistently low prices all-round means the little Kangoo comes out on top.

Read the full Renault Kangoo review.